Growing in Love of God and Neighbor

Listen

Hello friends,

This week I have chosen to “Listen” as part of my Lenten Racial Equity Challenge.  We ‘hear’ many things over the course of our days, but how often do we actually ‘listen?’  I confess that I had heard fleeting references to the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 but until this summer, when I heard references to it during the protests that followed the death of George Floyd, I had not really listened.  I was prompted to read up on this not well known (to me) piece of history and it was chilling.  I chose to circle back on this incident during Lent and listened to On Point Radio’s interview with Tulsans about the 1921 ‘Black Wall Street’ massacre, and recent efforts to integrate this history into the Oklahoma education system (the link can be found on here:  https://www.eddiemoorejr.com/21daychallenge/#listen).  At 46 minutes long it does require a bit of an investment of time, but I found it well worth it.  Upon listening I fall firmly in the camp that this piece of history should be included in all states’ curricula, not just in Oklahoma.  If you listen, please share your thoughts.  What can we do to encourage knowledge of Black History in our schools and in our lives, not just during February’s Black History Month but all year long?

On a lighter note, also under the topic of ‘listening’ I thought I would share some of the music on my “Soundtrack for Justice” Spotify playlist.    I realize the many of songs on this playlist are upbeat, but I imagine I selected them to give me hope.

“Lean on Me” – Bill Withers
“The Times They are a Changin’” – Bob Dylan
“Love Train” – The O’Jays
“Wake Up Everybody” – Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes
“Change is Gonna Come” – Sam Cooke
“Put a Little Love In Your Heart” – Jackie DeShannon
“Rise Up” – Andra Day
“Peace Train” – Yusuf/Cat Stevens
“Changes” – David Bowie
‘Brave” – Sara Bareilles

What do you notice in your daily round?  Are you surprised by what you notice?  Are you inspired to make any changes, and if so what might you change?

6 Comments

  1. I have been watching, listening, and noticing more actively during the past weeks. Nothing earth-shattering, but sharing a few random thoughts.

    Visited the 21-day challenge site, watched Jaqueline Battalora’s clip that showed black young children about 5 years old saying that the white doll was the “pretty”, and “nice” doll, and the black doll was the “bad” doll. I had heard of this study, but it was still striking and sad to see it with the kids in the video. I do wonder if the kids were giving an answer they believed, or an answer that they thought was the expected “right” answer.

    Also watched Racism is Real, and was struck by the examples which illustrated side by side comparisons between black and white, in as balanced a comparison as could be construed. One example was sending out identical resumes, one with a black sounding name, the other with a white sounding name, and the resume with the white sound name got more responses. Again, very striking. There is not a level playing field unfortunately. I wonder what would happen if a resume with an Asian sounding name was sent out?

    When I went out to eat at a nice restaurant, noticed that there were no black customers, but there were non-white servers. But, then, we were the only Asians, and my child was the only child there. It’s a small data-set, but I will notice and be more aware in the future.

    Trying to be more aware and notice racial differences during this 21 day challenge.

    • Yes, Lisa – we pick up so many more details when we are intent upon noticing. It is worth noticing that we live in a racially diverse area (southern New Jersey/suburban Philadelphia) but do not always see much diversity in our daily round.

  2. I’ve been trying to listen for signs of change in white people’s self knowledge and acknowledgement of their own white privilege. Not hearing much. It is painful to admit that we may not have really pulled ourselves up by our own bootstraps, or achieved the American Dream by our own merits. If you were born white, you automatically begin life ahead of any people of color. And that applies to white people born into poverty as well as those born into more favorable circumstances.

    Wha a difference it might make if we heard a great chorus of white voices confessing privilege. If we each could admit that in our own heart, and before God, it would be a step towards racial reconciliation. Black folks have been speaking of injustice for centuries. Our privilege makes us deaf to their voices.

    I’m pretty sure I will have no real effect on shaping public policy. I can and do vote. But generally , I know, the only person I can change is me. Maybe if enough of us do that one little thing, admit our privilege, we will hear the words the Black community has been speaking to our deaf ears.

  3. To Sharon’s question of what we can do to increase knowledge of Black history in our schools – the textbooks and curricula really need to be rewritten. My children used the same textbook for AP US history that I used in high school 30 years earlier. I’m sure this more recent edition had some new additions to highlight Black history better, but the core narrative is still the same. I feel like we really need to start from scratch and teach US history from a multicultural viewpoint, rather than the European colonial viewpoint. I realize this is unlikely to happen, which is yet another example of structural racism. I feel very left-wing making this suggestion, but how else do we get around the lack of knowledge and understanding of the experiences of non-white people in this country?

    • I agree Nancy, and there is so much pushback to that. When I worked in a school, I would frequently hear comments during Black History Month or Women’s History Month “when is it White History Month?” I would sometimes respond “it has been white history millennia!”

  4. Yes, I agree with Nancy also that US history is taught from a European colonial viewpoint…

    Twenty years ago I attended a seminar where the audience consisted of parents who had adopted children from Korea and China. The parents were astonished at the racism that their kids experienced, as they were now seeing it first hand, up close, happening to someone in their families. They seemed to attribute it to racism against adopted Asian children. What they missed was that the racism their children experienced was also experienced by non-adopted Asian Americans. They just had never noticed it before.

    So appreciate to hear Biden call out harrassment of Asian Americans in his address to the nation last night and saying it must stop.

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