Dialogue on White Privilege
by Rev. Barbara Currie
Some of you were present in October when the Rev. John Dorhauer, our new national President of the United Church of Christ came to Smith Church to discuss with us Black Lives Matter/ White Privilege. He has five initiatives for our denomination, and one of those is “Dialogue on White Privilege”. (For more information about Dorhauer's background, check Wikipedia.) What is exciting to me is his passion for justice. He has said that his theology is based on these two things: God is love, and God is Just. He says that “his entire ministry has been a response to the call to help recreate the church in the image of a God who shows no partiality.”
A little back story: Dorhauer grew up in St. Louis Missouri with his racist father. What his father taught him about race made him feel shame and disgust. “I live with a deep spiritual wound that occurred in early childhood, much of what I do is a need to heal that wound," He went on to major in White Privilege in his doctoral studies. In his initiative on White Privilege, he is “calling the church to open meaningful, substantive and safe dialogue on the dynamics of white privilege.” He expects the national UCC office to develop curricula for these dialogues by September 2016. I am thinking that would be a good time for our church to get back into regular group meetings on the topic.
Many of our younger generation grew up with Sesame Street and other programs with the teaching that race doesn't matter—we are just different. Today just as I believe we are all one, I also believe that race matters. Just let me name a few areas: rates of arrests and incarceration, risk of diseases, opportunities for a safe and healthy place to live, educational opportunities and so forth. I certainly long for that day when we in America as well as countries around the world will live in a society where race does not matter.
To close I want to share something I read and am not sure of the origins although it may be from lyrics from a group called Blacktivist:
Let's be clear, we said: BLACK LIVES MATTER
We NEVER said: ONLY BLACK LIVES MATTER
that was the media, not us
In truth, we Know that ALL LIVES MATTER
We've supporter your lives throughout history
Now we need your help with BLACK LIVES MATTER
For Black lives are in danger