Created Equal: Jim Wallis Explores “America’s Original Sin”

Reverend Jim Wallis says this moment and movement has brought into sharper focus America’s long history of systemic racism.

Season Three of the podcast Created Equal explores “Writers on Race: From Ralph Ellison to Colson Whitehead,” and features some of the most important voices in literature as well as the national conversation on racial inequities. 

The conversations were conducted on the radio program, Detroit Today, in the WDET studios on Wayne State University’s campus throughout the pandemic and civil unrest of 2020. Each episode consists of a conversation between Henderson and one writer exploring the role of their work in the conversation about race in America. 

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Episode 5 Guest: Jim Wallis

Reverend Jim Wallis, is the Founder, President, and Editor-In-Chief of Sojourners, and is the author of twelve books, including “America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege and the Bridge to a New America.”

Rev. Wallis says this moment and movement has brought into sharper focus America’s long history of systemic racism. 

“I have never heard the phrase ‘America’s Original Sin’ spoken more than I have in the last two months,” says Wallis of his book written in 2015.

Discussion Points:

How George Floyd’s death sparked a reckoning of America’s original sin:
“Minneapolis happens and this excruciating 8 minutes and 46 seconds with a white police knee on the back neck of George Floyd was seen by more people… and watched and somehow, in Biblical terms, I would call it a “Kairos” moment, a moment which is more than just time, but spiritually impacts and changes things because somehow 8 minutes and 46 seconds became a time to talk about 401 years of America’s original sin. Now what has been so invisible, is being made more visible, especially to a lot more white people who never saw this before who are now, finally seeing it… Every Black parent who saw that neck saw their kids under that knee and saw themselves under that knee.”

Rev. Wallis’ reflects on his own awakening:
“I always tell young people ‘Trust your questions and follow them to wherever they take you.’ Mine took me into what was called the ‘inner-city’ and I took jobs alongside young Black men, like me but they were Black and I was white. I’m making money for college to go to Michigan State and they’re making money to support their families. The more I worked alongside, got to know, listened to, became friends with people, I realized we had been born in Detroit, in the same city, but had grown up in literally different countries. So that was the beginning for me in Detroit, of understanding what was invisible in the media, in the narrative.”

Created Equal Season 3 is supported by the Michigan School of Psychology

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  • Meta Stange
    Meta Stange is the Digital Content and Engagement Manager for 101.9 WDET, overseeing the station's digital editorial content. She enjoys reading, making bad jokes, and hanging out with her dog, Salmon.