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Race & Ethnicity

Race & Ethnicity

A Post-Dallas Challenge for Religious Progressives: Staying On Message About Structural Racism

We progressive clergy types and theology professors say that we “get” all this. Well and good. But now, more than ever before, our teaching ministry is urgently needed in the public square. It must be an uncompromising and courageous ministry. No false equivalence between centuries of anti-Black police abuse and the actions of a single madman in Dallas. No mincing of words about the ongoing need to shake the very foundations of white supremacy.

Peter Laarman, Religion Dispatches

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"It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake."

July 10, 2016 | The easily-predicted meme of the moment coming from law enforcement officials and their many political allies is a threefold rebuke to the entire criminal justice reform movement—not just #BlackLivesMatter but all of us who consider fighting the mass criminalization of people of color (and the engineered economic immiseration of people of color—most specifically Black people) to be the nation’s most urgent unfinished business.

The three main “beats” of the post-Dallas pushback are these:

  • The police put their lives on the line every day for public safety and deserve appreciation and deep respect for that;
  • They have been horribly smeared by a handful of opportunistic Black radicals, but the silent majority rejects the smear;
  • They are decent and honorable people who should not be smeared on account of handful of rogue individuals who wear the badge.

Peter Laarman is a United Church of Christ minister and activist who recently retired as executive director of Progressive Christians Uniting in Los Angeles. He remains involved in numerous justice struggles, in particular a campaign known as Justice Not Jails that calls upon faith communities to critique and combat the system of racialized mass incarceration often referred to as The New Jim Crow.

Full story … 

11 Common Ways White Folks Avoid Taking Responsibility for Racism in the US

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  • A structural understanding recognizes racism as a default system that institutionalizes an unequal distribution of resources and power between white people and people of color. This system is historic, taken for granted, deeply embedded, and it works to the benefit of whites.
  • Related: From the Archives | The Bandwagon of Hate: America’s Cancer

Robin DiAngelo, AlterNet / Everyday Feminism

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http://everydayfeminism.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/iStock_000006868735_Medium-300x199.jpg August 31, 2015 | I am white.

I write and teach about what it means to be white in a society that proclaims race meaningless, yet remains deeply divided by race.

A fundamental, but very challenging part of my work is moving white people from an individual understanding of racism — i.e. only some people are racist and those people are bad — to a structural understanding.

Robin DiAngelo builds a foundation of understanding from the bottom up and really helps the reader to build a framework for racial literacy.

Full story … 

Related:

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Arend%20Van%20Dam%20%7C%20Racism%20in%20America.jpg  From the Archives | The Bandwagon of Hate: America’s Cancer, Odysseus Ward, Angry Humanist

So here I ask that each of us pull our heads out of those fluffy and, mostly white, clouds of privilege and see the world our choices have created. Stop supporting the status quo with silence and quick indictments of the disenfranchised. Stop changing the subject. Stop complaining about our hurt feelings. Stop listening to everyone except the people who are suffering. We either challenge the system and our long held perceptions of the people it harms or do nothing, and thus, contribute to the collapse.

From the Archives | The Bandwagon of Hate: America’s Cancer

http://cdn.billmoyers.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/takingaboutrace_606x154b.jpg

So here I ask that each of us pull our heads out of those fluffy and, mostly white, clouds of privilege and see the world our choices have created. Stop supporting the status quo with silence and quick indictments of the disenfranchised. Stop changing the subject. Stop complaining about our hurt feelings. Stop listening to everyone except the people who are suffering. We either challenge the system and our long held perceptions of the people it harms or do nothing, and thus, contribute to the collapse.

Odysseus Ward, Angry Humanist

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3rd December 2014 | This is an exercise in dismantling whiteness, white supremacy racism, race and the ideologies that create the socioeconomic disparities we see between people of color and their European counterparts. For this to work, you must read a lot, not just my whimsical ramblings but the many articles and studies I’ve linked throughout this document. Many of my perspectives come from the content of those works, but there is also a fair of amount of insight to be gained simply by existing within a nation that never really feels like home.

I have put great effort into coupling my opinions with historical references and other sound affirming data, but I am human; so there may be some mistakes here and there. I simply ask that you not dismiss the entirety of what is said for having read something perceived as wrong on your part or said in error on mine. I will, at times use sarcasm, humor, and dialogue to clarify a point, but I do these things not because this topic is in any way something to take lightly. They are tools to soften the blow for you, the reader, and me the bareknuckle writer. I am neither trying to draw blood or break my hand in the process of dropping some rather heavy accusations, facts, and opinions on some sleeping heads.

Full story … 

White Privilege: The Elephant in Minnesota's Living Room

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  • The reality is that those same marginalized communities that we are taught to demonize and pathologize over and over again do not have adequate access to political capital, social capital, or economic resources to reshape the systems that impact their lives.
  • Related: Yes They DO Hate Him Because He Is Black

Nekima Levy-Pounds, Minneapolis (MN) StarTrinune 

http://stmedia.startribune.com/images/610*425/rap072313a.jpgPhoto: Kristin Pelisek, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MCT

May 20, 2014 | Let me warn you up front. Many of the folks reading this blog post may not like what I have to say. But that's neither here nor there. I have to get this off my chest. I am tired of attending meetings and events in which folks are having conversations about equity and are delicately skirting around the issue of race. Hardly ever are notions of racial bias and discrimination and just "plain ole racism" part of the conversation. All too often, such issues remain at a surface level, which leads to very safe, comfortable dialogue that does not push us to address the real challenges that are hindering our progress as a state and reinforcing intolerable racial disparities. 

Society is still separate; still unequal.

Beyond that, many of these conversations about "equity" consist of white Minnesotans in the upper echelon talking to each other about issues that impact communities of color and yet there are often just one or two "representatives" in the room from those communities. Half the time, I'm one of those two representatives. And when I look around those rooms and observe a sea of predominately white faces, it occurs to me that the lack of diversity around those tables and the relative comfort levels of those in attendance reveals more than any fifty page study ever could about the true state of race relations in Minnesota. Sadly, it appears that 60 years after the landmark Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, our society is still separate and unequal and unwilling to change anytime soon. (If you don't believe me, please take time to travel to various neighborhoods throughout the Metro area and outstate Minnesota to see the levels of segregation and income inequality firsthand.)

Nekima Valdez Levy-Pounds is an American lawyer, professor, activist, writer, and preacher. She was elected in 2015 to be the president of the Minneapolis (MN) chapter of the NAACP.

Full story … 

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Yes They DO Hate Him Because He Is Black, Scandalous One, Daily Kos

Any fair observation of what has transpired over Obama’s two terms would reveal an undeniable racial component in the way Republicans have approached his presidency. 

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