Sgt. Henry Johnson and Sgt. William Shemin are being awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama at a White House ceremony for their heroics in World War I. Not surprisingly, a fair bit of information about both soldiers can be found online, and while personal details about Sgt. Shemin are mostly accurate, Sgt. Johnson's are frequently distorted.
Too many French people seem to imagine that if they close their eyes to race, click their heels three times and repeat the words "Liberty", "Equality" and "Freedom", the boogeyman of racism will simply vanish and disappear. No systematic data or policies necessary. Only pretty, magical, colorblind words.
If say you are religious, spiritual, Christian or any other religion and you find yourself quoting scripture to demonstrate your faith, please take a closer look at the passages about poverty and justice. It is impossible to walk in the footsteps and grace of any God and not care about the injustices against African Americans in our nation.
If the American flag should be a metaphor and a symbol of anything, it should be of radical possibility -- where the black and brown citizens at the margins are central to America's care and concern, where calls for patriotic response is not the mask of those who refuse to admit the nation's terrible truths.
I'm always wary of the argument that all problems can and should be solved at home. I think that takes some of the responsibility off of other institutions that can bring about social change yet drastically need reform. But the role of parents and families is an important one -- particularly in the prevention of racial discrimination.