Following his arrest alongside fellow activists in Missouri on Monday, Rev. Jim Wallis joined HuffPost Live to weigh in on the “racialized police system” that pervades the United States and the role that white Christians should play in deconstructing it.
Wallis acknowledged that his white 16-year-old son would likely “never” have to fear the same tragic fate as Brown or have “the talk” regarding excessive police violence, with which most black families are too familiar.
“Every black family, every black parent I know, has the talk with their son [and] even their daughters [about] how to behave when you’re in the presence of a white police officer with a gun or a white man with a gun because these new self defense laws are licenses to kill,” he said. “No white parents have the talk. They almost don’t have a clue it’s going on.”
Wallis called on white Christians to uphold their commitment to their faith and join the movement against violent police tactics.
“We say we’re Christians, but you know, white Christians, we act more like white people than Christians. If we acted more Christian, black parents wouldn’t be so afraid for their kids,” he said.
While many white Americans may not hold inherently racist views, Wallis condemned those who refuse to speak out as complicit to the current system.
“A lot of white people say they’re not racist and they’re against racism intellectually, but they’re not aware of how the criminal justice system is a racially implemented system,” he said. The facts are very clear. You don’t respond the way to young white men the way you would to young black men in the system.
Speaking directly to his fellow white Americans, Wallis summed up his position and put it simply.
“You can’t say you’re not a racist if you accept and support systems that clearly are,” he said.
Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation with Reverend Jim Wallis here.
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