An Open Letter to My Dear African-American and Native American friends
My Dear African-American and Native American friends,
I am so very sorry.
On behalf of my tribe, I ask for your forgiveness.
My tribe calls itself “white.” There is no such thing as a white race. That was invented to justify chattel slavery. There are multiple ethnicities but only one race: human.
My tribe invaded what we now call North America.
At the time of that invasion and colonization, Native peoples, who owned the land collectively, had been living in thriving civilizations throughout all of North America for 10,000 years.
My tribe stole their land and destroyed their civilization.
My tribe reneged on treaties.
My tribe either murdered or displaced the Natives, forcing them into poverty and kidnapping their children into special indoctrinating schools.
My tribe did so in the name of Jesus, claiming to be Christians.
My tribe purchased captured and trafficked human beings from Africa, enslaved them, and forced them to work the stolen land for free.
With stolen land and stolen people, my tribe built a powerful economy supplying the newly industrializing world with cotton for its textile mills.
My tribe enslaved, murdered and abused human beings in the name of Jesus, claiming to be Christian.
My tribe invented, implemented and enforced Jim Crow segregation, redlining, mass incarceration, convict leasing, and systemic racism.
My tribe elected Donald Trump – the most corrupt, immoral, racist president in history.
We did so in the name of Jesus, claiming to be Christians.
My tribe spread chaos worldwide – apartheid, colonization, war.
I know not every member of my tribe wrecked havoc. I take some solace in the fact that some of my direct ancestors were abolitionists and that my parents supported the civil rights movement, as did I.
Nevertheless, I have benefitted from the sins of my tribe.
My parents could buy a small row home in Baltimore in an all-white inner-ring suburb in 1952.
I went to good public schools.
I took music lessons.
I got jobs no person of color would have been offered.
I’ve never had to worry about being shot if I’m pulled over by the police.
Security officers don’t follow me in stores.
Women don’t cross the street when they see me coming.
On behalf of my tribe, I am so sorry. Please forgive us. Please forgive me.
And, please, my dear Native and African-American friends, help us see how we can right the historic wrongs. Thank you.
Yours because His,