America’s Challenge: Moving Toward Racial Healing and Transformation

Articles | July 9 2019

By Gail. C. Christopher (

( – Months after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam came under fire for the racist images on his yearbook page from Eastern Virginia Medical School in 1984, he remains in office, a battered and chastised, public figure. But maybe this isn’t a bad thing.

A quick resignation would have elicited rhetorical condemnations, a symbolic “washing of hands,” and sent the wrong message that everything has been resolved. It most certainly has not been, and in late May an investigation by the medical school couldn’t conclusively determine whether it’s the governor in the photo. But the Commonwealth of Virginia, and our nation, have an even weightier problem: they must address the root cause of racism 35 years ago, and today – the belief in a hierarchy of human value that poisons our society.

Through centuries, America has failed to do the required work of uprooting and finally eliminating the idea and belief in a hierarchy of humanity – the empowering of one human being over another because of skin color or religion or ethnicity. It was stunning that when USA Today examined 900 yearbooks from the same era, they found more than 200 examples of racist materials, demonstrating the depth of racial bias in our society. (Read more)