Continuing conversations on race

Yes, the church season of Lent has begun. But today, at Woodridge UMC, we’re delaying our Lenten sermon series on Jesus’ parables so we can continue our Black History Monty sermon-discussion series, “Conversations on Race.” Thus far, the collaboration among our senior pastor, Rev. Danita Anderson, the congregation, and I has been honest, uncomfortable, and – I hope – fruitful.

One of the best resources I’ve found for our this series is the United Methodist Church’s General Commission On Religion and Race (aka GCORR. Yes, it’s true. The UMC loves us some acronyms.) We all know the interwebs can be a real rabbit hole in which it is easy to lose significant time. GCORR’s site is actually worth whatever time you can give it. So. Much. Good. Stuff.

Lots of which can and will help us as we continue to have honest conversations about things that matter – like racism. Here’s a small taste of what you can find at GCORR:

Stereotypes vs. Generalizations 

Stereotypes are a way we attempt to bring order to a large diversity of information.

Stereotypes imply that how a group of people are, believe, and behave is predictable and the same for all members of the group.

Generalizations allow that there is variation among people from a given culture – not all persons will act or believe the same.

Generalizations appreciates differences within culture and between cultures [read the rest]

Subtle Racism, a resource 

Are you familiar with everyday racism, subtle racism, or racial microaggressions? The following “sound bites” are intended to help readers examine the times in our lives when we experience or participate in subtle or everyday racism. Of course they are debatable; that’s the point.

Racism is…

  • A waiter always giving the check to the white person at the table.

  • Someone who blames the ghetto on those who live in it.

  • Calling an Asian-American “brilliant” because she or he speaks such good English.

  • Favoring Civil Rights, but knowing one must look out for property values.

  • Using chemicals on crops in California so they survive the trip to New York, but not worrying about whether the labors working those crops survive the trip home.

  • [read the rest]

25 Things Your Congregation Can Do to Affirm Diversity and Challenge Racism

Things to Know 8

Of course, GCORR isn’t the only one offering good and challenging resources on race in the USA. Here’s a couple others I’ve been looking at recently. (More resources that have influenced our thinking about race, race relations, privilege, and more.)

From BuzzFeed, “14 Words that carry a coded meaning for Black people.”

What you say: “That’s ghetto.”

What we hear: That is a negative thing I associate with blackness and/or the working class.

What you say: “You are so well-mannered.”

What we hear: The way you carry yourself does not align with the way I have been led to believe black people act. You are a rare case.

What you say: “He is such a thug.”

What we hear: He is the n-word.

[read the rest]

Or this from Upworthy, “They liked her because she ‘talked white.‘”

Yes, I know I already linked to this spoken word performance. But it is just so amazing I had to do so again. So if you missed it previously, go watch it now! Or if you didn’t miss it, well, it’s probably worth another viewing just to see what new insight you might catch.

How about you? What are you reading and watching and listening to that can add to this ongoing conversation about race, race relations, and privilege?

Comments, questions, funny anecdotes, brushes with greatness...?

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