RECONCILIATION & How Billy Graham stood up against racism and modeled reconciliation, as told by someone who was there: Amos C. Brown.

by Amos C. Brown, Sojourners Magazine, 6/16/29.

… In July 1952, when I was 11 years old, some of my relatives took me to witness the Billy Graham Crusade in Jackson, Miss. Ropes were strung across the athletic field and stands where more than 300,000 people would gather to hear him preach during those hot summer nights. The ropes had one purpose: to keep the crowd segregated by the color of their skin.

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I still remember, nearly 70 years later, watching as Rev. Graham walked down off the podium where he was to preach and pulled down those ropes. That was the day that he declared he would never again preach to a segregated congregation, because the gospel of Jesus Christ welcomes all equally. It was a courageous act for which he was heavily criticized, notoriously so in the segregated South. Nonetheless, in pulling down those ropes he demonstrated his belief in the words of the gospel, and over the rest of life stood with other religious leaders who were working to bring down the barriers of racism.

From the article “BILLY GRAHAM RAISED HIS VOICE AGAINST RACISM. SO SHOULD HIS SON.” Read the full article here … https://sojo.net/articles/billy-graham-raised-his-voice-against-racism-so-should-his-son

And watch a video here …https://billygraham.org/video/taking-ropes-segregation-part-4/

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Image: LancasterOnline.com

PRIVILEGE & Exercises to Understand Privilege (Privilege Walk)

by Barbara Lesch McCaffry, American Multi-Cultural Studies, Hutchins School of Liberal Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California. Retrieved from http://userpages.umbc.edu/~korenman/wmst/privilege1.html

Unity and Privilege Exercise

Have students stand in a straight line (quite close together).

  • Request they hold hands with the person on either side of them for as long as possible and refrain from speaking during the exercise.
  • Or they can stand in a circle without holding hands.

·      Put a chair at some distance in front of the line or in the center of the circle (not as effective). At the end of the questions the facilitator announces that the winner is the first one to sit on the chair.·      Tell participants in advance that is any question makes them feel uncomfortable they should just ignore the question, moving neither forward nor backward.·      An optional exercise is to ask the participants to add their own questions after all the questions have been asked. One research said, “I recall one instance in which some of the immigrant students had questions that US born participants did not / could not anticipate…etc.”

—-

 

If your ancestors were forced to come to the USA, not by choice, take one step back.

 

If your primary ethnic identity is American, take one step forward.

 

If you were ever called names because of your race, class, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, take one step back.

 

If there were people of color who worked in your household as servants, gardeners, etc., take one step forward.

 

If your parents were professional, doctors, lawyers, etc., take one step forward.

 

If you were raised in an area where there was prostitution, drug activity, etc. take one step back.

 

If you ever tried to change you appearance, mannerisms, or behavior to avoid being judged or ridiculed, take one step back.

 

If you studied the culture of your ancestors in elementary school, take one step forward.

 

If you went to a school speaking a language other than English, take one step back.

 

If there were more than 50 books in your house when you grew up, take one step forward.

 

If you ever had to skip a meal or were hungry because there was not enough money to buy food when you were growing up, take one step back.

 

If you were brought to art galleries or plays by your parents, take one step forward.

 

If one of your parents were unemployed or laid off, not by choice, take one step back.

 

If you attended a private school or summer camp, take one step forward.

 

If your family ever had to move because they could not afford the rent, take one step back.

 

If you were told that you were beautiful, smart, and capable by your parents, take one step forward.

 

If you were ever discouraged from academic or jobs because of race, class, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, take one step back.

 

If you were ever encouraged to attend a college by your parents, take one step forward.

 

If prior to age 18, you took a vacation out of the country, take one step forward.

 

If one of your parents did not complete high school, take one step back.

 

If your family owned your own house, take one step forward.

 

If you saw members of your race, ethnic group, gender, or sexual orientation were portrayed on television in degrading roles, take one step back.

 

If you were ever offered a good job because of your association with a friend or family member, take one step forward.

 

If you were ever denied employment because of your race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, take one step back.

 

If you were ever paid less, treated less fairly because of your race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, take one step back.

 

If you were ever accused of cheating or lying because of your race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, take one step back.

 

If you ever inherited money or property, take a step forward.

 

If you had to rely primarily on public transportation, take one step back.

 

If you were ever stopped or questioned by the police because of your race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, take one step back.

 

If you were ever afraid of violence because of your race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, take one step back.

 

If you were generally able to avoid places that were dangerous, take one step forward.

 

If you ever felt uncomfortable about a joke related to your race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, take one step back.

 

If you were ever a victim of violence related to your race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, take one step back.

 

If your parents did not grow up in the United States, take one step back.

 

If your parents told you that you could be anything you wanted to be, take one step forward.

 

Debrief: Ask participants to remain where they are to look at their position in the room or space in relation to the positions of the other participants. Ask participants to pick someone from an opposite position with which to process the exercise. If a circle was used in lieu of a line, the privileged with be in the middle and the “others” will be on the outside. White males (almost always near the front) will find it very easy to sit on the chair at the end. One researcher noted, “for the Black males who are almost always way at the back–this is impossible–although I once had a Black male who really put on some speed to try and get there. It is an excellent reminder of the effect of unearned privilege.”

Questions: What are your thoughts and feelings about this exercise? Were you surprised? Why? If time permits or if relevant: Would your placement have been different if the exercise included questions about disability or religion? How could affirmative action impact these issues? Take about 10 minutes for the pairs to process and then have them report back to the group as a whole.

 

CHARITY & How the Calvinistic Work Ethic Undercuts It

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 8/1/16.

The Protestant work ethic was first described by Max Weber as growing out of a Calvinistic emphasis upon two things:

First was the emphasis on the German word “beruf,” i.e. every person’s occupation could be glorifying to God if undertaken with enthusiasm, diligence and honor to God. This Calvinistic viewpoint was widely accepted across most theological perspectives including Arminians as logical.

Secondly and more disturbingly, the Protestant work ethic believed that hard work would make “anyone” more successful. This according to Weber grew out of the Calvinist “double predestination” belief that God has destined people either for heaven or hell.

Part of this belief was that to show you were predestined for heaven you needed to be successful. And people who were not successful where undoubtedly so because they had not been pre-destined for heaven. The key had been always that people wanted to differentiate who is destined for heaven and who is destined for hell (though scripture reminds us this is knowledge that belongs to God alone). Still, the ability to make something of yourself and be a successful entrepreneur became a “sign” that you were predestined for heaven. The result was that Calvinism supported an outward view that people who were successful where so because they were predestined for glory.

This perspective may have subtly added to the view that non-dominant cultures, people who were/had been enslaved or Mediterranean immigrants who didn’t look like the majority culture in America, were insufficiently destined for heaven.

I see several troubling elements within the Calvinistic influence on the Protestant work ethic.

1. It creates a view that business success is a sign of God’s blessing. This would eventually morph into the more destructive prosperity gospel, in which accumulation of wealth was a sign that you were predestined for heaven.

2. The Protestant work ethic as seen through the lens of Calvinism branded people who were non-dominant or disadvantage cultures as culturally and inherently not destined for heaven. It may have contributed to a rise in bigotry.

3. The Protestant work ethic seen through a Calvinistic lens undermined charity, because it felt that giving money to the needy was under cutting their ability to work harder to make their life better. This is an informal fallacy because it does not recognize that many people because of culture, language, ethnicity, history as a enslaved culture, etc. prevented them from having a level playing field for advancement.

In conclusion, the Protestant work ethic has helped by allowing everyone to see that their work can be used to glorify God (Col. 3:23).

But a Protestant work ethic as viewed through the double predestination of Calvinism, can undercut our ability to see biases and challenges that people of non-dominant cultures face.

And finally, the Calvinistically influenced work ethic does not emphasize the benefit of “charity” for helping disadvantaged others to have a level playing field to rise in socioeconomics.

Herein lies my personal observations in working with hundreds of churches: that Calvinistically influenced churches tend to be less generous in their charity and Arminian influenced churches such as Methodist, Wesleyan, Penecostal, Salvation Army and others tend to be more generous in their charity to those who are economically or culturally disadvantaged.

Wesley was famous for saying (paraphrased): Earn all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can. And this is often been interpreted in a Calvinistic Protestant work ethic sense of “saving” your money by reinvesting it in capitalistic opportunities. A part of the Protestant work ethic as described by Weber is to invest money to make more money … as a sign that you are predestined for heaven.

However, that is not what Wesley meant by “save all you can.” Wesley meant “being thrifty.” By this he felt you would have more money to give to others.

Wesley instilled in his followers: the great sense of generosity that we see today reflected in Methodist Hospitals, parish nurse programs and ministry to the socially disadvantaged by groups such as the Salvation Army.

The purpose of this article is to emphasize that charity that lifts souls economically and socially is a bigger part of the Protestant work ethic than is usually interpreted through a Calvinistic lens of double predestination.

References.

Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (Die protestantische Ethik und der Geist des Kapitalismus).

RACISM & Preaching To Confront Racism by retired bishop Dr. Will Willimon

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By William H. Willimon, excerpted from Who Lynched Willie Earle? Preaching to Confront Racism (forthcoming from Abingdon Press, February 2017)

Moralism (substituting law for gospel, exhorting better human behavior without dependency upon God’s grace) is no match for racism. While urging us to preach justice, Lutheran James Childs warns: “Preaching that always goes directly from sin to salvation or from cross to resurrection without ever stopping off at sanctification is missing something of crucial importance…. The grace of God in Christ, which justifies, also sanctifies … The good tree bears good fruit … (Matt. 7:18).” (Childs, Preaching Justice, 2000). I thank God that I am a Wesleyan Christian who, after admitting that I’m guilty of the sin of racism can say that’s not all I am. I’m someone in whom the grace of God is actively, daily, persistently at work healing me of my sin, perfecting God’s intentions for me, in spite of me.

Moralism is unavoidable if a preacher conceives of the congregation as good people who come to church to be even better. The Christian faith is presented as common sense with a spiritual veneer. Moralism is notoriously anthropological rather than theological in its assumption that listeners already have all they need in order to be good. History, structural injustices, the human propensity to self-interest, the various psychological binds in which we are caught, human feelings of vulnerability and threat are all ignored in moralism’s appeal to our “better angels.” The sermon is in the imperative mood as the preacher fills the air with should, ought, must.

As Chuck Campbell points out, preaching on social issues tends to imply that good people of good will have the power to solve their own problems (a thought dearly loved by liberal white people who enjoy thinking of ourselves as the masters of our domain). Moralistic preaching overlooks how structural, systemic, principalities and powers have us under their sway. Campbell urges us, “always rely on the power of God, not on our own strength, in resistance.” (Campbell, The Word Before the Powers, 2003).

Sermons whose intent is to build guilt are universally resisted. Not only does Jesus tend toward forgiveness rather than guilt but also preaching that provokes guilt backfires as hearers are encouraged to become more introspective, more obsessed with ourselves and our histories, more egotistical, not less. White people ascribed far too much power to our egos and are already narcissistic without help from the preacher. The default Christian position with regard to guilt is to confess sin, offer it up and then allow ourselves to be unburdened by the justifying grace of God and to be spurred on by sanctifying grace in our acts of contrition.

Conservative, Reformed pastor, John Piper’s sermon, “Racial Reconciliation” begins by asserting (without citing support) that, “There is strong evidence that stressing differences does little to improve race relations, and may even exacerbate them.” The rest of his sermon attacks the notion of racial difference. Using Scripture, Piper asserts that, “God made all ethnic groups from one human ancestor,” and that all “are made in the image of God.” Your “ethnic identity” is of no consequence when compared with the biblical truth that we are all created “in the image of God.” That’s why programs in “diversity training” “backfire.” We ought to teach our children to put all their “eggs in the basket called personhood in the image of God and one egg in the basket called ethnic distinction.” The problem is not the sin of white racism, the problem is a failure to think about our humanity in a biblical way. Though Piper is a strong Calvinist, there is nothing in the sermon about confession of sin, forgiveness, repentance or the need for the grace of God.

While it’s good that Piper attempts to think theologically beyond rather limp, secular notions of “diversity,” Piper’s exhortation to color-blind Christianity overlooks that persons of color did not come up with the idea that skin color was a valid way of defining humanity in order to oppress nonwhites — that nefarious idea came exclusively from white people. Piper, perhaps unintentionally, bolsters white evasion of engagement in issues of systemic racial injustice when he ends his sermon with a stirring call to “banish every belittling and unloving thought from our minds,” “to show personal, affectionate oneness” with Christians of all ethnic backgrounds, and to be “salt and light” “with courageous acts of inter-racial kindness and respect.”

We don’t need “diversity training” because racial reconciliation is a personal matter of individual piety in thoughts, speech and kindness, according to Piper’s sermon. We wouldn’t have racism if Christians refused to acknowledge the reality of race. This is the call for “reconciliation” white folks love to hear.

“Reconciliation” too often focuses, as in Piper’s sermon, upon interpersonal reconciliation without focus on systemic and structural justice. Many black people push back against the call for “reconciliation” because it presumes there was a time when we were in a right relationship. It also implies that we work toward reconciliation from an equal footing. “Hospitality” also implies that we, the powerful, are the hosts; the less powerful are the guests, outsiders whom we graciously welcome. Talk of reconciliation without recognition of power arrangements degenerates into sentimentality. (see Jennifer Harvey, Dear White Christians, 2014). And speaking of my church family, sentimental accounts of human nature, racial harmony and Christian ethics is killing us. Recently a United Methodist told me that her preacher had preached a sermon on racism.

“What did you learn from the sermon?” I asked.

“That we ought to be nice to black people,” she responded. Far from being confrontation with the sin of racism, sentimental narrations of racism and sentimental appeals for white people to be nice are a primary means of avoiding conversations about race among United Methodists.

A white male (Paul Tillich), preaching to white males, preached a famous sermon: “You are Accepted,” (Tillich, The Shaking of the Foundations, 1963) as if unconditional acceptance were the core of the Good News. That I am graced, loved, and accepted by God, just as I am, racism and all, at first sounds charitable. But there is a more sinister side to such cheery, sentimentally blissful ignorance. Preaching is also a call to conversion, transformation, detoxification. The evil we face is more than wrong thinking about ourselves; it’s our captivity to principalities and powers.

Grace, Wesleyan grace, is not a paternal pat on the head; it’s the power of God that enables us to live different lives than the lives we would be condemned to live if we had not been met by God in Jesus Christ.

As Luther said, apples do not come from a thorn bush. Good deeds arise from good people. At our best, we preach to defeat racism every Sunday because every Sunday’s sermon contributes to the character of Christians. That’s why some of our best preaching against racism will not seem to the congregation a direct attack on racism. Preaching’s value is often in the subtle but powerful ways it forms us into people who have empathy for others, who assume responsibility for the needs of strangers, who feel that they are under judgment from some higher criterion than their own conscience, and who believe that, with the Holy Spirit set loose among us, who believe that we can be born again.

Before consideration of the obviously ethical “What ought we to do?” preaching considers the theologically determinative and ethically formative, “Who is God?”, “What doth the Lord require?” Human action is responsive reaction to God’s initiatives. Our discipleship is our human affirmation of how God is already busy in the world. It’s not for us to defeat the sin of racism; God in Christ is already doing that. Our chief ethical question is, “Will I join with Christ in his world-changing, world-ending, resurrection-work or not?”

Chuck Campbell, speaks of preaching in the face of powers like racism as “exorcism”:

Don’t many folks — preachers included — long to be set free from the powers of death that have us in their grip and won’t let us go — powers from which we cannot seem to free ourselves no matter how hard we try? After all, this is the key characteristic of demon possession: We are no longer agents of our own lives, but go through the deadly motions dictated to us by the powers of the world that hold us captive — that “possess” us. And we need a word from beyond ourselves to set us free from our captivity. (Campbell, “Resisting the Powers” in Purposes of Preaching, 2004).

The challenge is for us to move beyond being non-racist to being actively anti-racist, always remembering that,

We aren’t fighting against human enemies but against rulers, authorities, forces of cosmic darkness, and spiritual powers of evil in the heavens. Therefore, pick up the full armor of God so that you can stand your ground on the evil day and after you have done everything possible to still stand. (Ephesians 6:12-13)

That’s why it’s not enough for us to share our personal story or to exhort the congregation to greater striving for justice. “We don’t preach about ourselves. Instead, we preach about Jesus Christ as Lord…” (2 Corinthians 4:5). In Campbell’s words, “We need a word beyond ourselves to set us free,” Jesus, the Word made flesh, God’s word in action.

PRIVILEGE & Understanding Unconscious Bias #HarvardUniversity

by Bob Whitesel D.Min.m Ph.D., 4/26/16.

Harvard University offers a helpful online test to help you see your unconscious biases that affect your opinions, language, friends, church preference, etc.  Understanding that we all, everyone, has unconscious biases. These biases are not all bad but it is important to understand that our upbringing and our choices have led us to embrace biases that we don’t even know we have.

Check out this resources at http://www.implicit.harvard.edu and take the short test.  You don’t have to share the results with anyone unless you want to.  The purpose is just to help you better understand yourself and how you can relate more authentically and openly with others.From the website: Participation is voluntary. It is your choice whether or not to participate in this research. If you choose to participate, you may change your mind and leave the study at any time. Refusal to participate or stopping your participation will involve no penalty or loss of benefits to which you are otherwise entitled.

What is the purpose of this research? The purpose of this research is to examine how people evaluate others.

How long will I take part in this research? Your participation will take up to 10 minutes to complete.

What can I expect if I take part in this research? As a participant, you will complete a decision-making task, answer some questions and complete an Implicit Association Test in which you will sort words or images into categories as quickly as possible.

What are the risks and possible discomforts? If you choose to participate, the effects should be comparable to those you would experience from viewing a computer monitor for 10 minutes and using a mouse or keyboard.

Are there any benefits from being in this research study? There are no foreseeable benefits for study participants. Scientific knowledge will benefit from a greater understanding of how people perceive others.

5 STAGES & How Oneya Okuwobi Transitions Churches to Living Color #Mosiax

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 4/26/16.

As a member of the Mosiax Network (I would encourage you to join too) I learned a great deal from the dialogue of leading thinkers at the 2016 Exponential pre-conference. We are also launching an academic society (info here) to study best practices.  Here are some gleanings from the pre-conference.

Oneya Okuwobi, who co-wrote with Mark DeYmaz the “Multi-Ethnic Christian Life Primer.”  She is the Director at Transcend Culture, an organization which resources to Multi-ethnic churches.  She egan developing multiethnic curriculum for her church a decade ago after her pastor decided he wanted to focus on helping his “98 percent white, commuter church” become more multi-ethnic. (retrieved from http://www.christianpost.com/news/the-local-church-is-primarily-responsible-for-segregation-within-congregations-says-multi-ethnic-network-leader-113024/)

Her’s is the story of an Assembly of God church (http://peopleschurch.co) that was 90% Anglo in 2000 but today is over 50% multiethnic.  She sees the key to this transformation as five stages:

  1. Understanding unconscious bias / privilege. Tests on this can be found at http://www.implicit.harvard.edu
  2. Take things you know you are bias against and surround yourself with images of positive examples that debase the bias.
  3. Exploring other cultures.
  4. Emerging when you start to integrate your leaders
  5. Experienced when the congregation reflects the diversity of the community both visually and in style.

CULTURAL BIAS & The Power of Asking a Different Question in Ferguson

by Larry Wilson, 11/26/15.

Seeing Things in Black and White

… As I watched St. Louis County (Ferguson, MO) Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch explain the grand jury action spliced with scenes of the gathering crowd outside the police station, I was struck by the obvious difference with which white people and people of color view events like the Ferguson shooting.

McCulloch’s calm explanation events centered on the facts of August 9. If we can understand these facts, he seemed to be saying, we can arrive at justice. Because that’s what whites are looking for in Ferguson: justice for what happened on that one day. Was this one officer guilty of a crime in the shooting death of this one black man? That’s the only question the grand jury was asked to consider, and the only question that matters to most whites, I think.

Reactions from people of color outside the room revealed that they’re asking a different question: How long must we live this nightmare? How many times will we watch this same scene unfold before someone recognizes the pattern and makes it stop?

And there’s the problem. People who ask different questions will seldom arrive at the same answer. Until we agree on the nature of the problem, there is no hope of finding a solution…

Read more at … http://www.lawrencewilson.com/the-power-of-asking-a-different-question-in-ferguson/

BIAS & Everyone is biased: Harvard professor’s work reveals we barely know our own minds

“Everyone carries with them implicit biases that may change how people perceive or interact with others.”

by Carolyn Y. Johnson, Boston Globe,
2/5/13

Mahzarin R. Banaji was starting out as an assistant professor of psychology at Yale University in the late 1980s, at a time when women professors were scarce enough that administrators eager to offer a class on the psychology of gender turned to her. Banaji had no expertise in the area; her research focused on memory. But she said she would do it, and she quickly found herself inhabiting the overlapping worlds of gender studies and psychology.

Banaji was fascinated by a memory study by psychologist Larry Jacoby. He had asked people to read a list of names from the phone book, such as “Sebastian Weisdorf”, and rate how easy they were to pronounce. A day later, those same people were handed a list of names that included famous people, others from the phone book, and some names from the list they had read the day before. Asked which were famous people, the study participants incorrectly classified Sebastian Weisdorf and others, whose names they had learned just the day before, as famous.

What, Banaji wondered, would happen if the name was Susannah Weisdorf? Would this same benefit, of becoming famous overnight, accrue to women? She did the test and found that female names were far less likely to achieve fame in the same way. When she grilled participants later, to try and figure out what could lie behind the discrepancy, she was struck by one thing: it occurred to no one that gender might be a factor.

That study was a seed, which grew into an idea in psychology that has become transformative: everyone carries with them implicit biases that may change how people perceive or interact with others. Doctors, judges, police officers, teachers—even Banaji herself—are all subject to these biases, which can lead people to inadvertently act in ways that may be discriminatory or are influenced by stereotypes that people would consciously reject…
Read more at … http://www.boston.com/news/science/blogs/science-in-mind/2013/02/05/everyone-biased-harvard-professor-work-reveals-barely-know-our-own-minds/7x5K4gvrvaT5d3vpDaXC1K/blog.html

BIAS & Is Bias Fixable?

“Recognizing bias is simply recognizing that you are not impartial — you prescreen by seeing what you expect to see.”

by Nilofer Merchant, 8/28/13, Harvard Business Review

“As a brown woman, your chances of being seen and heard in the world are next to nothing,” he said. “For your ideas to be seen, they need to be edgier.” He paused, as if to ruminate on this, before continuing. “But if you are edgy, you will be too scary to be heard.” This was the advice I got from a marketing guru when I asked for his help with titling my second book.

I was confused, as I couldn’t figure out how this answer had any relationship to my original question. I walked — somewhat dazed — to my next meeting and repeated what I’d just heard. In return, I received only blank stares. It wasn’t that these people affirmed his point of view; it’s that they stayed silent. My confusion gradually turned to fear. Was someone finally doing me a service by telling me … The Truth?

For months after hearing this “… you’ll never been seen” message, I was a mess seeing his “truth” into every missed opportunity or unexpected obstacle.

Black / white. Masculine/feminine. Rich/poor. Immigrant/ native. Gay/straight. Southern/northern. Young/old. Each of us can be described in a series of overlapping identities and roles. And we could spend time talking about the biological and sociological programming that causes humans to form personal identity around group structures. But the bottom line is this: we — as a society — don’t see each other. You are not seen for who you really are, though each of us is a distinct constellation of interests, passions, histories, visions and hopes. And you do not see others.

As David Burkus recently wrote, innovation isn’t an idea problem, but rather a recognition problem; a lack of noticing the good ideas already there. To see and be seen is essential to finding solutions for all of us. Now “noticing” doesn’t seem like an especially hard thing to do, but — let’s be real — it is. That’s because of bias. Bias is shaped by broader culture — something is perceived as “true” — and thus it prevents you from neutrally seeing. Recognizing bias is simply recognizing that you are not impartial — you prescreen by seeing what you expect to see…

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2013/08/is-bias-fixable/

PRIVILEGE & What White Privilege Means by Professor Naomi Zack #UnivOfOregon #NewYorkTimes #ReMIXbook

An interview by George Yancy, New York Times, 11/5/14

“Middle-class and poor blacks in the United States do less well than whites with the same income on many measures of human well-being: educational attainment, family wealth, employment, health, longevity, infant mortality. You would think that in a democracy, people in such circumstances would vote for political representatives on all levels of government who would be their advocates. But the United States, along with other rich Western consumer societies, has lost its active electorate (for a number of reasons that I won’t go into here). So when something goes wrong, when a blatant race-related injustice occurs, people get involved in whatever political action is accessible to them…

People are now stopped by the police for suspicion of misdemeanor offenses and those encounters quickly escalate. The death of Michael Brown, like the death of Trayvon Martin before him and the death of Oscar Grant before him, may be but the tip of an iceberg…

Exactly why unarmed young black men are the target of choice, as opposed to unarmed young white women, or unarmed old black women, or even unarmed middle-aged college professors, is an expression of a long American tradition of suspicion and terrorization of members of those groups who have the lowest status in our society and have suffered the most extreme forms of oppression, for centuries. What’s happening now in Ferguson is the crystallization of our grief…

Read more at http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/05/what-white-privilege-really-means/

PRIVILEGE & Blind to White Privilege and Blinded by White Privilege: Williams’ Response to O’Reilly

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Last week I spoke at a conference at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I was impressed with their faculty and even more so by this logical response to Bill O’Reilly by Associate Professor for New Testament Interpretation Jarvis J. Williams, Ph.D.

By Jarvis J. Williams, Ph.D.

….O’Reilly’s analysis failed to see a crucial point: he thinks the way he thinks about white privilege, right down to the way that he interprets the statistical data to support his thesis against white privilege, because he is a white man who benefits from white privilege.

The Reality of White Privilege

In my view, O’Reilly’s memo did not prove the non-existence of white privilege. Instead, he simply supported that some African-Americans have often made bad decisions and those bad decisions have resulted in a disadvantaged social experience. Even if O’Reilly’s data were correct—but I must admit that I’m skeptical in light of Charles Blow’s, a New York Times columnist, immediate response to O’Reilly in his column—white privilege could (and does) co-exist alongside of the statistical data that O’Reilly presented to argue his thesis against white privilege…

Read more at … http://www.raanetwork.org/blind-white-privilege-blinded-white-privilege-response-bill-oreilly/

PRIVILEGE & Thoughts on Ferguson from a St. Louis Pastor

by JEMAR TISBY8/28/14Thoughts on Ferguson from Pastor - Reformed African American Network (RAAN)Although the majority of blacks are very disappointed by the looting and the unwillingness to end these nighttime protests that are serving to distract the country from real issues of justice and peace, we are not surprised by the rhetoric of race. Black folks know that they are not the privileged race and when this becomes evident, by an alleged act of police brutality or racial profiling, they move toward a boiling point. This time the pot boiled over.

Even as an African American male, who is educated at the doctoral level and has reached the rank of full Colonel in the nation’s armed forces, I still deal with anger. But this anger is so deep that it is unexplainable. And when the anger is challenged–especially by a well-meaning white person–the anger just gets worse. It is like we want to say to that white person, “Do you really need me to explain it!?” “What planet do you live on!?”

Note: This post originally appeared in Thistle, the online blog of Covenant Theological SeminaryRead more at … http://www.raanetwork.org/thoughts-ferguson-st-louis-pastor/

PRIVILEGE & Using Your White Privilege for Good #Video

PHILLIP HOLMESMAY 26, 2013
Anthony Bradley Exposed Series

Feeling guilty about white privilege? In this video, Dr. Anthony Bradley talks about how White males can use their privilege for the good of all humankind.

Read/watch more at … http://www.raanetwork.org/using-your-white-privilege-for-good/