The racially inspired deaths of nine black worshipers, the killings of four Muslims in 2012, the racially motivated police killings of late should give us reason to confront our own racism. Do we condone racism by not speaking up when we hear racist jokes? Do we abrogate our parental responsibilities by failing to teach our children about the evil of racial stereotyping? Do we distrust persons of color because of their color, ethnicity or their religion?
The 21-year-old killer of the nine worshipers in Charleston, S.C., was known for his racist jokes in high school. He stereotyped his victims by yelling at them that blacks are rapists.
In 1969 and 1970 I saw the White Citizen Council and the police indiscriminately shoot at blacks and terrorize the black community in Cairo, Ill. The business community deprived blacks of employment and the schools offered blacks only an inferior education. Racism was rampant.
How different are our communities today? Not a lot. In fact, racial killings are up. The United States has 20 times the amount of gun violence as any other industrialized country.