Charter for Racial Justice
Charter for Racial Justice
Charter for Racial Justice Committee -Minnesota Conference UMW 2020
Sandy Meyer, Shirley Durr. Becky Coleman, Bukola Oriola, Sherry Scholljegerdes, Sandra Adelmund, Cindy Saufferer,
language coordinator (TBD)
Charter for Racial Justice Symbol
This image represents the United Methodist Women commitment to work for racial justice. It symbolizes a world of racially and ethnically diverse peoples working together side-by-side to create a world in which every person has a voice, rights and opportunity for abundant life. Within the image are two hands joined together for justice for all God's children.
Links to two handbooks to download
The Antiracism Training and Action program of the Episcopal Church is a process for dismantling racism in the church and in society. [The following excerpt is paraphrased from the Episcopal Church training manual for antiracism introduction.]
READER 1: We must be able to analyze the dynamics of power and oppression so that we can engage in the visioning of an alternate reality for the church and society. That vision for us is the creation of the Beloved Community. However, in constructing the foundation of a just and equitable church and society, we must first understand the building blocks of racism and oppression so that we can truly become antiracists. This will occur on the personal, interpersonal, institutional, and systemic levels.READER 2: The transformation of the racist structures in the church is a means of transforming society. Too often, the church and all institutions of faith have rejected Paul's admonition in the twelfth chapter of the epistle to the Romans and have conformed to the racist, oppressive standards of the world and have not been beacons of transformative light which can lead to full equity and liberation for all. The crux of this is to shine the light of truth on the predominant and historic Euro-centric focus of this country and to change it into the leading antiracist multicultural and fully inclusive country on the face of this planet.
ALL: We, therefore, affirm that:
1. People are born without any inherent predisposition to be racists, for racism is a learned behavior.2. In this country, white people need to recognize their white privilege and people of color their internalized oppression as a precursor to working on modifying these corrosive and unhealthy behaviors. Thus, another goal of this training becomes leading participants through the continuing and, at times, painful discernment process which should result in lasting change.
3. Diversity is a gift from our creator God and anything which causes us to overlook, devalue, or denigrate that gift is a sin.
4. Racism (and all of the other 'isms') is prejudice coupled with power. It exists to maintain the power andcontrol of one group over another - to give one group the ability to say who is in and who is out, who is normal and who is abnormal, and who gets the resources and who does not. It is perpetuated by the refusal of the powerful to relinquish or share power and the inability of the powerless to obtain (or even think that they are entitled to) power for themselves. The racist system has intentionally kept us all unaware of the part we play in this system and our power to effect change. Only when we see the overarching role of the racist system can we begin to examine the consequences of racism on all of us and become allies for change, joining together to build a system which honors and values all, is inclusive of all, and models God's reign of
justice and peace.
5. This begins what must be a continuing process and journey for individuals, groups, and institutions. It incorporates ongoing reflection, repentance, reconciliation, and transformation.
6. Oppression must be acknowledged. We gain strength for this continuing and daunting task from the prophet Isaiah, who declared that the "spirit of the Lord shall rest upon [them] and the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might and the spirit of knowledge... shall make [them] of quick understanding..." The apostle Paul continued in his epistle to the Ephesians: "In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the Faith of the Lord, let us speak the truth in love to the powers and principalities of this world."
BELOW IS A SAMPLE OF THE "CHARTER FOR RACIAL JUSTICE THEME" UMW SUNDAY MATERIALS PUT TOGETHER FOR DISCOVERY UMC IN 2010. FEEL FREE TO USE ALL OR PART OF EXAMPLE
[FILL IN YOUR CHURCH NAME] United Methodist Church
[INSERT CHARTER FOR RACIAL JUSTICE SYMBOL]
This image represents the United Methodist Women and the Women's Division commitment to work for racial justice. It symbolizes a world of racially and ethnically diverse peoples working together side-by-side to create a world in which every person has a voice, rights and opportunity for abundant life. Within the image are two hands joined together for justice for all God's children.
United Methodist Women Sunday
A Service on the Charter for Racial Justice
[FILL IN DATE OF YOUR SERVICE]
Great and rich is the legacy we bring. Many are the gifts we offer to each other. We are a rainbow of colors: a mosaic of cultures. Jointly we are a tower of wisdom and a fellowship of strength. Male & female, we are created in the image of one eternal God!
PRELUDE: "Come Now Prince of Peace" TFWS #2232
GREETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS:
MUSICAL INTERLUDE: UMW PURPOSE SONG (Bulletin Insert)
CALL TO WORSHIP:
Liturgist: O Lord, you created us as equal; yet we have treated one another unjustly.
People: Forgive us, O God.
Liturgist: You created us in your holy image. Yet we have failed to recognize the dignity and sacredness if your image in every person.
People: Forgive us, O God.
Liturgist: Some of the old wounds of injustices are still bleeding, and the callousness of our scars prevent us from being as sensitive to others as we ought to be.
People: Heal us, O God.
Liturgist: Help us listen to those to whom injustices have been done until we hear your cry in theirs, and feel your pain in theirs.
People: Help us, O God.
Liturgist: As new, tender skin emerges from under old scars, create in us a new humanity through brokenness of our experience.
People: Create in us, O God, a new humanity.
Liturgist: That we may celebrate together the dignity and sacredness of humanity in one another for the sake of your glory.
All: For the sake of your glory. Amen.
"Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life" UMH #427 verses 1-4
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
All: We believe...
Women: that God is the creator of all people and all are God's children in one family;
Men: that racism is a rejection of the teachings of Jesus Christ;
Women: that racism denies the redemption and reconciliation of Jesus Christ;
Men: that racism robs all human beings of their wholeness, and is used as a justification for social, economic, and political exploitation;
Women: that we must declare before God and each other that we have sinned against our sisters and brothers of other races in thought, in word, and in deed;
Men: that in our common humanity in creation, all women and men are created in God's image, and all persons are equally valuable in the sight of God;
Women: that our strength lies in our racial and cultural diversity, and that we must work toward a world in which each person's value is respected and nurtured;
Men: that our struggle for justice must be based on new attitudes, new understandings, and new relationships and must be reflected in the laws, policies, structures and practices of both church and state.
All: We Commit ourselves as individuals and as a community to follow Jesus Christ, in word and deed, and to struggle for the rights and self-determination of every person.
Sung Response: What Does the Lord Require of You" (TFWS #2174)
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 25: 31-46
CHILDREN'S TIME: "We Are One in Christ Jesus"
Skit by United Methodist Women
HYMN: "Help Us Accept Each Other" UMH #560
MEDITATION: "How Are We Raced"
PRESENTATION OF SPECIAL MISSION RECOGNITION:
OFFERTORY MUSIC: "For the Healing of the Nation"
Women's Choir (UMH #428)
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD:
THE LORD'S PRAYER:
CLOSING HYMN: "Sent Out in Jesus' Name TFWS #2184
BENEDICTION: Go with commitment to do justice and in resistance to racism. Go in the power and freedom of God's love.
POSTLUDE: "Let There Be Light" UMH #440
The service was created from resources in the "Resources for Racial Justice: Tools for UMW Leaders" at
We Are One in Christ Jesus - Racial Justice Charter Skit (the Gloves)
This is a skit that I used when I chaired DELT, District Elected Leadership Training, for Louisiana Conference to highlight the Charter for Racial Justice.
I used gardening gloves from Dollar Tree, my favorite "everything is a dollar" variety store.
The skit is fun and effective. I hope that you will enjoy using it.
Rita M. Parham
Louisiana Conference, Baton Rouge District,
Women stand in front of the audience and hold their hands out as the reader tells the story and their hands act out the skit.
As members of United Methodist Women, we can be proud of those who have charted the way for us in many areas of social concern, who have committed themselves to follow Jesus Christ in work and deed, to struggle for the rights of every one of God's children.
The charter, which came out of years of struggle for justice, was an expression of our need to challenge our members and the whole church to confront racism and deal with it.
WE ARE ONE IN CHRIST JESUS
Once upon a time in a busy city, there lived a pair of bright YELLOW gloved hands. They were fun, intelligent and hard working. They could WIGGLE their FINGERS and say "O.K." They were good
citizens in their city. They were VERY FRIENDLY gloved hands and they liked people. They wanted to get to know other gloved hands, so they decided to go out and meet them.
When the YELLOW gloved hands saw the other gloved hands, they
REACHED OUT to them, but they were not very friendly. They thought that they were really weird looking since they weren't
PURPLE............ PINK............... or................. GREEN like them. They
certainly would not fit into their group!
They POINTED at them.......... and SHOOK THEIR FISTS at them. They
PULLED AWAY from them. "Bah - stupid yellow gloves," they said. "Get out of here! Ugh! Don't let them touch you. They'll poison us all! RUN! " The YELLOW gloved hands felt so terrible that they TURNED their BACK, SLUMPED DOWN & began to CRY!
The other gloved hands were certainly glad to get rid of them, but they wanted to make sure they didn't come back, because they were not their kind at all. They wanted to make that very clear. So they HUDDLED TOGETHER. They planned to beat them up and hurt them, so they would be sure to understand who was in charge here, and they would never return. They would be rid of them forever!
Silently and calmly they MOVED TOWARD the YELLOW gloved hands. Suddenly, they POUNCED on the unsuspecting YELLOW gloved hands with quick movements. With a LOUD BLOW and a wallop they POUNDED the poor yellow gloved hands. With a CLENCHED FIST they HIT them again and again. They KNOCKED them to the ground. When they got up, they KNOCKED them down again. In all the commotion and hassle, they PULLED THE YELLOW GLOVES right off their hands !
The PURPLE ........... PINK.......... and GREEN gloved hands were SO
SURPRISED at what happened that they PULLED BACK in utter shock! They LOOKED AT EACH OTHER. The PURPLE glove removed the PINK glove, the PINK glove removed the GREEN glove , and the GREEN glove took off the PURPLE glove. They LOOKED BACK at the
hands they had beaten............... why, they were all the same on the
inside! There was hardly any difference at all!
Gently and tenderly, the hands CAME TOGETHER as friends do. They
realized each one was OK.............. one of God's children................. a
part of the world. But most of all they needed each other. God had given each one gifts to be shared. They SHOOK HANDS and HUGGED and hoped that maybe their friendship would be an
inspiration to others............. and they might make a small difference in
a big world.
SAMPLE SERMON "HOW ARE WE RACED?"
by Sandy Meyer, TC District President
Please pray with me:
Lord, may the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in thy sight oh Lord, our strength and our redeemer.
[ YOU WILL WANT TO PUT YOUR PERSONAL GREETING HERE:]
Human rights for all people is one of the historic principles of United Methodist Women. God is the creator of all people of all races, and we are all God's children. Therefore opportunities for fellowship and service, personal growth and freedom in every aspect of life are inherent rights of everyone.
United Methodist Women has tried to build a community and social order without racial barriers. In 1941, the organization voted to hold meetings only in those places where all members could be entertained without any form of racial discrimination. In 1942, the organization relocated its national Assembly from St. Louis, Missouri to Columbus, Ohio, where one hotel would accommodate a racially integrated group. Things did change for the better and the UMW 2010 National Assembly WAS held in St. Louis, Missouri.
I AM PROUD TO BE A MEMBER OF AN ORGANIZATION THAT TOOK A STAND AGAINST INJUSTICE...AND I HOPE THAT AS AN INDIVIDUAL I TOO WILL HAVE THE COURAGE TO WORK FOR JUSTICE AS MY UMW SISTERS DID BEFORE ME.
In 1952, the organization adopted its first Charter for Racial Justice, modeled after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the world community in December 1948. The charter was updated in 1962. The Charter for Racial Justice Policies in an Interdependent Global Community was written by the Women's Division of the General Board of Global Ministries in 1978 and adopted by General Conference in 1980 upon the recommendation of the Division.
That's almost 40 years after a group of United Methodist Women took a stand against a racial injustice.
I AM PROUD TO BE A MEMBER OF AN ORGANIZATION WHICH WAS PERSISTENT IN IT'S BELIEF FOR RACIAL JUSTICE AND RECOMMENDED THAT THE ENTIRE CHURCH FOLLOW.
The Women's Division represents United Methodist Women, an organization of over one million members. The organization's purpose is to foster spiritual growth, develop leaders, and advocate for social justice. I AM PROUD TO BE A MEMBER OF AN ORGANIZATION WHICH raises more than $25 million a year for programs and projects related to women, children, and youth in the United States and in more than 100 countries around the world
More than twenty-five years after the Charter was adopted by General Conference and more than 50 years since its creation, United Methodist Women are actively exploring what the Charter means in today's world and how they can re-commit themselves to racial justice The organization conducts regular racial justice workshops with members, and works in coalition with human and civil rights groups to track hate-crimes and to promote racial justice in the United States and the world.
A little bit about the history of Racial Justice:
Racism is the belief that one race is innately superior to all other races. In the United States, this belief has justified the conquest, enslavement and evangelizing of non-Europeans. During the early history of this country, Europeans assumed their civilization and religion were innately superior to those of both the original inhabitants of the United States and the Africans who were forcefully brought to these shores to be slaves. The myth of European superiority persisted and persists.
I HAVE TO ADMIT HERE THAT I HAD A REALLY HARD TIME READING THIS AND DIGESTING IT. IT WAS PAINFUL FOR ME TO HEAR. ...I NEVER SAW MYSELF AS SUPERIOR...BUT I CAN SEE HOW NON-WHITES MIGHT PERCEIVE IT DIFFERENTLY. I NEVER FELT THAT WAY SO TO HEAR THESE WORDS WAS A STUMBLING BLOCK FOR ME - EVEN IN THE PREPARATION OF THIS MESSAGE TODAY.
Other people who came and who are still coming to the United States by choice or force encountered and encounter racism. Some of these people are the Chinese who built the railroads as indentured workers; the Mexicans whose lands were annexed; the Puerto Rican, the Cubans, the Hawaiians and the Eskimos who were colonized; and the Filipinos, the Jamaicans and the Haitians who live on starvation wages as farm workers.
In principle, the United States has outlawed racial discrimination but, in practice, little has changed. Social, economic and political institutions still discriminate, although some institutions have amended their behavior by eliminating obvious discriminatory practices and choosing their language carefully. The institutional church, despite sporadic attempts to the contrary, also still discriminates.
IT'S HARD TO HEAR, ISN'T IT? WE ARE PART OF THIS. IT IS HARD TO HEAR THIS!
The damage of years of exploitation has not been erased. A system designed to meet the needs of one segment of the population cannot be the means to the development of a just society for all.
The racist system in the United States today perpetuates the power and control of those of European ancestry. It is often called "white racism." The fruits of racism are prejudice, bigotry, discrimination, and dehumanization. Consistently, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders have been humiliated by being given inferior jobs, housing, education, medical services, transportation and public accommodation.
Racist presuppositions have been implicit in U.S. attitudes and policies toward Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. While proclaiming democracy, freedom and independence, the U.S. has been an ally and an accomplice to perpetuating inequality of the races and colonialism throughout the world.
AGAIN, HARD TO HEAR!
The history of The United Methodist Church and the history of the United States are intertwined. The "mission enterprise" of the churches in the United States and "westernization" went hand in hand, sustained in their belief of their superiority.
In the racial justice brochure it states:
We are conscious that "we have sinned as our ancestors did; we have been wicked and evil" (Psalm 106:6, Today's English Version). We are called for a renewed commitment to the elimination of institutional racism. We affirm the 1976 General Conference Statement on The United Methodist Church and Race, which states unequivocally: "By biblical and theological precept, by the law of the Church, by General Conference pronouncement, and by episcopal expression, the matter is clear. With respect to race, the aim of The United Methodist Church is nothing less than an inclusive church in an inclusive society. The United Methodist Church, therefore, calls upon all its people THAT'S ALL OF US! to perform those faithful deeds of love and justice in both the church and community that will bring this aim into reality."
IT'S BEEN IN WRITING FOR MANY YEARS-WE NEED TO START PRACTICING WHAT WE SAY!
I won't read the entire Charter for Racial Justice. I have a copy if you would like to read it [BE SURE TO HAVE SOME COPIES TO SHARE] or you can look online at General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church.
SKIP TO THE THEME OF THE MESSAGE TODAY "HOW ARE WE RACED"
A Charter for Racial Justice
ADOPTED BY THE 1980 GENERAL CONFERENCE OF THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Because We Believe
- that God is the Creator of all people and all are God's children in one family;
- that racism is a rejection of the teachings of Jesus Christ;
- that racism denies the redemption and reconciliation of Jesus Christ;
- that racism robs all human beings of their wholeness and is used as a justification for social, economic and political exploitation;
- that we must declare before God and before each other that we have sinned against our sisters and brothers of other races in thought, in word and in deed;
- that in our common humanity in creation all women and men are made in God's image and all persons are equally valuable in the sight of God;
- that our strength lies in our racial and cultural diversity and that we must work toward a world in which each person's value is respected and nurtured;
- that our struggle for justice must be based on new attitudes, new understandings and new relationships and must be reflected in the law, policies, structures and practices of both church and state;
WE COMMIT OURSELVES AS INDIVIDUALS AND AS A COMMUNITY TO FOLLOW JESUS CHRIST IN WORD AND IN DEED AND TO STRUGGLE FOR THE RIGHTS AND THE SELF-DETERMINATION OF EVERY PERSON AND GROUP OF PERSON. THEREFORE, AS UNITED METHODIST WOMEN IN EVERY PLACE ACROSS THE LAND...
UNITE OUR EFFORTS with all groups in The United Methodist Church
- to eliminate all forms of institutional racism in the total ministry of the church with special attention given to those institutions which we support, beginning with their employment policies, purchasing practices and availability of services and facilities.
- to create opportunities in local churches to deal honestly with the existing racist attitudes and social distance between members, deepening the Christian commitment to be the church where all racial groups and economic classes come together.
- to increase our efforts to recruit women of all races into the membership of United Methodist Women and provide leadership development opportunities without discrimination.
- to create workshops and seminars in local churches to study, understand and appreciate the historical and cultural contributions of each race to the church and community.
- to increase local churches, awareness of the continuing needs for equal education, housing, employment and medical care for all members of the community and create opportunities to work for these things across racial lines.
- to work for the development and implementation of national and international policies to protect the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of all people such as through support for the ratification of United Nations covenants on human rights.
- to support and participate in the world-wide struggle for liberation in the church and community.
- to support nomination and election processes which include all racial groups employing a quota system until the time that our voluntary performance makes such practice unnecessary.
The theme of the message today How Are We "Raced"? comes from a reflection for a Bible Study on Racial Justice by Lois M. Dauway, from the Section of Christian Social Responsibility, Women's Division, GBGM, UMC.
One of the issues we will explore is an intriguing question raised by Dr. Carolyn Johnson, a former Women's Division President. The question is "How were you 'raced'?" This means: How were you taught about whom you are and how that impacts your relationships with those around you - whether they are like or different from you? Dr. Johnson says:
"We really have to know our own personal stories of how we were raced-not only how we were r-a-i-s-e-d.
YOU WILL WANT TO INSERT A PERSONAL STORY HERE
BEGIN HERE AFTER PERSONAL STORY
So basically what I'm saying is that how you are raised and how you are raced are different...you have to think about in your own background...in your own life...what were your experiences growing up...what ideas were you given? What ideas are our children being given today as they watching television viewing movies and playing video games which put down women and minorities and are all so violent. It is very troubling to me that children are getting these messages.
So we have to ask ourselves which aspects of how we were raced are we going to correct or let go. Do we have the willingness to act when action is needed, even if we have to stand alone? IF I SEE AN INJUSTICE HAPPENING ARE WE COURAGEOUS ENOUGH TO TAKE A STAND? I HOPE I AM. IF PUT IN THAT POSITION AND I AM ALL ALONE, WITHOUT MY UMW SISTERS, WILL I HAVE THE COURAGE TO TO DO THAT? I HOPE SO! We have to continue to say that we will try to continue to discover and understand the complexities and the dynamics of racism. We have to continue to engage with each other around racism. We have to continue to learn."
Let's begin with a basic premise - if you were born in this country or if you immigrated/and have lived here for more than five minutes - you have been "raced".
Let me repeat: if you were born in this country or if you immigrated and have lived here for more than five minutes - you have been "raced".
Racial oppression in this country has occurred historically by the identification and treatment of some groups (i.e., African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans) as "less than." Sexism, ageism and classism are examples of additional forms of systemic oppression. That is, specific groups are systemically identified or treated as "less than" or "different from" because of their gender, age, sexual/affectional preference, and role or job status.
It is important to recognize that we are called to struggle against all forms of oppression. To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "None of us are free until all of us are free."
Are you familiar with the song from the play/movie, "South Pacific," "You Have To Be Carefully Taught?" Then you understand that we are "raced at an early age."
Charter for Racial Justice
South Pacific received scrutiny for its commentary regarding relationships between different races and ethnic groups. In particular, "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught" was subject to widespread criticism, judged by some to be too controversial or downright inappropriate for the musical stage. Sung by the character Lieutenant Cable, the song is preceded by a lyric saying racism is "not born in you! It happens after you're born..."
Rodgers and Hammerstein risked the entire South Pacific venture in light of legislative challenges to its decency or supposed Communist agenda. While on a tour of the Southern United States, lawmakers in Georgia introduced a bill outlawing entertainment containing "an underlying philosophy inspired by Moscow." One legislator said that "a song justifying interracial marriage was implicitly a threat to the American way of life." Rodgers and Hammerstein defended their work strongly. James Michener, upon whose stories South Pacific was based, recalled, "The authors replied stubbornly that this number represented why they had wanted to do this play, and that even if it meant the failure of the production, it was going to stay in."
LISTEN TO THE WORDS:
You've got to be taught
To hate and fear
You've got to be taught
From year to Year
It's got to be drummed
in your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught
You've got to be taught
To be Afraid
Of people whose eyes
are oddly made
And people whose skin
Is a different shade
You've got to be carefully taught
You've got to be taught
Before it's too late
Before you are 6 or 7 or 8
To hate all the people
your relatives hate
You've got to be carefully taught
WHAT A MESSAGE! WE NEED TO LISTEN TO THAT BECAUSE IT IS TRUE. BY OUR EXAMPLE, BY WHAT WE DO AND SAY AND BY OUR ACTIONS...OF WHAT MAGAZINES WE READ, WHAT TV WE ARE WATCHING...EVERYTHING WE DO WE ARE TEACHING OUR CHILDREN AND OUR CHILDREN ARE OUR FUTURE AND IF WE HOPE TO HAVE PEACE IN THE FUTURE WE NEED TO BE DOING IT RIGHT!
WE ARE ALL RACED DIFFERENTLY-FOR EXAMPLE:
Children of African descent, for example, are "raced" with a particular set of coping skills in order to maneuver their way around and past the barriers which society presents. NOW, I HAVEN'T WALKED IN THOSE SHOES, SO I DON'T UNDERSTAND THOSE BARRIERS BUT FROM TALKING WITH MY FRIENDS OF COLOR I KNOW THAT THEY ARE OUT THERE...I JUST HAVEN'T EXPERIENCED THEM. The coping skills for young Latina are different. As are those for Native American girls or a young immigrant from the Asian continent. Young White girls are also taught skills, "raced," for making it in society. THIS NEVER OCCURRED TO ME BEFORE. This may include privilege. THIS IS HARD TO HEAR. The point is that we are all developmentally impacted by issues of race in this country.
This information is acquired involuntarily at an early age through a conditioning process that is both emotionally painful and harmful. There are personal costs for all groups. This is not to say that the emotional experience of DIFFERENT groups are the same. It is not. However for everyone to empathize with the pain of oppression for target groups we have to reclaim our own ethnic background...understand where we came from and where we came up with the ideas that we have.
The challenge is not to compete with each other around the question of whose pain is deeper or more valid. We are committed to soothing the pain of all who hurt. It is counter-productive, and indeed, offensive to attempt to compare pain. Pain hurts -- that is enough to spur us to action.
Racism is the systemic oppression of people of color. It occurs at the individual, interpersonal, institutional and/or cultural level. It may be overt or covert, intentional or unintentional. Racism is different from racial prejudice,THIS IS SOMETHING I DIDN'T UNDERSTAND BEFORE IN MY SHELTERED LITTLE WORLD. IT'S DIFFERENT FROM hatred. IT'S DIFFERENT FROM discrimination. Racism involves having the power to carry out systemic discriminatory practices through the institutions of our society. IT'S HAVING THE POWER. THIS MEANS IN THE UNITED STATES THE GOVERNMENT HAS THE POWER TO MAKE A LOT OF DECISIONS FOR US. WE NEED TO BE SURE THAT OUR GOVERNMENT IS MAKING DECISIONS THAT MATCH OUR PERSONAL BELIEFS.
RACISM ISN'T REALLY NEW. IF YOU REMEMBER THE STORY OF DANIEL IN THE BIBLE-HE WAS RACED. HE WAS!
Jerusalem was conquered by the Babylonians. King Nebuchadnezzar commanded that "Israelites of the royal family and of nobility, young men without physical defect and handsome, versed in every branch of wisdom, endowed with knowledge and insight and competent to serve in the king's palace" be trained to serve the needs of the king. Daniel was such a man, and because he was an astute and forthright man, he began to rise up within the government structures. Daniel was a Jew. He was "raced" as a Jew. He was a person on the margin, but was "raised" as a person of privilege. DO YOU SEE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE RAISING AND THE RACING? Resenting Daniel's favored position within the structure; Babylonian bureaucrats became determined to get rid of him because he was not "one of them." They realized that it would be unwise to engage in overt anti-Jewish behavior and, therefore, plotted to use institutional procedures to eliminate their rival. They intentionally established policies and procedures that Daniel, a devout Jew, would be unable to comply with.
Then, they convinced the king to mandate that anyone who did not worship the golden idol, fashioned in the image of Nebuchadnezzar, would be thrown into the lion's den. Aware that Daniel would worship only his God (because that is how he had been "raced") his enemies knew that he inevitably would suffer the penalty for disobeying the king. No racial slurs were heard nor were "Babylonians Only" signs displayed. Simply, the structures of the times were in place to keep those who were different from assuming too much power.
THINK BACK TO OUR US HISTORY...HAS THIS HAPPENED? IT HAS HAPPENED!
I JUST WANTED TO BRING YOU SOME INFORMATION AND GET YOU THINKING...MAYBE IT'S TROUBLING YOU AS IT TROUBLED ME....JUST TO BE AWARE.
Thank you for your attention to the history lesson and willingness to open your hearts to think about how you were r-a-i-s-e-d. and how you were r-a-c-e-d. I hope you will continue to struggle with the question of how we are "r-a-c-e-d" and the implications of that for the future of our country and the world.