Archive for February, 2010

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Where are all the white people?

February 27, 2010

A couple of years ago a white male student came to campus to start his graduate program. He was referred to me by someone who knew of my interest in anti-racism work. When we met he said, “Where are all the white people?”  What he meant was where are the white people working for racial justice on this campus? He had come from another university where white people engaged in that work were more visible. I found myself asking that question again today.

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How to do “whiteface”

February 27, 2010

We are rightly shocked when we hear of people doing blackface. For example: white students smearing dark makeup on their face to attend an offensive theme party. Blackface party

How aware and shocked are we at the ways people of color are encouraged to do “whiteface” through the use of whitening creams?

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Race is screaming to be set free

February 22, 2010

A  college student of color told me that people are confused about race and they don’t know what to do with that confusion. He noted the importance of raising awareness and said:

I think that there should be more discussion around race . . .  I think that race is screaming. It’s screaming because it’s jailed right now. Race is jailed. And I can hear how race is screaming to be set free.

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Staying silent or speaking out

February 20, 2010

There are times when I’ve observed racist behavior and stayed silent because of fear; fear of not saying the right thing, fear of misinterpreting something, fear of retaliation. Bystander response to racist actions tends to fall into one of three categories: I agree with the action and don’t think it’s racist or I know it’s wrong but don’t know how to respond or I know it’s wrong and I speak up.

I just viewed an enlightening video of an experiment done by ABC news to see how people would respond to blatant racist remarks and actions toward a Muslim woman.

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My white friend Alice

February 18, 2010

Often in the past I have described a colleague or friend by their race when talking about them – that is if they were a person of color and the person I was talking to was white.  It seemed perfectly normal to me to highlight the difference in skin tone; why it seemed perfectly normal is a question I have asked myself many times. I had never described a white friend by her race color until I played The Race Game. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Being an angry white woman

February 12, 2010

When I co-preach on race with my minister colleague, who is black,  I have deep emotion; racism makes me angry. However, as I often note to a predominantly white congregation, “It is unlikely that after our sermon, you will say about me, ‘Oh, she’s just another angry white woman’.”   Whereas my colleague, and other black women I have known, have multiple stories of being categorized as “an angry black woman” when they speak their truth.  Today, I write as an angry white woman. I had an encounter a few days ago that left me somewhat stunned and the anger continues to grow.

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Audacity of truth

February 9, 2010

I’ve been thinking about the audacity of truth. When I risk speaking a truth to myself that challenges the perceptions I have about me and how I operate in life, it often creates a disequilibrium. It’s a  place between the person I am and the person I am becoming. “Speaking truth to power” is an often used phrase for justice work. I’m exploring how that plays out when I speak  truth to the power that I personally hold.

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