Dismantling Racism by Gillian

Dismantling Racism- It is not important until it is important to you personally.

The workshop, which we hosted at St Oz was a huge success! The Reverend Dave Price led the way, sporting a ‘Jesus was not White’ T-shirt in true ‘Dave fashion’. Despite our showing being limited to Reverend Miranda, myself and a pot of coffee (thanks Sheila), Holy Spirit Church and St George’s Churches had impressive numbers, and there were some from as far as Sechelt! Would you believe even a Lutheran (gasp) took part with us Anglicans!

The room blazed with kinship and purpose as we introduced ourselves, our home parishes, acknowledged our privileges and the indigenous land upon which we live and worship.

Powerful videos prompted questions, insights and sharing of personal stories throughout the day. Our engagement was so enlivening that many of us continued though our breaks- the day flew by so quickly.

We saw late and recent historical accounts of frank violence and injustice faced by minorities that continue presently. These of course
were disturbing.

Everyone agrees that these must be uprooted and stopped. I offered that these are but the obvious expressions of racism. More insidious, hidden and denied are the subtle ones that I shared with the group. The generalized lesser respect, the half- second less patience given at the customer service desk. The closed body postures and facial expressions. Hardly noticeable in one respect, yet so telling in another.

It is easy to think that racism is not present when there are no blatant demonstrations of it around us, and

therefore think that ‘it’s not my problem’. Racism is a world problem- a human problem. Systemic racism is what we swim around in everyday that becomes so embedded in us all (not just White people) that we don’t even see that it is there affecting us.

Our encouragement as Anglicans was to take our workshop experience back to our parishes and out to our greater communities of course. To have conversations, to share personal stories and to stand up to racism wherever we witness it.

The challenge for us all who are committed to dismantling Racism, is to raise awareness such that it is recognized and identified in the hidden places so that it becomes important to each of us personally. It is only when it becomes important to us personally that it will become important enough to participate in dismantling racism.