Fordham University ethicist Maureen O’Connell has an excellent new post up at the Center for FaithJustice blog, on racism and its place (or lack of it) in Catholic social teaching. She argues compellingly that Catholic social teaching has, up to now, failed to take adequate account of racism and its role as an important root cause of our social ills, rather than just a symptom of them.
But racism is not about isolated acts. Rather it is a way of perceiving ourselves and others shaped by our collective way of being together. Failing to name racism as a cultural phenomenon—a collective set of dispositions and perspectives on the world that are collective learned and symbolically shared—only perpetuates white complicity in racism. Since few of us have probably ever committed conscious, intentional and deliberate acts of racial hatred, most whites can be assured of our lack of culpability with the events related to the Martin case in Florida and shirk any kind of responsibility for it that others try to foist on us. Catholic social teaching tells us our consciences are clean.
The full piece is here.