Jun 15

The Cost of White Supremacy

by Sargent Shriver Peace Institute | 06/15/2020 11:55AM | Quote of the Week | Civil Rights


The Cost of White Supremacy

Our Quote of the Week shines a light on a basic truth: that to continue to uphold white supremacy in the United States is ultimately destructive for all of us.

In 1957, Sargent Shriver spoke these words at Saints Faith, Hope and Charity Church. He was the head of the Public School Board and the Catholic Interracial Council at the time. In this work, he led educational reforms and spearheaded the integration of the Catholic high schools.  It was through these efforts that he gained a deep understanding of the ways in which white supremacy tore at the fabric of our institutions.

As we continue to deal with the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, we believe it would be irresponsible to relent in highlighting the impact of white supremacy and of racism towards African Americans and other people of color in the United States. While the protests of the past weeks have resulted in some small signs of change in law enforcement in some localities, we are still seeing the horrendous cost of white supremacy on our citizens. Just three days ago, yet another African American man, Rayshard Brooks, was shot dead by police in Atlanta, Georgia. And white supremacy's cost is visible much beyond the most shocking acts of violence we are seeing. It is evident in our banking system, which still shows the remnants of redlining. It is visible in our education systems, and, as the COVID-19 crisis continues to show, in our healthcare system. It also manifests itself in workplace discrimination, in unjust and inhumane immigration policies, and in everyday acts of aggression fueled by white privilege. All of these injustices, large and small, make it impossible for us to create a peaceful society.

It's up to all of us to make the changes necessary to overcome the oppressive systems we have built. The same patterns of injustice and violence will persist unless we continue to push for changes at all levels of society: in our attitudes, our behaviors, and our policies.

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