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Blog archive

June 2024

Telling the Whole Story
06/12/2024

Nashville
06/10/2024

One Mo Gin
06/10/2024

May 2024

Emergency Preparedness: Are You Ready?
05/28/2024

Farewell from the 2023/24 Social Work Interns
05/28/2024

Gina on the Horizon
05/28/2024

Mark Your Calendars for the Healthy Aging Research California Virtual Summit
05/28/2024

Meet Our New Development Associate
05/28/2024

Putting the Strategic Plan into Practice
05/28/2024

Washington Park: Pasadena’s Rediscovered Gem
05/28/2024

Introducing Civil Rights Discussions
05/22/2024

Rumor of Humor #2416
05/14/2024

Rumor of Humor #2417
05/14/2024

Rumor of Humor #2417
05/14/2024

Rumor of Humor #2418
05/14/2024

Springtime Visitors
05/07/2024

Freezing for a Good Cause – Credit, That Is
05/02/2024

No Discussion Meeting on May 3rd
05/02/2024

An Apparently Normal Person Author Presentation and Book-signing
05/01/2024

Flintridge Center: Pasadena Village’s Neighbor That Changes Lives
05/01/2024

Pasadena Celebrates Older Americans Month 2024
05/01/2024

The 2024 Pasadena Village Volunteer Appreciation Lunch
05/01/2024

Woman of the Year: Katy Townsend
05/01/2024

April 2024

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January 2024

PRIVILEGE AND FORGIVENESS

By Richard Myers
Posted: 12/17/2020
Tags:
PRIVILEGE AND FORGIVENESS
Bob Snodgrass, Chair
 Inclusivity Committee
 
I was very moved by the 2015 Charleston massacre. White supremacist Dylann Roof intruded into Bible Study at an AME church and killed nine people, including the pastor. Close relatives of the victims soon announced that they had forgiven Roof. At Roof’s trial, months later, his prison journal was introduced, including, "I would like to make it crystal clear; I do not regret what I did. I am not sorry. I have not shed a tear for the innocent people I killed.”

How wonderful that black people could forgive a white man for something so awful! Only later, when I heard of black people forgiving and hugging a white Dallas policewoman who had mistakenly entered a black man’s apartment and shot him, did I begin to wonder, why always black people forgiving white attackers? This issue has been masterfully discussed by Isabel Wilkerson in her book, Caste (chapter 22). She does not condemn those who forgave white oppressors; forgiveness helps those who forgive.  Yes, it’s nuanced, but something is wrong here.

Pope John Paul II is an exception. A Turkish criminal shot him in 1981, causing severe abdominal injuries requiring multiple operations and a long hospitalization. The shooter was sentenced to life in prison. The Pope visited him in prison in 1983, talked and prayed with him. Afterwards, the Pope stayed in contact with his family and in 2000 requested that he be released from prison, which he was.  The Pope ignored caste boundaries; he didn’t need revenge.

As a privileged white man, I have no attacks to forgive. I insist that all races be treated fairly by our police and courts. This doesn’t happen today. Elijah McClain of Aurora, CO was walking home, was grabbed and choked by three policemen and given an excessive dose of a sedative by paramedics.  He never woke up. Why was he grabbed? He was unarmed, but “he looked suspicious”. Daniel Prude’s family called 911 for help with his agitation. Rochester, NY police put a hood over his head and forced his face into the pavement.  He died of asphyxiation, but his family didn’t know the facts until they got records from a public records request. The LAPD shot and killed Dijon Kizzee after stopping him for an unspecified bicycle violation this September.

We whites must change the system. Police brutality is too common. I know that white privilege is real; I believe that most people, including me, have a racist side- I’ve heard racist ideas from white, black and brown friends.
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