A Discussion on "Living Into

God's Dream: Dismantling

Racism in America"

Join us as we read together, "Living Into God's Dream, Dismantling Racism in America." From Wednesday to Wednesday of each week we will be reading a new chapter of the book, and discussing the reading below. Finally, we will have a series of discussions with Dr. Catherine Meeks of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing to discuss how we can continue to Build Beloved Community together. 

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WEEK ONE: July 29-August 5, 2020

Chapter 1: Living Into God's Dream of Community by Luther E. Smith Jr.

Discussion Questions: 

1. "Racism persists because a large segment of the population benefits from it." Reflect upon this statement and list several ways you can see how segments of the population benefit from racism. How much thought have you given to this idea in the past?

A few reflections:

  • "Segments of the population benefit from racism through job hiring and promotions; education specifically public education; and ability to maintain a standard of life which includes access to healthcare, food and safety."

  • "Indians and their lands, the Irish/Chinese/Blacks jailed to get free Labor, the cost of not caring for all in taxes and change."

2. If the transformation of hearts alone will not undo racism, what will? What other elements are needed to succeed in this challenging world?

A few reflections:

  • "Regardless of some being invested in racism, OUR jobs NOW are to come out of inaction. 'Be the change you wish to see in the world" - M. Gandhi'"

  • "Systems that offer equal access to all. Interactions with others of different races outside of the workplace like church, clubs, teams. Get past relationships based on power dynamics. When is the last time a person of a different race visited you at home - to share a meal, coffee, etc? Being open and encouraging of our children to have relationships with people of different races. Be open to this ourselves. Speak out about anything in our systems that discourage the ability for diverse races to interact together."

 

WEEK TWO: August 5-12, 2020

Chapter 2: Dissecting Racism: Healing Minds, Cultivating Spirits

Discussion Questions: 

1. What were you told about members of different racial or ethnic groups? What kinds of comments were made about members of different racial or ethnic groups in your household? Were there any racial or ethnic slurs or compliments or was yours a household where race wasn’t discussed, but only hinted at or acted out in innuendo?

A few reflections:

  • "Race was very rarely discussed in my household. My family and extended family are all white and grew up in middle class households. While they would discuss racism with me if I directly asked, the actual systemic elements of it were never fully discussed. Furthermore, I often noticed that race was unnecessarily included in stories--if I was being told a story of an interaction my family had with a white person, race was never mentioned, but if with a person of color, it was absolutely mentioned. Oftentimes, the interaction had the POC as the butt of the joke."

 

2. Where did you learn about race in school--was it from textbooks or teachers and what exactly did you learn? How did this information form your attitudes or feelings about your own ethnic or racial group and those from other racial or ethnic groups?

A few reflections:​​

  • "Ironically, though I attended a historically black high school, I found my education to be incredibly white-washed. The school had been transformed into a magnet school in the 90s, and had a majority white population despite being a historically black high school in a diverse neighborhood. We learned many overly glorified versions of American history, oftentimes neglecting to discuss slavery, taking land from the natives, and much more."

 

WEEK THREE: August 12-19, 2020

Chapter 3: Why Is This Black Woman Still Talking About Race?

Discussion Questions: 

1. Do you have a story about a moment in your life that changes your viewpoint? If so, how did it change you?

2. Why is the idea of race as an illusion a difficult one for Black people to embrace?

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