The Prodigal Altar Boy

Saturday, July 17, 2010

TQ on Race

TQ Leading protest in Norfolk, VA 1980

TQ admits his lack of interaction with people of color during his childhood, as well as his family's blue-collar, working class roots put him at a disadvantage at most of his parishes in that, “Half of it's been in uppity suburbia, everybody had a degree, a profession and a briefcase.”  He contrasted those parishes, with his postings to inner-city churches where he had to learn, “How black people had been cut off from society.  People didn't have checkbooks; they didn't know how to use money.  They went to terrible grocery stores.”  His early interaction with African-Americans showed him a community indifferent to the police and cynical of government.  As a white priest, he often bore the brunt of their frustration.  Their indifference to conditions echoes the findings of Jackson, Shin and Wilson that not only were they acknowledging the superiority and privilege of the dominant culture; they had internalized their own inferiority (Jandt, 2010, p. 31) (Jackson II, Shin, & Wilson, 2000).

 TQ addresses how harmful stereotypes permeated issues such as which mass people attended.  He noted that few whites attended 5:00PM mass at St. Mary's (predominantly black), “That's in the black neighborhood, and I'm afraid my car will be stolen. If it were a poor white neighborhood it would be the same thing, but they don't see that. Black equals bad, bad equals inferior.”  This observation mirrors the findings of Maddox and Gray who found skin color as an important factor in white and black representation of African-Americans (Maddox & Gray, 2002), as well as Dixon and Maddox's findings that dark skin tone was all that was needed to trigger racially stereotypical associations with black criminals (Dixon & Maddox, 2005).


(Excerpt from "Father Thomas J. Quinlan, 'Fool For Christ'"  2009 Calvin Thomas Jr.)