Wednesday, December 3, 2014

#Advent & #Ferguson III

This week I will post resources, articles, and my own thoughts relating to the events in Ferguson, MO and what it might mean for all of us in the USA and in Monroe.

Advent is a good time to take up the deep work of engaging racism and other issues that divide us. Advent is a time for waiting with hope. Christ was born in the midst of a divided and violent society.
What might racism look like today?  Interesting thoughts from a CNN article, The new threat: 'Racism without racists' By John Blake, November 27, 2014
In a classic study on race, psychologists staged an experiment with two photographs that produced a surprising result.

They showed people a photograph of two white men fighting, one unarmed and another holding a knife. Then they showed another photograph, this one of a white man with a knife fighting an unarmed African-American man.

When they asked people to identify the man who was armed in the first picture, most people picked the right one. Yet when they were asked the same question about the second photo, most people -- black and white -- incorrectly said the black man had the knife.

Even before the Ferguson grand jury's decision was announced, leaders were calling once again for a "national conversation on race." But here's why such conversations rarely go anywhere: Whites and racial minorities speak a different language when they talk about racism, scholars and psychologists say.

The knife fight experiment hints at the language gap. Some whites confine racism to intentional displays of racial hostility. It's the Ku Klux Klan, racial slurs in public, something "bad" that people do.

But for many racial minorities, that type of racism doesn't matter as much anymore, some scholars say. They talk more about the racism uncovered in the knife fight photos -- it doesn't wear a hood, but it causes unsuspecting people to see the world through a racially biased lens.

It's what one Duke University sociologist calls "racism without racists." Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, who's written a book by that title, says it's a new way of maintaining white domination in places like Ferguson.

"The main problem nowadays is not the folks with the hoods, but the folks dressed in suits," says Bonilla-Silva.
"The more we assume that the problem of racism is limited to the Klan, the birthers, the tea party or to the Republican Party, the less we understand that racial domination is a collective process and we are all in this game."
Read the whole article here. (includes discussion starters!)

One of the main issues, I believe, is centered around trust. Read this article and listen to The Rev. Canon Mike Kinman, and see if you agree:

Sen. Danforth Shares Perspective on Ferguson

Church Leader: Ferguson Is About All Of Us

A Prayer:

O God, who created all peoples in your image, we thank you
for the wonderful diversity of races and cultures in this world.
Enrich our lives by ever-widening circles of fellowship, and
show us your presence in those who differ most from us, until
our knowledge of your love is made perfect in our love for all
your children; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP p. 840)

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