Americans are divided on whether racial tensions will improve in the United States as 2020 has been a year of protests and social unrest following high-profile officer-involved deaths of African Americans. Church leaders are also unsure of the impact the protests will have.
A recent Pew Research Center study suggests that Americans are almost equally divided on whether the increased nationwide focus and attention on racial inequality will lead to positive changes for African Americans or lead to major changes in laws to address inequality.
The data report released in early October is based on surveys conducted from Sept. 8 to Sept. 13 with over 10,093 respondents. It found that about half (51%) think there will not be major policy changes that will address racial inequality.
Church leaders also differ in opinion on the impact of recent media focus, protests, activism and riots. Some are hoping the last few months will catalyze improvement. However, others are unsure.
Bill Owens, founder and president of the Coalition of African American Pastors, told The Christian Post that racism still exists today.
He cited a Yale School of Medicine study that suggests that as early as preschool, teachers of all races can display prejudices against African-American children. The effects of this can harm children long-term, he warned.
Owens also pointed to personal experience as he once took his son out of a private school, saying the teacher treated him unfairly because of his race.
“There’s a lot of racism. Sometimes people call it racism when it’s really not,” he explained. “But racism is real. It’s very subtle now. It’s not like it was when I was growing up. Now they smile and it’s still racism.”
In college, Owens marched for civil rights alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. However, he feels that modern protests are different as 2020 has also been marred by several violent riots.
“The jury’s out. Since I marched with Dr. King, my whole mindset on it has changed,” the pastor said. “When we marched, we were instructed what to do. You had to go to class. You were set on a stool and people would curse, hit and slap you. If you couldn’t take it without fighting back, you couldn’t go march. What we see now is the opposite of that.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jackson Elliott