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MCC U.S. Anti-Racism Program charts course for future

Posted by Anti-Racism Program on February 3, 2011

Damascus Road Anti-Racism trainings to resume March 1; Damascus Road Anti-Racism Process to become independent organization.

By Ed Nyce

Feb. 3, 2011

AKRON, Pa. – The Anti-Racism Program (ARP) of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S. is resuming its Damascus Road Anti-Racism Process, a set of trainings that focuses on dismantling racism within churches and other Christian communities in the U.S. The trainings have been on a sabbatical since March 1, 2010.

During the one-year sabbatical, ARP staff and Damascus Road trainers (who are independent consultants) undertook to evaluate and renew the Damascus Road model, methods and procedures for training.

In addition, during a September 2010 meeting that echoed past discussions, ARP staff and trainers determined that it would be beneficial for Damascus Road, which is one component of the ARP, to form the foundation of an independent organization.

On November 6, 2010, the MCC U.S. Board of Directors took action to bless the Damascus Road program moving into a more independent mode and expressed gratitude for the work and ministry of the Damascus Road program and staff over the years. They directed staff to prepare a transition plan for their review.

A consultation in January brought together Damascus Road trainers with others who participate in the Damascus Road program to discern next steps. The gathering was a time of celebrating the past, examining the present and looking to the future.

Details for the transition to an independent organization are under discussion. Until the transition is complete, Damascus Road trainings will continue to be a function of the ARP.

In addition to Damascus Road, other MCC U.S. Anti-Racism Program areas of focus include consultation with church institutions on anti-racism and anti-oppression issues; audits, assessments and strategic planning support; and speaking, workshops and educational resources. It is anticipated that these will continue to be part of MCC’s ARP.

Churches, schools and other organizations wishing to schedule Damascus Road Anti-Racism Process trainings for as early as March 1, or any other ARP services for any time, are invited to contact ARP at antiracism@mcc.org. More information on ARP programming can be found at http://antiracism.mcc.org. A statement from Damascus Road trainers about the sabbatical and initial next steps can be found at http://drtransition.wordpress.com/.

– END –

Ed Nyce is media and education coordinator for MCC.

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Cultural Reflections on African American Religious Experience: A Forum of Emerging Thought

Posted by Anti-Racism Program on June 8, 2010

April 16-17, 2010
Lancaster Theological Seminary
Lancaster, PA.

– Michelle Armster

It has to be taken seriously that typical postcolonial identity can no longer be assumed to monolithic.  –Dr. Archie C. C. Lee

History and racism have been successful in drawing a box around the Black Church and African American (AfAm) religion. This ‘African American religion’ understanding is evidenced in the course listings of Universities and Seminaries. For instance, in the fall Drew University will offer The Study of African-American Religion; and the University of Chicago will offer African American Religion in the 20th Century. Both are considered progressive mainline seminaries, yet, I suggest, that the title of these courses perpetuates a monolithic understanding and a continued distillation into a Black Church and/or an African American religion. I would also like to add that I also looked at the fall course schedules for Princeton University, Goshen College, Lancaster Theological Seminary, Bluffton University, Howard University, Andover Newton Seminary, AMBS, Boston Univ., and Vanderbilt Univ. – none of the Mennonite institutions offered anything that would relate to Black Church or AfAm religion and only two of the remaining institutions are offering a course that would reflect the emerging thoughts in African American religious studies.

April 16-17, 2010, Lancaster Theological Seminary (LTS) hosted an unprecedented forum entitled Cultural Reflections on African American Religious Experience: A Forum of Emerging Thought. I attended 2/3 of the forum and continue to be wonderfully challenged and transformed by the trajectory that AfAm religious studies seems to be headed. This forum brought over ten emerging AfAm scholars to respond to issues of Youth and in particular, Black males; the cultural complexities as evidenced in the arts, popular culture and performance; and challenging the public face of Black Church and the Black religious experience.

In all honesty, I was so overwhelmed and moved that I took very few notes. After the first speaker, I decided that I would listen and experience the weekend. Consequently, the following is what I heard:

  • There has never been A Black Church or THE African American religious experience. From the beginning of the presence of persons of African descent on this continent and in this hemisphere, neither has been monolithic. The ecclesial and religious experiences were contingent upon the colonizing religious denomination and/or country. Coupled with what memories of religious expression survived the Middle Passage, religious experience, thought and practice reflected all those layers in a particular context. Therefore, a ‘Black Baptist’ expression in Virginia would look different from a ‘Black Baptist’ expression in South Carolina and neither would look like a ‘Black Catholic’ expression in Maryland. Adding to this is the reality that not all persons of African descent practiced a Christian religion. There is evidence of some who continued to practice indigenous African religions. Others may have attended church but would have also incorporated indigenous African religious thought into their understandings and practices.
  • The notion of Black Church and those who believe they can speak for the ‘Black Church’ and ‘AfAm religious experience’ need to be challenged in order to recognize the diversity that has always existed and be willing to engage in broader conversations with persons of African descent, whose religious experience have never fully been the ‘Black Church.’ Black Church and/or AfAm religious experience must be thought of as a lens. As Rev. Dr. Monica Coleman asserted, in her keynote address at the forum, “Black religion must contain the components of justice, community, liberation, breaking silences, educate, heal and have larger implications.”

So, what are the implications for anti- oppression work? One, we must continue to be conscious and conscientious of how we may use language or operate from assumptions that perpetuate the mendacity of a monolithic religion, people and/or church. Second, anti- oppression work should find ways to bring together disparate people, religious thoughts and expressions in order to ‘liberate… educate, heal and have larger implications.’ In her book, Making a Way Out of No Way, Rev. Dr. Monica A. Coleman emphasizes, “Today’s context challenges a womanist theology to address the religious pluralism within the black community.” I would also state that today’s context requires us, as anti- oppression activists, to acknowledge and address pluralism and to challenge the church- wherever we are churching- to embrace a postcolonial identity.

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WACAN Update: April 27

Posted by Anti-Racism Program on April 30, 2009

Current events and commentary links from WACAN for April 27 here.

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Race, Class, Gender, Faith & Nonprofit Funding Bias

Posted by Anti-Racism Program on April 30, 2009

From TechMission via UrbanMinistry.org

Race, Class, Gender, Faith & Nonprofit Funding Bias

What biases are there? Why should these issues be addressed?

This 30 minute presentation examines funding biases of nonprofits across race, class, gender and faith. Research shows that while 52.4% of those in poverty in the USA are people of color, only 16.5% of nonprofits are led by people of color, and only 3% of foundation funding goes toward organizations that are led by people of color.

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WACAN Update: April 15

Posted by Anti-Racism Program on April 17, 2009

The latest round of current events links from WACAN is available. Some of what I saw as highlights:

– Federal Reserve finds widening gap between wealth of white and black households.

– Oakland, California partiers learn about cultural appropriation first hand. (I found this an interesting case study on a reconciliation process that didn’t try to avoid increasing conflict or end happily singing kumbaya.)

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WACAN Update

Posted by Anti-Racism Program on April 3, 2009

The biweekly collection of links is available from WACAN with its usual summary of news and commentary realted to racism and resistance: US, Canada, international, collegiate, and a bunch of other stuff

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WACAN Update

Posted by Anti-Racism Program on March 9, 2009

Read the latest update from WACAN

The news summary includes links related to racism on campus, resistance, international racism news, stuff about the NYPost “chimp” cartoon, Eric Holder’s “nation of cowards” comment. As well as other current events and commentary links.

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WACAN Update: Containing history

Posted by Anti-Racism Program on February 19, 2009

WACANupdate

A fortnightly E-magazine, circulation 1,308

News and opinion of interest to the white anti-racist community
February 18, 2009

Send your links and comments to news stories, feature stories, event announcements, media reviews, announcements of publication; feedback; and other items of interest to news@wacan.org

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Containing history
by Jeff Hitchcock

Among Obama era adjustments, some have recently proposed retiring Black History Month, February. They suggest no replacement. I believe we continue to need Black History Month, and I personally enjoy the events of that month.

I also believe we need a white, or European American, history month. I know many will say every month is European American history month, but that fails to capture the sense of having a European American history month.

There is now a body of scholarly work on the racialized history of European American people sufficient to feed the curricula of every K-12 grade level for a month, year after year. Serious work has been done for every historical era since the creation of white identity, which some mark at different historical moments. All that is needed is translating this work into lesson plans and resource materials.

And maybe some form of entrance into and acceptance by K-12 educational settings. That’s what a European American history month might bring.

What else might be offered? Are we afraid white supremacists and their apologists will force a distorted history
to be told? The scholars, as always, are the ones we look to. They don’t offer many openings for an alternative, unstudied and racist view. True, such things are socially contested, but I believe society may warm to a sharing of historical truth.

An explicitly named European American history month locates whiteness and white American culture as a specific part of a multiracial society. In this way, it disrupts and renders problematic a universal and unspoken condition of omnipresent whiteness that is assumed when every day is a (unnamed) white history day, all year long.

Letters to the Editor
No letters since the last WACANupdate
Send letters
White Anti-racist Summit
The fifth White Anti-racist Summit will take place on Saturday, April 4, 2009 in Memphis, TN as part of the White Privilege Conference. You can register for both the summit and the entire White Privilege Conference at a special, low-cost rate of $175 if you take advantage of WACAN’s registration process. For details, go to www.wacan.org/summit.asp.
NEWS ITEMS
General news
American Indians outline priorities for Obama administration. In Canada, hundreds of Native women have gone missing, with hardly a stir among authorities. In Des Moines, Iowa, students of color hold steady while the white dropout rate increases. A Texas town remains troubled by a racialized murder (Article 1, Article 2), while Kirkwood, Missouri also tries to overcome a mass, and racialized, murder spree. Black judge in Mississippi reprimanded for dissing white folks. NAACP celebrates 100 years. It was founded as an interracial effort. Diversity officers in advertising firms hear it from all sides. A changing, multicultural market calls for changing approaches.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union in San Francisco has an anti-racist history, which is ongoing. Eddie Moore, Jr., diversity expert, talks about white privilege in Wisconsin. Art Munin speaks about white privilege in New Jersey. Former white supremacist speaks out. A Louisiana newspaper editor uncovers little known, unsolved Civil Rights era murders.

Racism
Arizona Sheriff stages mass immigrant “perp walk” and diverts attention from illegal activities in his department. Locking up immigrants has become big business. Aboriginal leaders accuse Canadian Broadcasting Corporation of allowing website readers to promote racism. Massachusetts governor thinks racism is still around. In Texas, DNA proves several black prisoners wrongly convicted. New GOP party chairman cleans house, simply by being black. NBA former great speaks frankly as insider to racist management. Did Chicago police make racist, anti-Obama calls? CVS accused of racist practice,
unlike Walgreens and Rite-Aid. San Francisco residents
complain of racial profiling.
White supremacists
Hate groups thrive in Florida. Anti-immigration groups have ties to white supremacists. U.S. Marine
and would-be-presidential-assassin not an
isolated problem. The military is a training ground for white supremacists. More Kool Aid, please. Ann Coulter says white supremacist group is not even racist. Wife shoots and kills husband, an abusive, dirty-bomb making neo-Nazi. PETA, please. They say if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…
Studies show…
Facial recognition training can reduce bias. Racial identity not always fixed, even in America. Prejudice costs black workers thousands of dollars in lost income. Skin color changes rapidly on evolutionary scale. More proof that “white anti-racist” is an oxymoron. But more than a third of the people in this ABC reality show (presumably many of whom were white) objected to bigotry in the moment. Race was not part of the study but the implications are there when 99% of emergency room physicians believe they have seen cases of excessive force used by police.
Campus watch
Colgate’s new Anti-Racism Coalition focuses on issues of white identity and white privilege. Hampshire College first U.S. school of higher education to divest from Israeli occupation. Mount Holyoke class of whiteness unfazed by listing as “Most Dangerous College Course.” Bethel University receives award for advancing racial harmony. New Virginia Tech tragedy invites criticism of diversity. Hamilton College professor describes how white Mississippi authorities in Civil Rights era blamed victims for violence. High Point University professor authors chapter on whiteness in scholarly anthology, Teaching Race in the 21st Century. University of Pennsylvania professor speaks on the hidden injuries of colorblindness. University of Illinois professor discusses “critical whiteness studies” and race in America. Villanova student admits to his own racism. Michigan high school insists on retaining Indian mascot name. Full blooded Navajo student describes life at Lee University in Tennessee.
International
The U.S. will participate in planning the April UN Conference on Racism, but will not say if it will attend.

Prince Harry gets remedial education for racist comments. More recently, the BBC dropped the daughter of Margaret Thatcher for using the term “golliwog.” The word “golliwog” is offensive to people of color and here’s why. The term has been around since 1895. London teacher denies making racist comments. Brit puts contract on black man, gets jail. British songwriter says cut your racist friends loose. West Midlands town cancels St. Georges Day parade that was infiltrated by “racist elements.” British police still racist, new report says. Anti-terrorist policies devastate families in Britain says another report. Britain now gaining experience in multiculturalism since the Salman Rushdie affair 20 years ago.

Brazilian woman in Switzerland made up story of racist attack. World soccer to address concerns at United Against Racism conference in March in Warsaw. Racist attacks on rise in Russia, President Medvedev says. South Africans protest a “whites-only” toilet at bus depot. U.S. born Caucasian to run for Taiwan parliament. Israel warns Australia off racism forum. White supremacists looking to live together in Australia.

HISTORY, HERITAGE & TRANSFORMATION
Black farmers continue to fight back against decades long discriminatory practices by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Local columnist describes segregation and integration in Indiana.

The Plessys and the Fergusons come together to commemorate a sad chapter in U.S. history.

Drake turns its back on (Louisville’s) racism in 1969.

The story of the last black legislator in the U.S. Congress following the Reconstruction era.

FAITH & RELIGION
BOOK: The Elusive Dream: The power of race in interracial churches.

White and black evangelicals live in different worlds.

A mixed-race traveler describes her experiences on the Sankofa journey through Civil Rights sites, sponsored by the Evangelical Covenant Church.

PEOPLE & LIFESTYLE
Maybe use of the “n-word” isn’t really your issue.

Man asks entire town for forgiveness for racism.

The complex life of Anatole Broyard and his family.

Some ins and outs of Asian-white interracial dating.

Hypersexuality of Asian women, minorities.

White American culture is General Tso’s chicken and chop suey.

ARTS, FASHION & ENTERTAINMENT
Variety reviews the play, White People, now in New York.

Memphis, a play of 1950s white-black romance, plays in Seattle.

London play tries to dissect race, but may die on the table.

Swarthmore senior writes and performs play about “the fine lines of race-relations from a specifically white ‘lens.’

“White girl from South Africa” performs work asking “Where do I fit in?”

Documentary film gives disturbing view of white McCain supports in recent campaign.

White Like Me, by Tim Wise leads to epiphany.

Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn get press on their new book about white supremacy. Ayers answers questions about his past, with a hint of whimsy.

Some recent white efforts in hip hop go in a new direction.

Fashion commits a faux pas.

West Virginia town puts on art contest about eliminating racism.

OPINION & ANALYSIS
Life is different for different folks,” by Steven Taylor-Roth. timesunion.com, February 12, 2009.

Obama, Race and the Future of U.S. Politics,” by Bob Wing. BlackCommentator.com, February 12, 2009.

That’s mighty white of you, Salma Hayek,” by Jasmyne A. Cannick. New America Media, February 12, 2009.

The importance of racial impact statements,” by Jorge Rivas. RaceWire: The Colorlines Blog, February 2,
2009.

White Americans too eager to think of themselves as under siege,” by Ruben Navarrette Jr. Contra Costa Times, January 29, 2009.

Not ready for the multiracial nation…
Navarette’s comments racist drivel,” by Judson Hughes. Contra Costa Times, February 4, 2009.

Multicultural educators ‘celebrate diversity’ in the age of Obama,” by Cooper Sterling. VDARE.com, February 9, 2009.

EVENTS
How to submit an event
February
20-22, 2009
Philadelphia, PA “Whites Confronting Racism” Workshop Training for Change
February
24, 2009
Plainfield, NJ “WACAN-NJ meeting” Monthly meeting of white anti-racist group WACAN
March
2, 2009
Denver, CO “Pedagogy of Privilege: Teaching, Learning,
& Praxis”
Call for papers, presentations, & workshops University of Colorado
March
13-15, 2009
Kansas City, MO “Building an anti-racism movement among
white Unitarian Universalists”
Annual conference Unitarian Universalist Allies for Racial
Equity
March
31, 2009
San Francisco, CA “The Anne Braden Anti-Racist Training
Program For White Social Justice Activists”
Applications due Catalyst Project
April
1-4, 2009
Memphis, TN “WPC10″ Conference White Privilege Conference
CLICK April 4, 2009 Memphis, TN “White Anti-racist Summit” Summit event Summit Coordinating Committee

WACANupdate, a bi-weekly e-magazine from the White Anti-racist Community Action Network (WACAN). WACAN is a project of the Center for the Study of White American Culture, Inc. For questions about WACAN, send email to admin@wacan.org. For more information about the Center for the Study of White American Culture, Inc. see www.euroamerican.org, or write to:
245 West 4th Avenue
Roselle, New Jersey 07203
United States

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