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Posts Tagged ‘overcoming racism’

I am getting ready to register children for the Religious Education program that I supervise. I work at a primarily Anglo Catholic parish, but my students are almost all #Hispanos. For the next 20 years or so, I think this will be common at schools, churches and other social institutions, especially in the Catholic church: The children who are “consumers” of education or other services will be largely Hispanic; the leadership of the institutions will be Anglo, and often Anglos who are contemptuous of the Hispanos who are the next generation of “their” church. One thing I try to share with Hispanos families and volunteers from my life in the Jewish community: This happened to eastern European Jews as well 100 years ago. The German Jewish community shunned the more recently arrived Ashkenazim who poured out of Russia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire after 1880: German Jews in the U.S. built separate hospitals and synagogues and settlement houses for the “Ost Juden,” hoping to corral them in a way that wouldn’t embarrass their hard-earned respectability in Anglo-Saxon America. But in the end, it was the Jews “from the east” who defined the American Jewish community and enriched the lives not only of other Jews, but of America as a whole. I hope and pray and know, as a social scientist, that this will also come to pass for Hispanos in the United States: They will come to transform the Catholic church and “gift” it with a spirituality of personal holiness and communal celebration that will revive a groaning institution, and a nation that needs revival and redefinition as well. In the meantime, it’s tough going for the majority of Hispanos who DON’T live in a barrio or suburb where Hispanic adults are in the majority or at least a plurality that grants them some political power. Instead they are kicking away at the box the Anglos have put them in. But ask Sam Cooke sang 50 years ago about an earlier struggle for freedom and recognition (a struggle, that is still, unfortunately, in progress) “A change gonna come.”

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