Voices Working to Dismantle Racism and Promote Equity

In this series of our Sunday morning Adult Forum, we watched and then reflected on a series of talks by Bryan Stevenson, Robin DiAngelo, and Priya Vulchi and Winona Guo. You can view the videos and discussion prompts below.

Week 1: Bryan Stevenson
We Need to Talk About Injustice

1) What did Stevenson say that you found surprising, confusing, or convicting?

2) Stevenson connects the mind and the heart. How do you think that connection allows us to feel hope in the midst of “dark and difficult things?” How does our faith inform this?

3) Havel: Hope — “An orientation of the spirit…a willingness to sometimes be in hopeless places and be a witness.” Tell a story about how God oriented your spirit in this way.

4) We cannot be fully human until “we pay attention to suffering, to poverty, to exclusion, to unfairness, to injustice.” What about these things lessens our humanity?

5) When Stevenson identifies the “TED Community,” we can substitute “the Church.” What can the Church learn from Bryan’s wisdom?

6) “Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.” How does this help us understand the concept of “dignity?”

Week 2: Robin DiAngelo
Deconstructing White Privilege

1) DiAngelo draws a distinction between racism as “individual acts of discrimination and prejudice… and if you did those acts you were a bad person,” and racism as a “deeply embedded system” in American society, a “system of unequal power.” How do you see these two definitions operating in our society?

2) DiAngelo uses the example of women’s suffrage needing to be granted by men to explain unequal institutional power. What other examples can you think of?

3) DiAngelo: “I can live my whole life in segregation…and I could easily never have any consistent, ongoing, authentic relationships with people of color, and not one person who guided me ever conveyed that there was loss.” How does this reality impact your life?

4) “One of the most effective adaptations of racism since the Civil Rights era…is the Good/Bad binary” – that only bad people can be racist and if you’re a good person you can’t possibly be racist. How does this binary affect your interaction with racism?

5) Tell a story about the first time you realized that your race mattered for how you moved through the word. How old were you?

6) DiAngelo has made a lifelong commitment to do her very best to challenge the system of racism. How would your life change if you made a similar commitment?

Week 3: Priya Vulchi and Winona Guo
What it Takes to Be Racially Literate

1) “We want us all to imagine the community as a place where we not only feel proud of our own backgrounds, but can also invest in others’ experiences as if they were our own.” Share a story when another person’s racial experience has changed the way you look at the world

2) “You’d think after 12 years somebody in or out of the classroom would have helped us understand – at a basic level at least – the society we live in.” How would our education system need to change to address this deficiency?

3) “The Heart Gap: an inability to understand each of our experiences, to fiercely and unapologetically be compassionate beyond lip service.” How does compassion open us up to receive the experience of others without judging?

4) “The Mind Gap: an inability to understand the larger, systemic ways in which racism operates.” How does understanding of racist systems help you challenge them?

5) “Without investing in an education that values both the stories and statistics, the people and the numbers, the interpersonal and the systemic, there will always be a piece missing.” What piece is missing for you when you consider how God might be calling you dismantle racism and work for equal justice?

6) “We need to all work together to create a new national community, a new shared culture of mutual suffering and celebration. We need to each begin by learning in our own local communities, bridging the gaps between our own hearts and minds to become racially literate.” Reflect on the concept of the “melting pot” and how it differs from the vision these two young speakers are putting forth.

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