Speaker Addresses Christianity and Issues of Structural Racism in America

Using the parable of the Good Samaritan, M. Shawn Copeland, Boston College Associate Professor of Theology, explored the intersection of enlightened Christianity and the recognition of structural racism in American society with a Saint Mary’s audience on March 14 in Hagerty Hall. Copeland’s lecture, “Who is My Neighbor?” was the first theological address in the Bishop John S. Cummins new springtime series entitled “Announcing the Gospel: Modern Theologians at Work.” 

Her lecture explored the problem of systemic racism in the nation and challenged audience members to employ their commitment to social justice to examine racism as prejudice plus power, and to use the context of faith as a lens to view the mistreatment of African Americans in America as “neighbors” who have been subjected to historic violence and subjugation. Around 80 students, faculty and staff members gathered to listen to Copeland’s 45-minute lecture and engaged in a lively 15-minute question-and-answer session with her afterward.

Copeland’s research interests focus on issues of theological and philosophical anthropology and political theology, as well as African and African–derived religious and cultural experience.  Her recent publications include “Enfleshing Freedom: Body, Race, and Being,” “The Subversive Power of Love: The Vision of Henriette Delille: The Madeleva Lecture in Spirituality” and “Uncommon Faithfulness: The Black Catholic Experience.”African-American intellectual history.”

Michael McAlpin
Office of College Communications