On race and reconciliation listen05/01/08 SeÃ¡n Kinane
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The racially divisive history of the United States, and more importantly, how the country can heal from centuries of violence and racism, were topics of discussion in St. Petersburg on Wednesday Evening. WMNFâ€™s SeÃ¡n Kinane reports on the final installment of Studio@620â€™s Roundtable on Social Justice Series, which addressed race and reconciliation.
During the recent controversy over excerpts of sermons by Barack Obamaâ€™s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, some have said that the black church is under attack. But retired United Methodist minister and panelist the Rev. Ted Lockhart said there is no such thing as the black church â€“ instead there are black churches.
Lockhart said Wrightâ€™s sermons are part of â€œthe tradition of radical black preaching [which] began in the context of the horrors of slavery and evolved through the terrors of night riders in the 19th and 20th centuries.â€ Lockhart reminded the audience that some of the sermons of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others were also considered incendiary, unpatrioti, and traitorous by the white media establishment.
Another panelist, the Rev. Charles McKenzie is a public schools educator and was defeated last month in the race for State House District 55. When considering reconciliation, McKenzie said, the effects that being racist has had on this countryâ€™s white citizens is about as important as the effect of racism on blacks.
When discussing reconciliation and compensation for slavery, using words like reparations can often be inflammatory, and would be the â€œdeath knellâ€ for any presidential candidate, the panelists agreed. Even though reparations for slavery is considered political suicide, other types of reparations, including for the Japanese internment during World War II, have been accepted, according to another panelist, Stetson law student Graham Shaffer.
Photo credit: SeÃ¡n Kinane/WMNF