DIVERSITY & Do Your Congregants Know Why You Believe in Diversity?

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Having researched, written and coached churches on diversity for almost 20 years, I find that sometimes those I coach are challenged to explain the “why” and the “history” behind their beliefs. Ruchika Tulshyan, writing in the Harvard Business Review gives practical steps to embrace when explaining about your beliefs (excerpted below).

Do Your Employees Know Why You Believe in Diversity?

Ruchika Tulshyan, Harvard Business Review, 6/30/20.

… Here are some suggestions for how your team can meaningfully communicate and execute your commitment to anti-bias and dismantling racism:

Do not send communication on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts without explicitly calling out the reasoning for it…

Understand the history of bias and discrimination — which explains how these initiatives and programs are righting past wrongs. While many of us theoretically believe discrimination of an employee because of their race, gender, ability, or other identity is wrong and even illegal, in practice, bias is present in many key decisions made in the workplace. A small but eye-opening example; a 2003 Harvard study found that employers preferred white candidates with a criminal record over Black employees who didn’t have a criminal history. Professional women of color face a number of impediments to hiring and advancement that white women do not…

Invite buy-in and advice from people of color…and listen with humility.

Prioritize anti-racism efforts in-house. Leaders must do the tough work of identifying where bias shows up in their organizations right now — hiring, retention, or advancement of employees of color — and fix those issues before moving to grand gestures that could be misinterpreted as PR stunts…

Show up personally … I do wish more leaders were present and engaged in conversations already taking place right in their backyards… When those in charge don’t engage in the work personally, it gives others in the organization to also take a back seat in this important work.

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2020/06/do-your-employees-know-why-you-believe-in-diversity

CHURCH HISTORY & Why Schools Fail To Teach Slavery’s ‘Hard History’

by Cory Turner, NPR, 2/5/18.

“In the ways that we teach and learn about the history of American slavery,” write the authors of a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), “the nation needs an intervention.”

… the report lays out several key “problems” with the way slavery is often presented to students. Among them:

Textbooks and teachers tend to accentuate the positive, focusing on heroes like Harriet Tubman or Frederick Douglass without also giving students the full, painful context of slavery.

Slavery is often described as a Southern problem. It was much, much more. When the Declaration of Independence was signed, it was a problem across the colonies. Even in the run-up to the Civil War, the North profited mightily from slave labor.

Slavery depended on the ideology of white supremacy, and teachers shouldn’t try to tackle the former without discussing the latter.

Too often, the report says, “the varied, lived experience of enslaved people is neglected.” Instead, lessons focus on politics and economics, which means focusing on the actions and experiences of white people.

States and textbook-makers deserve considerable blame for these problems, according to the report. The project reviewed history standards in 15 states and found them generally “timid,” often looking for slavery’s silver lining; hence a common preference for coverage of the abolitionist movement over talk of white supremacy or the everyday experiences of enslaved people…

Read more at … https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2018/02/04/582468315/why-schools-fail-to-teach-slaverys-hard-history

RECONCILATION & 5 Non-Negotiables for White Folks In Pursuing Reconciliation

by Andrew Draper, Taylor University, 8/8/17.

…Pursuing reconciliation … does not mean that having white skin is inherently sinful or that appreciating historically “white” cultural particularities is necessarily problematic. However, this is not the way white identity has functioned in modernity. Since at least the days of colonization, whiteness has been presented as the universal “good.” In this sense, “whiteness” names a way of being in the world, a sociopolitical order that is best understood as idolatry. Pursuing reconciliation demands that the altars of whiteness be cast down and its high places laid low.

Here are 5 practices in which white folks must engage if we are to seriously pursue reconciliation:

  1. We must repent for complicity in systemic sin.
    White folks must repent for histories of slavery, subjugation, segregation, and a racialized criminal justice system…
  2. We must learn from cultural and theological resources, not our own.
    Rather than gravitating toward books and sermons from “white” sources, white folks must listen to other interpretive trajectories on those tradition’s terms…
  3. We must locate our lives in places and structures in which we are necessarily guests.
    Christian theology and ecclesial practice has often understood itself as being “host” to the world. White Christians often enter unfamiliar places not as guests, but as self-appointed arbiters of divine hospitality. How different it would be if white folks practiced withholding judgment about what is “needed” in specific places and structures…
  4. We must tangibly submit to non-white church leadership.
    …White Christians desiring to practice reconciliation must not unilaterally start churches, plan worship services, design cultural events, and organize community activities and then invite “others” to them. Rather, white folks must join churches or ministry associations in which they are a minority and which are led by non-white folks.
  5. We must learn to hear and speak the glory of God in unfamiliar cadences.
    If white folks practice being guests and submitting to non-white leadership, we will begin to hear God spoken about in ways with which we are not familiar. Rather than jumping to evaluation of previously unfamiliar modes of discourse, white folks must learn to “sit with it” for a while, to join in and experience the praises of Jesus in ways that may be initially uncomfortable…

Read more at … http://fuller.edu/Blogs/Global-Reflections/Posts/Five-Non-Negotiables-for-White-Folks-In-Pursuing-Reconciliation/

#DMin LEAD 716

BIAS & Why It is Hard to Grasp, When You Haven’t Historically Experienced It

Saturday Night Live, SNL, 11/12/16.

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.

SUBURBANIZATION & A Quote by Tanner Colby from “The Strange Story of Integration in America”

“Trying to corral the suburban stampede with a bunch of school buses was like herding cats. Actually, it was worse than herding cats. It was herding white people, earth’s only species with a greater sense of entitlement than a cat.”
Tanner Colby, Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America

RACISM & Confronting the Legacy of Lynching as Racial Terror

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Many people know that Marion, Indiana was the location of the last lynching of a black man in America. In some ways as a response to this deplorable history, a university with a strong and unwavering advocacy for racial equality has emerged. Yet many people do not understand that lynching was used to terrorize African Americans, resulting in what this article describes as ‘terror lynchings’ that ‘fueled the mass migration of millions of black people from the South into urban ghettos in the North and West during the first half of the twentieth century. Lynching created a fearful environment where racial subordination and segregation was maintained with limited resistance for decades. Most critically, lynching reinforced a legacy of racial inequality that has never been adequately addressed in America.’ To understand the necessity of both spiritual and racial reconciliation, not only residents of Marion, Indiana but all of our students, friends and colleagues must grasp more accurately the modern-day ramifications of such terroristic behavior. Therefore I urge you to read this important to report on the legacy of lynching in America.”

Lynching in America: Confronting the legacy of racial terror (report summary)

By the Equal Justice Initiative, www.eji.org, 2/15/15

Introduction

Between the Civil War and World War II, thousands of African Americans were lynched in the United States. Lynchings were violent and public acts of torture that traumatized black people throughout the country and were largely tolerated by state and federal officials. These lynchings were terrorism. “Terror lynchings” peaked between 1880 and 1940 and claimed the lives of African American men, women, and children who were forced to endure the fear, humiliation, and barbarity of this widespread phenomenon unaided.

Lynching profoundly impacted race relations in America and shaped the geographic, political, social, and economic conditions of African Americans in ways that are still evident today. Terror lynchings fueled the mass migration of millions of black people from the South into urban ghettos in the North and West during the first half of the twentieth century. Lynching created a fearful environment where racial subordination and segregation was maintained with limited resistance for decades. Most critically, lynching reinforced a legacy of racial inequality that has never been adequately addressed in America. The administration of criminal justice especially is tangled with the history of lynching in profound ways that continue to contaminate the integrity and fairness of the justice system.

This report begins a necessary conversation to confront the injustice, inequality, anguish, and suffering that racial terror and violence created. The history of terror lynching compli- cates contemporary issues of race, punishment, crime, and justice. Mass incarceration, ex- cessive penal punishment, disproportionate sentencing of racial minorities, and police abuse of people of color reveal problems in American society that were framed in the terror era. The narrative of racial difference that lynching dramatized continues to haunt us. Avoiding honest conversation about this history has undermined our ability to build a nation where racial justice can be achieved.

The Context for this Report

In America, there is a legacy of racial inequality shaped by the enslavement of millions of black people. The era of slavery was followed by decades of terrorism and racial subor- dination most dramatically evidenced by lynching. The civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s challenged the legality of many of the most racist practices…

Download the entire report here … http://www.eji.org/files/EJI%20Lynching%20in%20America%20SUMMARY.pdf

BIAS & Research Confirms Talking About Your Biases Can Help Reduce Them

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “This soon to be published research in Administrative Science Quarterly found that if people are reminded that everyone stereotypes others to some degree, then they will be more open to share their biases and as a result be more creative. In other words, let people know that everyone has biases and that we should not be afraid to discuss those biases. Doing so, rather than hiding our biases, fosters more creativity and problem solving.”

Study Says Creativity Can Flow From Political Correctness

“I think most people want to be unbiased, and there are ways we can try to make that happen.” – Michelle Duguid,a professor at Washington University in St. Louis.

by NPR staff, JANUARY 24, 2015 6:14 PM ET.

Michelle Duguid,a professor at Washington University in St. Louis and her co-authors set up an experiment to see if the notion that politically correctness impedes creativity held up to scientific scrutiny.

They sat down students in groups of three to brainstorm ideas on how to use a vacant space on campus. Some of the groups were all men, some all women, others mixed. Control groups got to start right away on the brainstorming, but the test groups were primed with a script.

The research team told those groups that they were interested in gathering examples from college undergraduates of politically correct behavior on campus. They were instructed to, as a group, list examples of political correctness that they had either heard of or directly experienced on this campus.

Duguid and her colleagues started another experiment, one that looked at stereotypes. They tested whether educating people about stereotypes would in turn reduce stereotypes. What they found was that by publicizing the fact that the vast majority of people stereotype, it actually creates a norm for stereotyping.

“People feel more comfortable expressing stereotypes or acting in ways that would be seen as inappropriate because it has set up this norm where everyone does it, so I might not be punished,” she says.

Duguid and her co-author tinkered with their message. Rather than telling the group that everyone was guilty of stereotyping, they simply told them that the vast majority of people put effort into not stereotyping.

“[It] actually had great effects,” she says. “It was the same as telling people that few people stereotyped. So that actually reduced stereotyping, and it was better, significantly better, than telling them nothing at all.”

For Duguid’s study, this was good news.

“I think most people want to be unbiased, and there are ways we can try to make that happen,” she says.

Read more at … http://www.npr.org/2015/01/24/379628464/study-says-creativity-can-flow-from-political-correctness

 

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 & 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/