10: Racism


Cardinal Bernardin examines the prejudice and racism that are still alive and strong in our world. Racism manifests itself in problems such as inadequate housing, unemployment, of job forced choice, poor education, and distance between people of different ethnic and racial backgrounds. In worst cases, it can take the form of open hostility and violence. There will be no end to acute racial crises if we do not defy chronic problems of racism in all parts of the world. Racism can also manifest itself economically, making one's economic status as determining as the color of one's skin.

People feel a sense of helplessness – Cardinal Bernardin continues – when they lack control over their own destiny. Each one of us is hostage of racism and needs to free ourselves from it. Catholics must not forget that they, too, have experienced discrimination and rejection which, the Archbishop of Chicago asserts, must not be repeated. Racism must be seen as an attack on Christianity at its roots, and as an insidious sin.

Different colors of skins or different races cannot exist for Christians since all human beings are one in Christ. In our own fight against racial problems, Cardinal Bernardin calls us to examine the example provided by Martin Luther King, who prophetically illuminated the moral issues of his own time. Dr. King knew that the problem of racism required profound changes not only in people's thought but also in political attitudes. Dr. King began an important process that the present generation must continue.