on the topic of racial justice & understanding
STEPS FOR BEGINNING TO BREAK DOWN BARRIERS
(from Reggie Jackson’s talk on May 31, 2018 “How Did We Get Here?”)
1. Get out of your bubble
2. Pay attention to your habits
3. Become award of biased behavior
4. Replace your automatic judgements of others
5. Develop a strong desire and motivation to seek change
6. Create a strategy to build your own personal understanding of others
7. Study alternative sources written by people from other groups that you are not familiar with
1. Get out of your bubble
Steps to Take (The Hard Stuff)
1. Make a concerted effort to build real, genuine friendships with people from other groups
2. See for yourself, listen for yourself, and think for yourself
3. Call out your friends, family members, co-workers, etc., for prejudices and discriminatory behaviors
4. Stop trying to prove that you’re colorblind
5. Recognize that our personal biases come from our life experiences
6. Turn off the TV and talk radio and pick up a book about American history
CURRICIULA & GUIDES
1. ELCA’s One Body, Many Members (Lutheran Resource)
This three-part guide is designed to help congregations reach out and fully welcome persons whose race, culture or class is different from their own. Judith Roberts is the ELCA’s Program Director for Racial Justice. Her e-mail is: Judith.Roberts@elca.org
2. Troubling the Waters for the Healing of the Church (Lutheran Resource)
This resource has been designed by White people for White people to equip them with tools that will aid them in addressing and breaking the cycle of socialization that perpetuates racism and sustains an exclusive church. The resource will help White congregational members or groups to embark on a journey of learning from one another as well as from people of color who may enter the river of conversations with them as time goes on. The resource is broken down into 18 sessions starting with the Advent season and ending with Pentecost.
3. Breaking the Bonds (Lutheran Resource)
“Breaking the Bonds” is an internalized racial oppression resource, primarily for people of color. Facilitators of this process would lead individuals through a process that will help them to get in touch with the negative messages they have internalized about themselves and others over the years from the oppressive system of racism.
4. Facing Racism in a Diverse Nation (Secular Resource)
Everyday Democracy (formerly known as the Study Circles Resource Center) is a national organization that helps local communities find ways for all kinds of people to think, talk and work together to solve problems. They work with neighborhoods, cities and towns, regions, and states, helping them pay particular attention to how racism and ethnic differences affect the problems they address. This guide provides steps for organizing dialogues to create change.
5. Transforming White Privilege (Secular Resource)
This curriculum is designed to help leaders better identify, talk about and intervene to address white privilege and its consequences. The curriculum includes lessons plans, handouts, PowerPoint slides and video clips covering key concepts, tools and strategies for change.
6. Transforming Historical Harms (Mennonite Resource)
Produced by Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, this guide walks the users through four sections; Facing History, Making Connections, Healing Wounds, and Taking Action.
7. White Privilege: Let’s Talk – A Resource for Transformational Dialogue (UCC Resource)
An adult curriculum from the UCC that’s designed to invite congregational members to engage in safe, meaningful, substantive and bold conversations on race.
TRAINING & CONSULTATION GROUPS
1. Crossroads Training
The Mission of Crossroads Antiracism Organizing & Training is to dismantle systemic racism and build antiracist multicultural diversity within institutions and communities implemented primarily by training institutional transformation teams. This training is offered each year in the Greater Milwaukee Synod, and it is expected that all Synod Council and Synod staff members attend such training at least once every four years. The group is also available for more local trainings in your congregation.
2. Nurturing Diversity Partners
Mr. Reggie Jackson and Dr. Fran Kaplan have started this consulting firm to equip groups to learn and grow together around the topic of race in the United States. A statement from Dr. Kaplan explains their approach: “Reggie and I believe that people don’t do their best thinking when they feel judged or intimidated, so we approach racism as a disease of the system we’ve all inherited. We did not create it, so aren’t responsible for the past, but we are responsible for its future. We believe that people of goodwill believe in fairness and want to find ways to build an equitable society. We want to help nurture that sentiment and provide tools to get us there.”
3. Zeidler Center for Public Discussion
Each year the Zeidler Center partners with dozens of organizations, neighborhoods, businesses and churches to facilitate group processes that bring about lasting change for communities. Using a process of listening circles, the Zeidler Center is available to help your congregation have conversations around any topic that would benefit from deep listening among your members.
EXTRA LOCAL RESOURCES
1. Rid Racism Milwaukee
Rid Racism’s mission is “to educate and empower our communities to dismantle individual and systemic racism.” Their website has a calendar of local events, other resources, and a wealth of ways to connect with the important work being done across the greater Milwaukee landscape.
2. Race & Faith Book Club
Led by Rhonda Hill (former member of the Greater Milwaukee Synod staff), this Facebook group invites you to read a book each month with the other members and engage in both online and in-person conversation about the book.
1. Video Shown at 2018 Synod Assembly
Heather McGhee, who was serving as a commentator and panelist for C-SPAN, responded to a call-in viewer’s question with compassion and understanding. Their exchange, and the deeper relationship that followed, are a model of how openness and honesty can change views and hearts. This video was shared at the “Curiosity, Courage and Compassion” breakout sessions at the Greater Milwaukee Synod’s 2018 Assembly.
2. NY Times – Race Related Newsletter
A free e-newsletter delivered to your e-mail inbox twice a month, exploring race with provocative reporting and discussion.
3. On Being Podcast: How Friendship and Quiet Conversation Transformed a White Nationalist
A single episode of the “On Being” podcast that highlights how friendship and shared experiences break down historic separation. A good entry point for anyone wishing to begin the conversation.
4. TED Talk: The Danger of a Single Story
Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding. This video has been viewed more than 15 million times.
BOOKS FOR FURTHER LEARNING
1. “Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race” by Debby Irving
For twenty-five years, author Debby Irving sensed inexplicable racial tensions in her personal and professional relationships. As a colleague and neighbor, she worried about offending people she dearly wanted to befriend. As an arts administrator, she didn’t understand why her diversity efforts lacked traction. As a teacher, she found her best efforts to reach out to students and families of color left her wondering what she was missing. Then, in 2009, one “aha!” moment launched an adventure of discovery and insight that drastically shifted her worldview and upended her life plan. In Waking Up White, Irving tells her often cringe-worthy story with such openness that readers will turn every page rooting for her-and ultimately for all of us. This book is a good entry point for those wanting to begin this deeper conversation.
2. “Between the World and Me” by Ta-nehisi Coates
In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?
3. “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn
Since its original landmark publication in 1980, A People’s History of the United States has been chronicling American history from the bottom up, throwing out the official version of history taught in schools—with its emphasis on great men in high places—to focus on the street, the home, and the, workplace.
Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, A People’s Historyof the United States is the only volume to tell America’s story from the point of view of—and in the words of—America’s women, factory workers, African-Americans, Native Americans, the working poor, and immigrant laborers. As historian Howard Zinn shows, many of our country’s greatest battles—the fights for a fair wage, an eight-hour workday, child-labor laws, health and safety standards, universal suffrage, women’s rights, racial equality—were carried out at the grassroots level, against bloody resistance.
Covering Christopher Columbus’s arrival through President Clinton’s first term, A People’s History of the United States, which was nominated for the American Book Award in 1981, features insightful analysis of the most important events in our history.
4. “Becoming The Anti-Racist Church: Journeying Toward Wholeness” by Joseph Barndt
Joseph Barndt is currently on the retired ELCA clergy roster and was the creator of Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training
5. “Birth of a White Nation” by Jacqueline Battaloria
The author was a keynote presenter at the 2014 White Privilege Conference in Madison, WI.
6. “White Rage:The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide” by Carol Anderson
7. “Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism” by Drew G. I. Hart
The author was a presenter at the 2016 Spring Event of the Wisconsin Council of Churches