Opposing racism but not being active in combatting it sounds rather benign. Forfeiting opportunities to act creatively for race relations may be the greatest contributor to racism’s malignant persistence in society. I believe Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel was right when he said: “In a free society, some are guilty, but all are responsible.” All of us are responsible for the persistence of racism. The failure to be involved in addressing racism is also to be guilty of perpetuating it.
The systemic realities of racism are not immutable. They increase or diminish by the extent of personal and collective involvement we give to combat racism. Individuals giving their hearts to dismantling racism are key to reducing its horrific blight of life. The transformations of hearts alone will not undo racism. Racism is embedded in our institutions. Still, the transformation of hearts is essential to participating in the interpersonal and political processes that result in the transformation of racist systems.
From “Living Into God’s Dream: Dismantling Racism in America” by Catherine Meeks – Morehouse Publishing