Herein lie buried many things which if read with patience may show the strange meaning of being black here at the dawning of the Twentieth Century. This meaning is not without interest to you, Gentle Reader; for the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line.
W.E.B. DuBois, 1903

More than a century later, the problem of race in America continues to present the most daunting, toxic, and seemingly intractable cultural dilemma of our age. I am convinced that we cannot go on as we are.

We are irreversibly pointed toward a re-evaluation of racial politics in America. In the simplest terms, our current cultural standard rests on according preferences to descendants of victims of past racial discrimination and abominations at the expense of other Americans increasingly less different from the protected class and more and more unconnected to the sins of the fathers. Such a system cannot survive the coming reconciliation with basic principles of American justice and equality.

In brief, here is what I believe:

1. There is no place for discrimination based on race.

Quoting John Roberts: "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

I do favor, however, discrimination based on merit, experience, potential, personality, character, previous personal history, commitment, fortitude, integrity, and attitude.

Having said all that, we are all imperfect and saved solely by grace. We do well to view our own actions and motivations with deep skepticism.

2. No person should face disproportionate punishment within the justice system based on race. No person should escape justice in America because of race.

We should accept that some black people actually commit criminal acts. Moreover, not all white sheriffs, district attorneys, and judges are racists. However, we should also accept that some members of the white power elite are racist (some overtly and some subconsciously), which leads to race-tainted injustices. We must approach individual cases with fair and open minds and then carefully weigh the facts to discern the truth in each particular situation.

Blunt assumptions and rushes to judgment are not constructive on either side of the racial divide.

3. No person should face public or personal harassment because of race. But racial slander is never a just provocation for violent reprisal.

There is no place in our culture for racially charged symbols designed to intimidate and/or humiliate. However, we are better served when we deal with hateful speech in a proportionate and reasoned manner. An "eye for an eye" is inarguably the "less excellent way"--but an “eye” for a harsh word is completely unacceptable.

4. We should not pre-judge people whom we do not know based on race. Having said that, sensitivity based on our knowledge and experience is a valuable component of our social skills set.

We should apply the Golden Rule and Christian charity in all our interactions.

5. We should not accept racial lunacy from our peers, friends, relatives and/or community leaders. Certainly, we can disagree without being disagreeable, but we should not allow destructive, erroneous, broadly crafted, conspiratorial rhetoric to go unchecked. We have the duty to stand up for truth, justice, and the American way.

Last thought:

Go out with that faith today. Go back to your homes in the Southland to that faith, with that faith today. Go back to Philadelphia, to New York, to Detroit and Chicago with that faith today: that the universe is on our side in the struggle. Stand up for justice.

Sometimes it gets hard, but it is always difficult to get out of Egypt, for the Red Sea always stands before you with discouraging dimensions. And even after you've crossed the Red Sea, you have to move through a wilderness with prodigious hilltops of evil and gigantic mountains of opposition. But I say to you this afternoon: Keep moving. Let nothing slow you up. Move on with dignity and honor and respectability.
Martin Luther King, Jr., 1957