Case #12: Racisim and Moral Dissonance in the Church

Worksheet for Case #12: Racism and Moral Dissonance in the Church

Descriptive Dimension

Is racism primarily a corruption of personal morality or a social evil? How would Bryan Massingale answer this question? Do you agree with Cone's suggestion that our complicity in racist structures and our lack of "an empathetic bond with the pains and hurts of people of color" (11) make us unable to see (and therefore to describe well) the problems of racism?

Normative Dimension

What are the fundamental goods at stake in the debate over racism? Are there particular goods that one only begins to see and then value as a result of inter-racial conversations? Is the affirmation of black experience that Cone and Massingale call for a fundamental good, and if so, in what sense?

Practical Dimension

How should one measure success in combating racism in our country? According to Massingale, what are the benefits and drawbacks to strategies that focus on moral exhortation to stop overt racist behaviors? What kinds of approaches to the problem are really effective? According to MacIntosh, how are we to develop a disciplined sensitivity to structures of privilege?

Fundamental Dimension

Thinking about how the issues of abortion and racism are related, who is the agent of social change in each case? Is it possible to separate these two issues with regard to the formation of Christian character and conscience? Must a respect for the experiences of different races, as this impacts moral discernment, always proceed in connection with respect for each individual's right to life?

Sources for Discernment

Based on which sources would Catholics judge abortion and racism to be grave moral evils? What specifically theological resources are employed? How does one's prioritization of certain sources over others lead one to prioritize work on behalf of one moral issue over another?

Citation: Clairmont, D. (2007, May 25). Case #12: Racisim and Moral Dissonance in the Church. Retrieved November 24, 2014, from Notre Dame OpenCourseWare Web site:
Copyright 2012, by the Contributing Authors. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Creative Commons License