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Since the release of the church essay on Race and the Priesthood and up to the recent Charleston shooting race has been a constant topic of discussion in online Mormonism, and in the wider culture. For many white members there is at least a tinge of collective guilt for the atrocious history of race in the Mormon church. The guilt can do one of two things, it can cause one to reflect on themselves and the ways their internal innate or culturally reinforced racism comes out and how it might be tamed, or it can push one to a defensive posture and become silent or further removed from the important, yet uncomfortable topic of race. I think more often we retreat to a “safe place” and talk about more pleasant topics rather than continuing to confront our own racism, and we need to do better than that. We need to confront this problem in ourselves. The goal of this episode is to provide a framework and some resources for us to do this deconstruction of privilege and get ourselves on a better trajectory aimed at equality.
Links mentioned in the discussion:
Op-ed: The ‘white privilege’ of my church does not extend to me
Freedmen’s Bureau Project: Connecting African Americans With Civil War–Era Ancestors
Funny video exposing microaggression
FMH podcast on microaggressions
I have an adopted son who was born to native Korean parents. He takes great pride in his Korean appearance, identity, and heritage. I really bristle when i hear academics (usually white, western-born to upper middle income white parents, with little-to-no actual life experience with diverse ethnic groups) use ridiculous terms like “microagression” to describe the very natural human tendency to attribute certain cultural and personal qualities to ethnic characteristics. Yes, this can lead to some negative stereotyping but it also is the basis for cultural identification that is enriching and fosters a healthy diversity.
Use of the term “microagression” is inherently racist. It postulates that simply noticing ethnic characteristics and making any assumptions about them leads to negative stereotyping. This is an inevitable conclusion only if one believes that the person noticing the racial characteristics is will assume their own racial identity to be superior. It is white guilt gone mad. Stop it.
I’m with you Mike. I couldn’t keep listening when I heard one of the women say that Oregon is an extremely racist state, and that white American children are all raised to be racist…. What???!!??
I feel like these academics have no idea what reality is. This woman says that Oregon is steeped in racism… Really? Then what do you call the south pre-civil rights? That’s what being steeped in racism is. Because little white girls think the dolls that look like them are prettier, doesn’t make them racist.
By talking about one place like Oregon having racist roots does not mean all other geographical locations like the south are exonerated. How does that make any sense at all? Seriously. The whole point of the discussion is to openly acknowledge the racism that we all swim in and work to remove it not pretend that it isn’t there. And as was explicitly stated racism is not a binary concept it is a spectrum. We fall on different positions on the spectrum and hopefully we get better.
Some clarifications for you:
Mica (pronounced “Meesha”) is black and is not an academic (yet).
Jerilyn: Lives in Oregon and is not an academic.
Brian: White and is a chemist. So, I would call him an academic
Me: I am half Guatemalan. I live in Oregon. I am not an academic
I think Jerilyn and I are very qualified to discuss the racism that exists in Oregon because we live in Oregon.
I’m not sure what your point is regarding what I said about Oregon? Sorry, I just didn’t quite grasp.
The lady said Oregon is still steeped in racism, and a very racist place in general. She also said that all American children are raised to be racists.
She also gave the example of being complemented on her articulate speech as an example of racism? Because the person offering the complement was surprised that a black woman could be articulate? That seems like a lot of wild speculation. A lot of these academic types look for race in every aspect of their lives, to the point where they start to sound a little looney.
Thanks for the clarification, although academics aren’t the only ppl who have these ideas about race, it often comes from such individuals. Regardless though, this wasn’t my overall point. I thought what Mica (I think it was Mica?) and others said about racism was ridiculous. The examples Mica cited were just silly and to insinuate that all Americans are raised (regardless of parents) to be racist is preposterous. And the idea that when little white girls think the doll that looks like them is prettier is some indication of racism is wild. Anyways, just my opinion. Dont mean do offend! Oh, and I’m from Oregon too.
It has been explained to me that the church and it’s members were and aren’t racist because to be racist you have to hate people of a different race.
I pointed out that racism is where you treat them differently because of their race.
No we have a different definition that requires proof of hatred, the same applies to any other discrimination.
When children of believing parents depart the faith I have never seen that relationship benefit from being relentlessly pursued on the matter.I am one of four sons, none of whom are ai0;pr2ct2cing” Catholics like our parents. I can’t imagine the pain that relentless pursuit of our return to the church would cause but it would probably make grandparenting difficult.Perhaps a dose of “I might be wrong” is called for? Certainly as a father I know my child is often my teacher too.