March 11, 2009


I recently had a nasty exchange on the blogosphere.  My correspondent took umbrage when I cited unflattering statistics about his church; I was offended by his use of demeaning “terms of endearment” that refer African-American women by stereotypes about weight and sexual habits.

It is easy to search all sorts of demographic information by zip code and congressional district.  My correspondent is educated, but he lives in a zip code that is clearly limited:  98% white, but only 11% with bachelor’s degrees (for residents over 25).  My zip code:  75% white and 77% with bachelor’s degrees (for residents over 25.)  His congressional district is among the top 5% whitest congressional districts, mine is among the bottom 10% whitest.

I think that this accounts for the difference in outlook.  In a racial monoculture that has less educational opportunity, different sensitivities apply – offensive remarks may seem like witty repartee.

Barack Obama’s celebrated speech on race included mention of “the old truism that the most segregated hour of American life occurs on Sunday morning.”  But at least where I live, that remark does not apply – with the exception of a few conservative Evangelical churches that address single ethnic or racial groups, churches and synagogues are fully integrated.

And that’s the way I like it.  I do believe that the “black church” and the “white church” and the “Asian church” and so on are aberrations – side effects of an unfortunate past that is rapidly becoming anachronistic.  We now know that race does not genetically exist – it is a purely social construct.

My America is like my President:  multi-racial.  And I hope that the America of the future will be post-racial.

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