My Jim Crow parents used time-honored African storytelling to pass on their meaningful lessons and history to me. Growing up on land owned by white sharecroppers, my mother and father picked cotton in Mississippi and Tennessee from the age of three. While in elementary school, my father told me about a white store owner who attempted to cut off his right hand when he was nine because the store owner felt my father disrespected him by correcting him for giving back the wrong amount of change. I was taught at a young age that justice does not roll like a river, nor righteousness like a never-failing stream, for people of African descent (Amos 5:24). For me as an adult, justice feels far away.
Where in American society can I see proof of righteousness and justice for disadvantaged racialized people? Education? According to a 2019 report by EdBuild, schools with mostly racial/ethnic students received $23 billion less in funding than white school districts. Economics? Brookings reports the net worth of a typical white family is ten times greater than their black counterparts since most wealth is inherited. The long-term effects of involuntary or forced labor such as slavery, convict leasing, and black codes means white citizens possess an average household wealth of $171,000, compared to $17,150 for African Americans. Health care? A Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention analysis reveals 55 percent of US coronavirus cases come from black and Hispanic people, who make up 31 percent of the population. The Navajo Nation has the most cases per capita in the United States. Poverty, essential worker roles, and chronic health conditions combined with limited access to health care makes the least the most vulnerable. Personally, ...1
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