Race, Ethnicity and Economic Justice

The United States has a long history of racism, segregation, discrimination, and legalized oppression of people based on their skin color. Even today, despite progress made on many fronts, economic disadvantages associated with race and ethnicity persist. Some of these are lifted up on this page. The United Church of Christ has a long history of working towards Racial Justice. We continue to actively work to ensure justice in these areas right now!

In The Case for Reparations, published in the June, 2014, issue of The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates calls for reparations, "the full acceptance of our collective biography and its consequences." As the introduction points out, "Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole." To Coates, reparations are "more than recompense for past injustices -- more than a handout, a payoff, hush money, or a reluctant bribe. What I'm talking about is a national reckoning that would lead to spiritual renewal." It is an important article.   Soon after Coates' article came out, Imara Jones at Colorlines, the daily online news site, published a short piece that helps clarify our thinking about financial reparations, The Economic Case for Reparations. Both of these are must-read articles.

Race and Economic Disadvantage The workings of the economy are often thought to be fair and rational. But the outcomes we see tell a different story. Race and ethnicity matter: unequal treatment continues to disadvantage people of color. Read a short overview of race and unemploment, wages and salaries, and poverty. Then use the discussion questions to engage in a thoughtful conversation. 

In Faith We Seek the Beloved Community: People of Color Disadvantaged in Downturn. The economic downturn has impacted people across the economic spectrum. But people of color have been hit the hardest.

Follow the impact of unemployment and underemployment on various demographic groups. (These frequent assessments ended in July 2012. But the record of what happened during the recent economic downturn is very illustrative)

In response to the General Synod 23 (2001) resolution, Call for a study on reparations for slavery, JWM produced a discussion guide titled Financial Reparations: a Just Response to the Persistent Economic Effects of Slavery, Segregation, Discrimination, and Racism. This resource provides information and discussion questions on a variety of economic indicators and shows that African Americans' are consistently disadvantaged in each area. 

General Synod pronouncement and resolution

The UCC is called to be an anti-racist church  General Synod 24, (2003) resolution

The UCC is called to be a multi-racial, multi-cultural church General Synod 19 (1993) pronouncement


Ms. Edith Rasell, Ph.D.
Minister for Economic Justice
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio 44115