WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT RACE

An imaginary discussion amongst Christians

“We need to talk about race.”

“Do we? Why?”

“Who says we must?”

“Because Black Lives Matter.”

“But ALL lives matter, not just black lives.”

“What is race and racism anyway?”

“Isn’t it something to do with apartheid? We don’t have that problem in Britain.”

“Racism is having malicious intent towards those of colour, isn’t it?”

“Things are no longer bad like they used to be, are they? Even modern day slavery doesn’t affect just black people.”

“I’m colour blind. I don’t notice what a person’s colour is – everyone is basically the same and all matter.”

“As Christians, we are all the same. Doesn’t St Paul say that ‘In Christ, there is no Jew or Gentile, no male or female, no slave or freeman’?”

“We’re a very welcoming church, aren’t we?”

“Yes – and we even belong to the Inclusive Church Network.”

“What does inclusivity mean? How are we inclusive?”

“Most people in our church – in fact, in the whole of the Church of England – are white.”

“Why do we have so few black people in our church?”

“Perhaps it’s to do with culture. Black people prefer to worship with other black people don’t thay? What’s wrong with that?”

“I wonder why that is? Perhaps black people are different from white people after all?”

“It’s important to accept and respect differences – and let people do things in their own way if that makes them feel more comfortable.”

“But why are black people more comfortable worshipping with other black people and not in our white-majority church?”

“I guess it’s because of their different culture, isn’t it?”

“Or is it because of racism? Is multi-culturalism the same as racial equality – or is it different?”

“Maybe Black majority churches have grown ‘as a result of the need for black Christians to respond to their experience as an ‘ethnic minority’…… as a racially discriminated [against] and marginalized community.’”

“Listen. I’m here – or am I invisible? Do you have any idea what we black people experience every day of our lives? Do you know about our daily struggles ever since we were born? Do you know about how we are humiliated, excluded, patronised?”

“Do you know how much harder we black people have to work to get to the same place as white people?”

“Have you ever thought whether we are all starting off life from the same place? Is it really a level playing field? Or is there a hidden bias towards whiteness which we’ve never noticed?”

“I’ve never thought about what it feels like to be black in a white majority world.”

“How can we know what it feels like to be black, a person of colour?”

“I don’t want to hurt or upset black people by asking questions.”

“I think black people are over-sensitive anyway, and over-react when nothing negative is meant.”

“Why are black people here anyway? Perhaps they should return to where they come from.”

“Black people are from here – they belong in the UK.”

“Why don’t we ‘let sleeping dogs lie’ as long as there isn’t a real problem? It’s not like in the USA, is it?”

“Why don’t we try and understand what it is really like, and how it feels to be a black person in our church, in our town, in our region, in Britain? What are their experiences?”

“I saw a placard in one of the BLM protests in London which said, ‘The least racist person is still racist’.”

“Oh wow! That’s thought-provoking and very uncomfortable. I’ve never considered myself to be racist.”

“Are we willing to listen, and be challenged and change?”

“We must do so much more than ‘Talk about race’ although that’s a good place to start. But we mustn’t stop there and we mustn’t be side-tracked by culture.”

“It’s going to be very uncomfortable.”

“At the moment, there are more questions than answers!”

But doing nothing is no longer an option. Black Lives Matter!”

 “Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God – what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

This diagram is an adaptation of an original model by Dr Andrew Abrahim.

Here are some good books and documentaries which are worth reading and watching.

  1. “We need to talk about race” by Ben Lindsay
  2. “BRIT(ish) – on race, identity and belonging” by Afua Hirsch
  3. “How to be an antiracist” by Ibram Kendi
  4. “White Privilege – the myth of a post-racial society” by Kalwant Bhopal
  5. “White Fragility – why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism” by Robin Diangelo
  6. “White privilege Unmasked” by Judy Ryde
  7. “Natives – Race and class in the ruins of empire” by Akala
  8. “I’m still here – black dignity in a world made for whiteness” by Austin Channing Brown
  9. “Black and British – a forgotten history” by David Olusoga
You can also watch the following 10 programmes (on iPlayer and My5 catch-up):
  1. David Olusoga’s documentary series on BBC2 – “Black and British – a forgotten history”(https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/b082x0h6/black-and-british-a-forgotten-history) (4 programmes)
  2. “Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners” on BBC, also by David Olusoga https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/b063db18/britains-forgotten-slave-owners) (2 programmes)
  3. “Portillo’s Empire Journey” available on My5 (https://www.channel5.com/show/portillos-empire-journey/) (4 programmes)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adaptation of an original model Dr Andrew Abrahim

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