My Thoughts

Woke up this morning, looked outside to a beautiful day, blue sky, gentle morning breeze, sun peeking over the mountains, quail warbling along the fence line. Yep, just another beautiful day in a beautiful world. Thanks be to God.

Somehow, I knew my beautiful day would too soon turn sour, hot and muggy. Someone would find something for which they could complain or denigrate or over which they could cast a dark shadow. Sure enough, it didn’t take long. There are simply too many folks with not enough brains to fill a thimble. Or, could it be, like little Bo Peep, they have lost their minds and don’t know where to find them? Any way you slice it, these folks sure can mess up a perfectly delightful day in the neighborhood.

Why is it so many wake up on the wrong side of the bed … everysingleday? Why do so many devote themselves to making sour grapes out of sweet raisins, then blame the sourness on the sunshine? Why do some people seem to only delight in calling good news hate speech; anything they find offensive racist; or moral and ethical norms immoral nonsense? When did mob rule come to outlaw the rule of law? When did words become weapons of mass miscommunication instead of the rational means of effecting intelligent human discourse?

The dictionary—any dictionary will do—defines “systemic” as an adjective: relating to a system, especially as opposed to a particular part. Synonyms: constructional, organizational, constitutional, configurational, formational, tectonic. Now connect it to a noun as in “systemic racism.” What precisely does that mean? Try exchanging systemic with one of its synonyms: constructional racism, organizational racism, constitutional racism, configurational racism, formational racism, tectonic racism. The function of an adjective is to modify a noun to make it more specific and interesting, to describe, identify, or quantify the noun. Do any of these adjectives help to clarify? If so, I don’t see it.

But, then perhaps we should ask, what is racism? I can hear the angry voices now, “everyone knows what racism is!” but do we or have we simply accepted prima facie the all too common misconception? Again, let us go to the dictionary which defines “racism” as a noun: prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership in a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized. Synonyms: racialism, xenophobia, chauvinism, bigotry, bias, intolerance, anti-Semitism, apartheid. Now I may be wrong and if so, I will readily admit to my error, but nowhere in any definition do I find racism applied to any specific race or ethnicity. Nowhere do I find antecedent slavery, oppression or poverty synonyms for racism. Slavery, oppression, and poverty are both race and color blind.

Now I am nowise saying that racism does not exist—it does, has for a long, long time—nor am I suggesting racism is not a pernicious immoral stain upon the soul. But … racism is not and never has been confined to the color of one’s skin. Racism is always conditioned on the depraved content of one’s character: a soul addicted to hate.

One cannot help, regardless of your ideological persuasion, to be reminded of the wisdom and eloquence of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality … I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.

No matter the color of one’s skin, anyone can be a racist. Let us hope and pray to Almighty God that tomorrow will bring a brighter day.

Just my thoughts for a Wednesday, for what it is worth.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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