What is overt and covert about racism?
I remember when I first started learning about racism as a young white man. I grew up in a rural community, had recently joined a multiethnic church, and was doing a lot of reading and making friends with people of color. I was learning a lot about the harm that racism was causing people. For example, I would hear stories of people using racially offensive language, and I’d think to myself, “I’d never use language like that. That’s pretty racist.” But there would be other things that I would hear that people would describe as racist that made me wonder “Is that actually racist?” Stories that later I would describe as employment discrimination or police harassment that at the time I would have though of as “unfortunate situations”. Those “unfortunate situations” many times were examples of covert racism. What was covert about the racism is that they are covert to my white eyes … they were not so covert to my friends of color who were trying to explain their reality to me. For them these things were not hidden at all – they were crystal clear and part of their ordinary experience of living within the racism of America.
So this week our team of Christian antiracist educators and friends resume looking at the book Christianity and Critical Race Theory: A Faithful and Constructive Conversation by Robert Chao Romero and Jeff M. Liou. We are talking about the ordinariness of racism, and will talk about overt and covert racism today, and end with a conversation about hope.
Let’s go now and listen, to this conversation.
The Iceberg of Racism