I want to say something about the horrific racist terrorist attack that took place in Buffalo over the weekend. And I want to keep it brief, because there are other people you should be listening to instead of me. You should be listening to the Black Americans who can say a whole lot more about the Great Replacement conspiracy theory and the violence it inspires than I can. You should always try to listen to the actual victims of an injustice rather than the people pontificating about them.
But since you’re reading the white lady’s blog right now:
I want to remind every white person reading this that racism is a grave sin for which you could go to hell. The Church isn’t ambiguous about this. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “Every form of social or cultural discrimination in fundamental personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language, or religion must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God’s design.” Racism is not allowed. Any form of cultural discrimination on the basis of race or color isn’t allowed. We need to weed out racism wherever we find it.
Racism is not just a feeling. This is a red herring that a lot of racists use to change the conversation. If you don’t personally feel like you hate Black people but you repeat talking points belittling them or excusing their murder, you’re being a racist. That’s a sin. If you laugh at racist jokes instead of saying “that’s gross, don’t say that again,” that’s racism. If you spread conspiracy theories that people of color are part of a dastardly plot to replace whites because you heard it on Fox News or your local Catholic radio station, you’re at minimum sinning by omission by not educating yourself and realizing that’s nonsense. And you’re contributing to a culture of racist violence that gets people killed. Remember when we were in Catholic school and we were taught about a “culture of death?” This is a culture of death. You kill people when you participate in a culture of racism and act like it’s normal.
You can help fight against that culture of death by educating yourself and by calling people out when you hear them spread the lies. What would you do if you heard somebody say that unborn babies are just a ball of cells? What would you do if you heard a Protestant say that Catholics worship Mary? You need to learn some apologetics arguments against racist talking points and have them at the ready in the same way. One of the ways to do this is to learn your history. Learn what’s been done to people of color throughout the history of America. Learn what’s still being done. That’s not all you need to do, but that’s a start. When you hear your friend or your pastor or the local Catholic radio host say something you know is wrong, talk to them, call or write, and let them know it’s not okay. This is a good beginning.
One way you can specifically help the Black community in Buffalo right now is to donate to their community fridge. The Tops Market is the only grocery store in the middle of a food desert. The people in that neighborhood need some help. You can get the information on how to help feed them, and on other projects helping people in that area as well, right here.
Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross and Stumbling into Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.
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