Thursday, April 5, 2012

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: Black Illegitimacy, Crime, and the Demise of Whites--Catholics Respond to Trayvon Martin Shooting

Here's the scenario: an unarmed 17-year old boy is shot, seemingly in cold blood.  His killer walks away free, because state laws permit someone to claim that he/she has been threatened by someone else and to use force to protect himself/herself.  The killer's father is a retired judge, who also happens to have been present (though he never identified himself as a retired judge) when his son the killer was interrogated by police and when his son re-enacted the shooting.  

Though the killer maintains he was attacked, his nose broken, his head bashed into the ground and wounded, video coverage of the man arriving at the police station immediately after the attack shows no bloody nose, no head wounds--nothing at all.  The man's face and head are without any sign of attack whatsoever.  And though the man who did the shooting claims he was under attack and was shooting in self-defense, voice experts who analyze tapes recording the struggle between the armed man and the unarmed teen conclude that the person crying for help was the teen.  Not the man who shot him.

And in response to this story, a professor of theology at a Catholic university invites Catholics during Holy Week to reflect on the depths of racism in American society, and our responsibility as Catholics to respond to the racism that runs everywhere like a toxic subcurrent through our society.  In response to this invitation and to the story of the shooting of an unarmed teenaged African-American boy in cold blood by an armed, self-appointed vigilante who has faced no legal consequences for what he has done, one reader (and this is one among many others in the same thread, pressing the same arguments) writes,

Fact is white Europeans are at below replacement level both in the U.S. and in Europe -- it will not be the "norm" for long. 
Do you really think addressing the issue of racism will be relevant then? 
Widespread illegitimacy, out-of-wedlock pregnancies account for much of the poverty -- largely due to the liberal welfare state. 
Fact is white working/lower-middle class Catholics-Jews-Protestants don't want to live in high crime dangerous neighborhoods. 
Sad to say the Catholic Church instead of advocating for their own, championed the forces that destroyed a large percentage of urban neighborhoods.

I have removed links providing documentation for the preceding statements.*  If you want those links, please consult the original.  I have removed them because they are, in my view, a distraction, and because some of them promote toxic pseudo-scientific theories that the intelligence of African Americans is inferior to that of Caucasians--and the person inserting these links into his (I'm convinced the poster is a male) commentary is inserting the toxic links about racial intelligence inappropriately, as purported evidence for claims that have nothing to do with intelligence.

Rather than engage each of these arguments (I've done that in several responses to this poster on the thread above), I'd like to back up a moment here and ask what this kind of racist analysis of American society, written by an American Catholic male, says about us as American Catholics.  What it says about us as a church, the Catholic church in the United States.

What does it say about our level of catechesis, as American Catholics, that any one of us would think it's permissible to respond to a plea to analyze racism in American society and to reflect on the Catholic response to racism, with such a diatribe of ugly racist statements?  What does it say about our level of catechesis that any of us as Catholics would respond to the story of the murder of a 17-year old boy in cold blood with these kinds of toxic racist statements?

What it says to me is that we've done a deplorable job of catechizing ourselves in the American Catholic church.  And that for some of us who are Catholic, the signals we receive and the information on which we depend has a lot more to do with political ideologies that are fundamentally antithetical to Catholic faith than with authentic Catholic teaching.  With the core affirmations of Catholic faith . . . . 

Which are about, as my latest response in this thread notes, a non-white European savior whose skin was no doubt darker than mine as the descendant of white Europeans, or darker than the skin of the Caucasian male writing the preceding nonsense.  The core affirmations of Catholic faith, which center on the son of an unwed mother . . . .

Who died on the cross, a common "criminal" from the lower echelons of his society enduring a form of capital punishment exclusively reserved for lower-class criminals, opening his arms wide to every human being in the world, without distinctions based on gender, social or economic status, ethnic origin, race, religious background, or sexual orientation.  And who forgave the thieves hanging beside him on the cross.

Who did not blame them for being thieves, for having fallen in with the wrong crowd, for having grown up in cultures of poverty and extramarital pregnancy.  Who did not focus on their crimes in any shape, form, or fashion as he told them they would be in paradise with him that day.  

What does it say about us as American Catholics--about some of us--that we have ended up in such a place of racist dead-end, in which we see all crime as having only a black face?  And in which we see all African Americans as intellectually inferior?  And in which we see every African American in the nation as susceptible to licentious living and out-of-wedlock pregnancy?

But in which we are absolutely silent about the crimes of the white-collar criminals at the top of our society who have produced the social misery that results in lack of economic and social opportunity that translates into petty crimes and family instability?  White-collar criminals who have produced deep and abiding suffering for our entire society, and who have--and who can doubt this?--white faces far, far more than black faces . . . .

Since the top echelon of CEOs in this nation, on Wall Street and in the banks, are far and away more likely to be white men than black men or women . . . .

(And by the way, if you want to see how racism links in the thinking of some Catholics to anti-semitism to prejudice against Protestants to opposition to gay rights and women's rights and to a defense of the Lefebvrites and the restoration of the Latin Mass,  check the links I've just embedded in this sentence and search for the comments of AD105 about these matters.  It's all one big wall of wax, cohering around the notion that white heterosexual males [or pretend-heterosexual males] have an ontological status superior to that of anyone else in the world, and that this is true a fortiori for white males of European Catholic descent.)

*For reasons I can't figure out, some kind of phantom window has begun appearing in my postings in the past few days, and I can't remove it, because I don't know its source.  In this case, the window seems to be preventing readers from accessing the NCR link I embed above, which points to the thread from which the excerpt is taken.  In case you can't get the link to work for you, here's another link to the article.

No comments: