Rabbi Michael Lerner is editor of Tikkun magazine and author of 12 books, recently Revolutionary Love. You can read more about the book and order at www.tikkun.org/lj.
Cat Zavis is executive director of the Network of Spiritual Progressives and a rabbinic student in the Aleph: Jewish Renewal ordination program. You can learn about her trainings in spiritual activism at www.spiritualprogressives.org/training.
We at Tikkun and the Network of Spiritual Progressives stand in solidarity with the protestors in Minneapolis and around the country fighting a just and righteous struggle for the lives of Black Americans.
Rabbi Michael Lerner and Cat Zavis respond to the recent shooting at two mosques in New Zealand by calling not only for messages of solidarity but also for prevalent campaigns against all forms of hatred.
Racism is the demeaning of an entire group of people and refusal to see them as fully human in the way we see ourselves and those we deem to be “like” us. When we fail to see the humanity of the “other,” we ascribe to them ugly characteristics that somehow justify treating them with less honor and less generosity than we would others who are part of the groups we do see as fundamentally like us. From this place of separation we justify denying the “other” equal rights, benefits, and caring that all human beings deserve. Racism in the United States has a long history. It was foundational to U.S. expansion throughout the North American continent, allowing white people to justify to themselves genocidal policies toward Native Americans, to allow slavery, and to incorporate into our Constitution a provision that would count African slaves as three-fifths of a human being so that Southern States would have higher representation in the Congress, though racists both North and South didn’t think of them as human beings at all.