To be forgiven, one must first repent.
CHARLOTTESVILLE — A Monticello tour guide was explaining how enslaved people built, planted and tended a terrace of vegetables at Thomas Jefferson’s estate earlier this summer when a woman interrupted to share her annoyance.
“Why are you talking about that?” she demanded, according to Gary Sandling, vice president of Monticello’s visitor programs and services. “You should be talking about the plants.”
The takeaway is that white visitors don’t want their founding father myths intruded on by the reality of those men’s character and action. Like the men themselves, who prided themselves on how advanced they were compared to everyone else, white America still wants to pretend that slavery didn’t happen.
Our original sin (not the only one, mind you) is still with us because we haven’t confessed to it. Anyone with a basic Sunday school religious education will tell you that you have to ask for forgiveness to receive it. 400 years on and we refuse to ask for forgiveness. And that is the fundamental problem of race in America. None of the technical aspects of systemic racism can be reasonably addressed without it. We remains stuck in the same cognitive dissonance that our “great” founding fathers erected for themselves.