Thinking about Race

2018 Items

Howard Thurman, “Jesus and the Disinherited” - (May 2018)

Thurman’s book Jesus and the Disinherited, first published in 1949, has chapters on “Fear,” “Deception,” and “Hate,” which he calls “the three hell-hounds…” This segment, from “Fear,” p. 35, resonates today:

“It is instructive to inquire into the effects of fear on the disadvantaged. Fear becomes acute, in the form of panic or rage, only at the moment when what has been threat becomes actual violence; but the mere anticipation of such an encounter is overwhelming simply because the odds are basically uneven. This fact is important to hold in mind. The disadvantaged man knows that in any conflict he must deal not only with the particular individual involved but also with the entire group, then or later. Even recourse to the arbitration of law tends to be avoided because of the fear that the interpretations of law will be biased on the side of the dominant group. The result is the dodging of all encounters. The effect is nothing short of disaster in the organism; for, studies show, fear actually causes chemical changes in the body, affecting the blood stream and the muscular reactions, preparing the body either for fight or for flight. If flight is resorted to, it merely serves as an incentive to one’s opponent to track down and overpower. Furthermore, not to fight back at the moment of descending violence is to be a coward, and to be deeply and profoundly humiliated in one’s own estimation and in that of one’s friends and family.”


Service to the cause of racial equality - (February 2018)

“It does no service to the cause of racial equality for white people to content themselves with judging themselves to be nonracist. Few people outside the Klan or skinhead movements own up to all-out racism these days. White people must take the extra step – they must become anti-racist.”

-- Clarence Page, 1996