The system is broken.
I have heard that often following the decisions of grand juries not to indict in the cases of the killing of Michael Brown and the killing of Eric Garner.
The system is broken.
Unless the speaker means she/he is just realizing that for people of color, women, immigrants, members of the LGBTQIA community, and many others, the system has always been broken, I strongly disagree with that statement.
The system was built on the institution of chattel slavery. And when that institution ended, it was replaced by Jim Crow laws that legalized segregation. And when those laws were overturned, institutionalized racism remained, expressing itself today in the New Jim Crow that results in “millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then denied rights, rights won in the struggle, and relegated to a permanent second-class status.
The system was built on indentured servitude.
The system was built on the genocide of the indigenous peoples and the theft of their resources.
The system was built on the theft of the land of Latinos/Latinas.
The system was built by controlling who could enter the country. And then providing a welcome that grudginly accepted labor but only slowly and incompletely accepted humanity.
The system was built on the view that women and children were property of men to care for, perhaps, but also to dominate and abuse and violate.
The system was built on driving people who did not fit the cisgender, heterosexual norm into closets.
The system was built to privilege a few at the expense of the many.
The system is broken. The system has always been broken.
The vision of a system that provides justice and equality for all has long been with us, perhaps always been with us. It judges and challenges the status quo. Since the beginning, there have been people who have been caught by the vision and have challenged the system, who have worked to remake it. Through their efforts, progress has occurred. I give thanks for them. I give thanks for where we have come. But significant work remains to create a system that provides justice and equality for all.
The system is broken. It has always been broken.
God grant me grace and courage to support and join those who seek to remake it.
See you along the Trail.