Friends General Conference

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How Do We Bring This Back to Our Meetings?

Image credit: Vanessa Julye
Challenging Racism

 

This resource is based on a discussion from March 13th, 2015, held in the FGC-sponsored Quaker hospitality room at this year's White Privilege Conference (WPC16). We hope you will use it to generate worthwhile discussions in your meeting. Names have been removed and replaced with pronouns, with the exception of WPC speaker Loretta Ross. 

“Nuggets” FGC attendees gained from WPC16:

  • The three layers of “Active listening” – we should be listening for feelings, facts, and human needs
  • How to talk to loved ones (especially those you are romantically involved with) and family of loved ones who disagree with you
  • How to strengthen her meeting and the work she’s doing in the Indigenous Peoples Concerns Committee
  • Realized she needs to be more aware of local issues
  • Found this quote reassuring “If one person in a community is not included, it’s not a community”
  • Realized that her White Caucus was very similar to her life in demographics
  • Learned about intersectionality, and realized it blinds people sometimes. Also realized how few Unitarian Universalist people there were at WPC.
  • Motivated to get New York Yearly Meeting (NYYM) to grapple with racism
  • Loretta Ross talked about our culture of consumption
  • Can’t judge a person by their appearance
  • While ambivalent at first about the conference, he is surprised and glad
  • People are triggered from their marginalized identities but respond from their dominant identities
  • An expanded (or narrower) definition of racism
  •  Mindfulness can be applied to achieve systemic change
  • All the –isms work together and disempower everyone
  • Using the model of tapestries to analyze oppression
  • Able to critically view Pendle Hill as an organization and is excited for transformation
  • Eager to bring his monthly meeting out of darkness
  • Mindfulness is a tool that can help her be aware of others’ emotions and the consequences of actions
  • Overwhelmed by antiracism, but also energized by Chris Crass and Loretta Ross
  • “I will ‘pitch’ the White Privilege Conference to my meeting ‘live’ and also in our monthly newsletter. I will also write a piece for SPARK, the NYYM monthly publication. I will encourage F/friends to plan to attend WPC in Philly, co-sponsored by us (NYYM - probably will be approved in April.)”
  • “How do I ‘call people in’ vs. ‘call people out’? There were several speakers who, each in their own way, talked about how systems of racism, oppression, white privilege are like a conveyor belt, it keeps moving along, a force that does not require us to do anything overtly racist to keep it going, it is a well-oiled machine, moving us along its path, unless we deliberately walk against it, work to dismantle the machine, break up the flow by speaking out, interrupting it when we see it, going against it. It was a really helpful image for me to understand the pervasiveness and steadiness of racial oppression and white systems of privileging, and helpful for alerting people to recognize that they don't need to be actively racist to still be caught up in its path.”

 

How can we bring this back to our meetings?

  •  Storytelling (our own stories and others’):
    • Write a report for the Monthly Meeting newsletter
    • Write an article for the press
    • As a traveling Friend
  • Start a discussion group, perhaps with a book like The New Jim Crow as a seed
  • Make a race-related discussion part of the Quarter meeting
  • Repeat events because the people who attend each event will vary, and stories will also be different as time progresses
  • Examine local untold history
  • Have a worship sharing session in Monthly Meeting, and have more than one session preferably
  • Reflect on the privilege you have staying in the meetinghouse at WPC and being Quaker
  • Review the structure of Yearly Meetings
  • Discuss what is Quaker culture and what is White culture
  • We (especially White people) should know our personal heritage
  • Do not limit discussions to White/Black, but include Asian American and Latino Americans
  • Host a Friends of Color Retreat (Click here for more information)
  • Tell FGC staff if there is something FGC can do to help you
  • Create a working group, like NYYM’s European American Quakers Working to End Racism
  • Recognize and respect others’ oppression
  • Tackle the “invisibility cloak” (whiteness is often seen as ‘normal’, which excludes people of color) so as to be more inviting
  • Host periodic gatherings of WPC attenders
  • Share unseen facts of white privilege – like redlining
  • Don’t re-invent the wheel. Use Google group to share with others what you have learned and to learn from others
  • Make discussions intergenerational

 

For more information, visit FGC's Ministry on Racism program website

A Friend Relfects on WPC16:

“How do I ‘call people in’ vs. ‘call people out’? There were several speakers who, each in their own way, talked about how systems of racism, oppression, white privilege are like a conveyor belt - it keeps moving along, a force that does not require us to do anything overtly racist to keep it going, it is a well-oiled machine, moving us along its path, unless we deliberately walk against it, work to dismantle the machine, break up the flow by speaking out, interrupting it when we see it, going against it.

It was a really helpful image for me to understand the pervasiveness and steadiness of racial oppression and white systems of privileging, and helpful for alerting people to recognize that they don't need to be actively racist to still be caught up in its path.”