Frederick Davie, Executive-Vice President of Union Theological Seminary in New York City, writes movingly about Taming the Beast of Bigotry in America

Bigotry in America is real. It is ontological. It has being. Fear and insecurity are its lifeblood. It presents in all forms. Overt. Ugly. Aggressive. Lethal. Subtle. Micro. Genteel.

And we feed our American beast of bigotry with fears of all kinds and arm it with guns, and so it metastasizes into a mass killer of men, women and children.

Consider its impact on the 500 children in the Montessori school where Philando Castile worked; on the daughter of his girlfriend; and on the millions of ritualistically marginalized and economically deprived families of single mothers and their children who are shut off from prosperity and opportunity in America.

We've all heard it.

We have nothing against them.

We just don't want them in our schools, our pools, our restaurants, our neighborhoods, our residential spaces, our offices, our beaches, our country clubs, our congregations.

This bigotry becomes its most animated, virulent, hateful self when in the presence of blackness. And male blackness seems to trigger in bigotry deadly, uncontrolled spasms, wreaking lethal havoc, again and again and again. Seemingly totally out of control.

In the wake of bigotry's lethal orgasmic explosions emerges a national ritual of temporary contrition.

"We can never allow this degree of compulsive bigoted, murderous excess," we solemnly profess with much weeping and wailing and mourning.

We promise to reform this bigoted being, which is within our own hearts and minds. Like regretful and worn down addicts, we swear to get It – the beast -- under control, even to root it out.

But then we don't. We never do.

And murderous, ole bigotry goes back to masquerading as something else, something more socially acceptable until, with enough time passing, our fears and insecurity stoke again its murderous rage.

Hillary Clinton, when President, should elicit the support of former President Obama, the Congressional Black Caucus, other Congressional members of color, progressive members of Congress, enlightened police officials and community leaders to plan, design and implement a set of conversations on race, community/police relations, and what it means to be one United States of America. These conversations should be monthly in different regions of the country over the course of a year. Followed in subsequent years by bi-annual national convening

And there should be concrete outcomes from these discussions, specific proposals -- and actions -- to reform criminal justice and policing, as well as address the festering educational, economic and social inequality that underlies the beast of bigotry.

Nothing short of sustained, long-term, intentional, honest, unrelenting, irrepressible engagement will tame this ugly beast. It's all in our hands.

July 10, 2016

Fred Davie, Presbyterian minister and Executive VP at Union Seminary NYC, has a career that includes non-profit management and leadership and senior positions in government and philanthropy, with a focus on intersectional issues of community empowerment, racial and criminal justice, LGBTQ rights and interreligious cooperation. He is a graduate of Greensboro College and Yale Divinity School

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