I won’t be pressed into calling myself a racist, but I am learning that the color of my skin helped me navigate the world. Sorry I am tardy to the lesson.

Many white Americans witness affirmative action and something in their minds naturally snaps and hollers: "Unfair!" This has caused much racial anger in the nation.

I admit I’ve been there. Might I have gotten into Yale if I’d been Black? Would that big scholarship have been mine? On the surface, the questions seem sound.

But they miss the point. A Black student who gets in position to be considered for Yale or in line for a scholarship likely had to overcome many more barriers than I overcame. That Black student is deserving because the playing field is rigged against our Black brothers and sisters in the forms of cronyism and mistrust. Poverty and family problems follow. Affirmative action simply levels the ground.

Scripture and church teaching tell us God is a God of justice and a God who loves outcasts. The church, following the Lord directly, has what is called a preferential option for the poor. Though we Catholics reject the wrongful peripheral agendas of the Black Lives Matter movement, wise measures that achieve justice for Black Americans are in line with the Gospel.

Archbishop Alexander Sample and before him Archbishop John Vlazny have encouraged us to talk about racism in parishes as a step toward eradicating it. This editor intends to join a faith formation program starting this summer at St. Ignatius Parish in Southeast Portland (See Page 4). The JustFaith series is designed to unveil white privilege, spark honest healing and begin actions that will help create justice. It sounds grueling, and possibly embarrassing, but I will report on it and its effects. It’s a lesson that’s never too late to learn.