We all are broken by racismBy Nicole Bauman
Four Damascus Road anti-racism trainers led a group of 45 people in learning to dismantle racism Sept. 19-21 at Goshen College.
I was part of the group. We left the weekend feeling called to examine the impact racism has in our lives as well as to engage racist systems and the brokenness they leave behind.
Damascus Road is a program of Mennonite Central Committee designed to help people challenge white privilege and dismantle systemic racism.
The training began with naming the “icebergs” of racism that have been present throughout U.S. history. We also considered the “sea of resistance” that has constantly nudged and worn away at these icebergs.
Beginning with this iceberg metaphor, the training then worked through a learning process that began with an exploration of colonization and the scientific creation of “race” as we know it today.
This laid the foundation for defining racism and then naming and challenging white power and privilege.
In the words of the training manual, racism is “when one group in society uses power to enforce their racial prejudices over other groups in such a way that they receive more benefits and privileges while the other groups receive fewer benefits and privileges… . Racism is the systemic misuse of power expressed in access to and control of institutions — on the base of race.”
The learnings were especially poignant because an emphasis was made on personal story. Trainers shared their own experiences of racism, or of white privilege, as well as stories from their own anti-racism journeys.
We examined closely our own experiences of race and racism and our own awareness of being either white people or people of color.
This process is not easy. It requires serious personal examination. Bible studies and case studies were used to bring to life the presence of racism in our world, as well as offering hope for the journey based on strong Anabaptist roots in justice for all.
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