It All Started with Roger Williams
Which Needs To Be Revisited

America began due to people wanting religious and political freedom. That was true for whites. Roger Williams was a Puritan pastor in Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1631. However, he raised questions about religious freedom and wanted to separate church and state issues. Interestingly, the Massachusetts Bay Colony was the place where Puritans in England came for religious freedom. It wasn’t long before the colony banished Williams in 1635 due to his religious beliefs.

Roger Williams preaching

Ironically, people who immigrated to America for religious freedom came down on people due to their religious beliefs. It should be noted that those that banished Roger Williams were Anglican Puritans, and he was just a Puritan. The hypocrisy of dissing Williams occurred nearly four centuries ago, and we are still putting people and groups down who are not identical with some whites is racist.

Racism can be seen throughout America. Dozens of states have or are in the process of passing restrictive voting legislation to prohibit communities of color from voting. It is blatantly apparent that some whites feel threatened based upon their feelings of inferiority. They need white supremacy over people of color due to their inadequacies.

No matter where in America one looks, racism is abundant. Voting has been restrictive for four centuries. Equal opportunity is the same. That was true even in baseball before the Brooklyn Dodgers hired Jackie Robinson in 1947. Many white players didn’t want blacks doing better than they could.

As we prepare for Thanksgiving, whites need to address embedded racism. I was born in 1943. At that time, 89% of the US population was white, 9% black, and 1% Hispanic. Nonetheless, Bob Dylan wrote in the sixties that “the times they are a-changing.” In 2050, the demographic prediction of percentages of racial groups will be 47% white, 29% Hispanic, 14% black, and 9% Asian.

We need to take heed of what George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” We can learn how to live in harmony with a multiracial society if we start by learning the legacy of Roger Williams and what drove him.

Williams set up the colony of Rhode Island, having purchased it from the Narragansett Native American in 1636. It was a colony where various immigrants could live together without prosecution due to their diverse beliefs. Quakers, Anabaptists, Mennonites, Baptists, and others benefited from Williams’ efforts.

Roger Williams

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