at a glance





7 contributors participated in this conversation: 3 contributors self-identified as being on the left, 3 contributors self-identified as being left-leaning, and 1 contributor self-identified as being on the right.



Contributors were asked to self-identify where their views regarding Race in America fall on the political spectrum. They were also asked the following guiding questions*:


1) Tell us if you feel your race impacts your daily life; and if so, how?

2) What is a memory of race that informs how you navigate relationships where race is a factor?





perspectives



1


“My parents raised me to be Christian, fairly accepting of others, liberal, and well-educated. They also raised me in a highly segregated environment that rarely exposed me to people from different races and backgrounds. I became a Democrat likely because my parents were Democrats. And then I became more liberal the more education I received and after moving into a new community of academics at Harvard where I was exposed to more diversity…but still is highly segregated into people who think the same way. I was also raised to be judgmental of churches that preach politics from the pulpit. Since I worried that the church has such potential to misuse its power, to misinterpret what the scriptures are telling us to do in our politics, and because I thought that politics would divide congregations, I thought it best for the church to stay out of the topic. And I chose to attend churches that never advocated for policies or spoke on the topic of politics (although I also chose to attend churches whose policies reflected my politics, for example, attending churches that ordain women). Now, though, I believe churches should play a role in our political lives. I believe that Jesus calls us to advocate for the weak and to stand up for the oppressed. I think that this requires us to take political action, even at the risk that this may divide our congregations. The key will be for churches to build the capacity to engage in debate with one another to discern what God is calling us to do, and not to shy away from having these difficult conversations. I fear what happens instead is that people sort themselves into churches where people already agree on everything, so they aren’t advancing in political learning.” - Anonymous


"Coming from a predominantly mono-racial country, I experienced a lot of cultural, racial, and identity confusions when I first landed in a small liberal arts college in a predominantly white suburb in Philadelphia, not knowing which race or culture I should identify as. Moving to Boston for graduate school, I was able to feel more welcomed due to the diversity of cultures and races present here." - Anonymous


2


"My political opinion about race in America is rooted in my personal experiences. As a white woman, a Southerner, and a Christian, I enjoy numerous privileges and benefits for being white, such as a presumed sense of belonging (e.g., I don't get stopped at border crossings and I don't get asked "Where are you really from?") and competence (e.g. my accomplishments are often attributed to me and not to, say, affirmative action policies). God continues to reveal to me how my racial identity impacts my daily life and what I can do to bring about racial justice on a larger scale within my life, my church, and my community. " - Anonymous


"There is so much complexity, nuance, and beauty in people's different experiences with race. I look Asian-American but had a very different upbringing than friends and couldn't always relate to the stereotypical Asian-American experience. Knowing that there are many facets of race and identity that can be hidden from view pushes me to avoid making assumptions about others." - Anonymous


"As a White person, I have the privilege of not thinking a lot about how race impacts me on a daily basis. But because of the tension race has and is causing in our nation and, more specifically, because I have relationships with colleagues and friends of color, I do think about how racial tensions manifest in destructive ways in our nation. To me, understanding and lamenting the experiences of my friends of color is an important part of being a faithful witness of the Kingdom in the world. I have to choose intentionally to show up and to listen and learn from my brothers and sisters of color." - Gregg Detwiler


"My understanding and beliefs about race in America were naturally shaped by my family and the community I grew up in. It wasn't until I was placed in a situation where I got to deeply know people who came from very different backgrounds and had very different experiences with race that I was able to see where my understanding fell short and how I need to start with compassionate listening in order to better understand the true landscape of race in America." - Sarah Swickard


"As a child of immigrants, I've always wanted to belong. Growing up this often meant overlooking or dismissing my own racial identity. But I couldn't ignore the fact that people saw me and treated me as different. This was the beginning of my awareness of the factor that race has played in America. Racism is real. It is often not overt. But it is an idol that must be torn down. I believe that Jesus wants His people to be united in Him and to celebrate and value the diversity that He created." - Devra Dato-on



3


"I don’t generally think of my race as having a significant impact on my daily life, because I am a white man living among a primarily white demographic. I am very much aware of the racial issues in our country and am committed to finding a way to end racism. I am part of a church diocese that Includes 7 African congregations. I am not sure if there are racial issues, or if we just have cultural differences. We, the American white majority, are grateful to have our African brothers and sisters among us, and we have worked conscientiously to welcome the Africans into “our” church, including some key leadership positions. As we continue on in ministry together, I realize we still need to work on getting to the point that it's not just "our" church that they are joining, but that it's "all of our" church where we are leading and serving together." - Ross Kimball



4


"I grew up in a communist country and experienced racism in the form of economic class or disparities. I myself was also judgmental and a true racist when it comes down to viewing people of color or dealing with people with less economic status. After I came to the United States, I realized that the best way to fight racism is to know God and His beautiful creation." - Raymond Xie



5


"Being a Catholic and a new immigrant, I felt welcomed by my religious community and at work places, so I don't have very bad memories in terms of racism. I personally don't agree ONLY Black Lives Matter, I always believe All Lives Matter as we're equal in front of God. God created Adam in his image, but didn't say Adam was black, white, or yellow." - Anonymous


"Since I grew up colorblind, I was unaware of the struggles many diversified peoples went through. I still believe rules and laws should be colorblind even though there is a lot of racism/hate in our society. By making specific rules/laws for individuals based on diversity, I believe that in itself is a form of racism. Racism is always unacceptable! This is not to be confused with the celebration of cultures and diversity. This is why I lean libertarian in my political views." - David Wozniak



*Credits go to Living Room Conversations for some of the guiding questions used to form this library.