Amid sustained protests against systemic racism this year, the Trump administration recently instructed federal agencies to end racial sensitivity training and threatened to withold funding for schools who implement The New York Times' 1619 Project in their curriculum. Reverends Irene Monroe and Emmett G. Price joined Boston Public Radio on Tuesday to put President Donald Trump's latest actions into context.
"If you think about the trajectory of President Trump's outlandish behavior just in the last couple weeks, it just seems to go from worse to worst," said Price. "To move away from what many people call racial sensitivity training or what other folks call cultural competency training and to put fines, particularly in a place like California, one of the most diverse states in the nation ... is absoutely insane. To make that a fine from the government is just horrible."
Monroe said she had hoped that the killing of George Floyd by a police officer earlier this year would be an inflection point that would temper even the most hard-line racists, but also noted there has always been pushback in America against acknowledging just how deep-rooted racism is.
"One of the things we have to always remember is there's always been pushback," she said, noting that some people considered America to be a post-racial society after Barack Obama was elected to the highest office.
"A lot of people, whether they're liberal or not, ... don't like when you say all white people contribute to racism; they do, but they don't understand that," said Monroe. "We're not saying all white people are racist, but you definitely benefit from a racist society."
An NPR/Marist College pollreleased in June showed that two-thirds of Americans believe Trump has increased racial tensions since George Floyd's death.
Monroe is a syndicated religion columnist and the Boston voice for Detour’s African American Heritage Trail and a visiting researcher in the Religion and Conflict Transformation Program at Boston University School of Theology.
Price is professor of worship, church & culture and founding executive director of the Institute for the Study of the Black Christian Experience at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
Together they host the All Rev’d Up podcast, produced by GBH.