Unlearning Racism: The Privileged, Catholic Boomer and the Racial Divide in the United States

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Gary Umhoefer

Abstract

Catholics born between 1945 and 1965 were a part of the large post-World War II “baby boom” in the United States. These Catholic “boomers” were educated in the tenets of the faith within an ecclesial and societal environment that was strongly racially segregated. Thus formed as children, they potentially approach or are already engaged in retirement with a limited understanding of the Church’s contemporary teaching on the racial divide. From the broader societal perspective, they may also experience a reluctance to acknowledge or consider the ways in which being perceived as “white” has provided advantages and privileges unavailable to others. This paper considers these issues and suggests some approaches to aid Catholic boomers in bridging the racial divide.

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