Saturday, December 6, 2008

Anti-Racism Conference

This weekend I've been attending a diocesan anti-racism conference called "Seeing the Face of God in Each Other: A Conference on Racial Reconciliation." Here's what the conference description says:

THE 2003 GENERAL CONVENTION OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH affirmed resolution A-010, which calls on the Church to continue anti-racism training and to reaffirm its "historic commitment to eradicate racial injustice in the Church and in secular society." This conference is designed not only to raise consciousness about racism, but also to offer active approaches to eliminate it in individuals, cultures, and institutions. Those encouraged to attend include clergy, vestry members, parish educators, youth workers, lay Eucharistic ministers, postulants, candidates for ordination, members of the Standing Committee, Commission on Ministry, Executive Committee, all diocesan committee members, and all who proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ.

I also note that the Diocese of Mississippi passed a resolution at Annual Council in 2006 reaffirming the Diocese's commitment to ending institutional and other forms of racism, and also requiring "all ordained persons, professional staff, and those elected or appointed to positions of leadership on committees, commissions, agencies and boards" to participate in this training. So it's a bit disappointing (but, frankly, not surprising) that so few people are attending.

It's difficult to summarize the experience of doing this kind of work. It's often insightful, but can also be painful (particularly when it comes to talking about white privilege).

One of the most powerful moments for me was watching the film "A Girl Like Me," and particularly the part in which the children choose between black and white dolls.

For me, this is painful and eye-opening.

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