Call to Confession: Week 1

Call to Confession: Race, White Privilege, and the Church

Photo Credit: David Wigger

Photo Credit: David Wigger

Week 1

Ginna CarouselI Am Racist and so is the Church: An Opening EditorialRev. Ginna Bairby

Yes, you read the title right. I am racist, and so is the majority-white denomination I serve, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). I’m not particularly happy to admit this about myself or my Church. True, I have never engaged in explicitly hateful actions based on a person’s race or ethnicity. But that’s not the whole definition of racism. My racism (and that of the Church) is of a subtler, more ‘socially acceptable’ flavor. Continue Reading

Race, Remembrance, and the New ChargeInterview with Dr. Gayraud S. Wilmore

Gayraud Wilmore - PHSGayraud Wilmore and Curtis Jones have worked together on several projects, including the Call for Unity and Diversity initiated by the National Black Presbyterian Caucus in 1995, an attempt to broad the discussion in the PCUSA from too narrow a focus on sexual orientation. The dialogue presented here took place at Ingleside at Rock Creek, A Presbyterian retirement community in northwest Washington, DC, in January 2002. Continue Reading

Alexis CarouselA Sharp White Background”: Towards an Intersectional ChurchAlexis Presseau Maloof

In Zora Neale Hurston’s 1928 essay, “How It Feels to Be Colored Like Me,” she writes about her lived experience as a black woman in the South. She talks about her racial awakening, describing it as “the day I become colored.” She uses many metaphors to talk about race, including calling herself a “brown paper bag” alongside other bags “white, red and yellow” and refers to God as “the Great Stuffer of Bags.” In a famous line in that essay she states: “I do not always feel colored…I feel most colored when I am thrown against a sharp white background.” Continue Reading

Why White Privilege Isn’t Going AwayRev. Dr. Marc Boswell

Marc Boswell CarouselWhy can’t white folks in general – and white Christians in particular – be rid of the problems of white privilege and racism? Why can’t a board, a vestry, a session, or pastors and Christian Educators simply do the things necessary to solve the problem of ‘race relations?’ When the dominant narrative among many white people is that racism mostly has been overcome, how do we even begin to consider the fact that whiteness and white privilege permeate our congregations and denominational institutions – even ones that consider themselves to be sensitive to and concerned about the plight of people of color? Continue Reading

Laura Cheifetz CarouselRace Gives Me Poetry, Rev. Laura Mariko Cheifetz

Racism kills. It dehumanizes us all, telling some of us we are less than human and rendering others of us incapable of having a decent conversation about it. It takes our best intentions and misshapes them beyond recognition; no matter what we do or what we mean to do, we move and breathe and live within laws and a cultural reality that is racist. But the one good thing racism has given me is Asian America. Continue Reading

Confession is the Start – Now Put Some Skin in the Game, Chris Burton

Chris Burton CarouselI have grown weary of liberal racism. I have grown especially weary of Christian liberal racism. White supremacy is insidious. It enables, sheds tears, and delays to deny. This sin is so exhausting. Much time is wasted explaining, returning to the scene of the crime. This country, for whatever good it’s worth, is foundationally white supremacist. It is in the air and the furniture. Sometimes I’m tempted to wash my hands and be done. Continue Reading

Melva Costen CarouselLiving History – Dr. Melva Costen, Interview by the Presbyterian Historical Society

Who could know that as soon as we were married, had our first child, and moved to Rocky Mount, NC, we would be thrust immediately into racism? The year was 1955, not too long ago. Martin King was already active, and when we were in Charlotte, we were in these Civil Rights sit-ins. We were college-level, we would sit in restaurants that would not serve us, but we didn’t walk out, sometimes until the end of the day. Continue Reading

See the full table of contents for this issue!

Leave a Reply