By now, you have heard about the cascading failures that led to Flint, Michigan’s water supply being poisoned, and likely felt a pang of heartbreak for the people, the children, who were poisoned by it. But Jim Wallis of Sojourners points out the deeper issue in a recent article (below). Instinctively, he says, we know that this would not have happened in an affluent white community, not because white communities are SO protected from mistakes in government, but because their complaints would have been heard immediately. As soon as a problem was noticed, it would have been fixed. But Flint’s poor and mostly black community was left to drink lead for over a year. Yet, even that is not the point. The point is that we continue to accept this as the norm in our society. The society we live in was built by systematic racism — either to deny that or to accept it as “the way things are” is to participate. It is no longer enough to treat the people you encounter in your daily life with basic dignity and politeness: we need to change the way our society functions.
What people in our neighborhoods–yours and mine–are not being heard?