WATCH: Baptist Leader John Upton Says It’s Time for Black and White Baptists to Have an Honest Dialogue About Racial Inequality In America
By CLG on October 3, 2013 11:05 AM
BGAV head John Upton says white Baptists have given too little attention to social problems that disproportionately affect racial minorities.
It’s time for black and white Baptists to begin honest dialogue about the reality of racial inequality in the United States, says Virginia denominational leader John Upton.
Upton, executive director of the predominantly white Baptist General Association of Virginia, said in an online video posted Sept. 25 that he hopes Virginia Baptists “will step up to the plate and engage in some very needed dialogue right now.”
Upton said few Baptists outside of the African-American community are talking about the mass incarceration of young people, disproportionally black and brown, whose futures are being ruined in the so-called war on drugs.
“It has reached a critical mass, millions and millions,” Upton said. “And nobody’s paying attention to this. When we stopped declaring war on poverty, we declared war on drugs, and we essentially declared war on these young people. And something has to be addressed.”
He urged Virginia Baptists to enter into conversation with African-American conventions about the “crisis going on in our neighborhoods all around us.”
Upton, who also serves as current president of the Baptist World Alliance, said one barrier to dealing with racism in America is “that we don’t even understand race.”