White Fragility Book

Group Discussion

‘Wrap-Up’

October  2020

Since July 15, 20 Sand Point congregants have been meeting weekly, in two groups, to discuss White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism. Led by Bill Smith, the discussions have covered a lot of ground, ground that needs covering: racial inequality, Black Lives Matter, white privilege, white culture and dominance. The author, Robin DiAngelo, writes with passion and nuance, plus a sense of urgency - we seem to be at a turning point in the country, and only by understanding racism and our (white) role in it will we be able to change our culture. She says, "Interrupting racism takes courage and intentionality."

We have learned a lot in our reading and discussions, and some of the truths have been difficult to take in. We may think we aren't prejudiced, but "white people…are conditioned into a white supremacist worldview because it is the bedrock of our society and institutions." The socializing power of white supremacy is ubiquitous, and has "nothing to do with intentions, awareness, or agreement." We swim in a white ocean, so to speak, soaked in its norms, while at the same time we deny that we have racist "patterns." "White fragility" is the phrase DiAngelo uses to describe the defensiveness that white people have when their worldviews and positions are challenged, with the myriad phrases and tactics we use to derail and shut down discussion of racism and their role in the preservation of the status quo. What we need is to see what is all around us, that racism is the norm, not an aberration. 

What to do? Our two groups decided to keep meeting, because while we have finished the book, we haven't finished the work! We will pursue different avenues for pursuing racial equity and justice. In the coming months, the Sand Pointer will have a bibliography of books on racism, with some book reviews; we'll see what other churches are doing and perhaps partner with them; there will be monthly suggestions on actions we can take. 

 

William Wilberforce, the British abolitionist, said, "You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know."

 

We're in this together, now more than ever.

November 2020

We are beginning a list of books to read about the Black experience in

America, white supremacy, combatting racism and working for justice.

We’ll have more monthly. If anyone would like to talk over the

possibility of a group discussion about any of these, contact Bill Smith,

jayhawk@coastaccess.com or 206-554-1545.

 

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates:

Structured as a letter to Coates’s teenage son-- addressing matters of race at a time when young black men continue to die at the hands of police officers with disturbing regularity--T’s sprawling, discursive, angry, relevant, and lyrical. His MacArthur “genius” grant underscores his brilliance. A must-read for both the message and the writing.

 

White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American

Christianity by Robert P. Jones:

Jones delves deeply into our past and the whys and whens of

Christianity being coopted and corrupted. “Reckoning with white

supremacy, for us, is now an unavoidable moral choice.”  This is a

prophetic call to white Christians for deep reflection, repentance,

reconciliation and justice. A powerful book.

 

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo:

Ijeoma Oluo is persuasive, sympathetic, funny and very direct: “We have to tackle this problem with real action, and we will not know what needs to be done if we are not willing to talk about it.”

 

The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisby:

Tisby details how the American church has helped create and maintain

racist ideas and practices. You will be guided through concrete solutions for improved race relations and a racially inclusive church. Perfect for discussion groups, it’s being used now at University Presbyterian Church for an 8-week Zoom class.

 

Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson:

A provocative and deeply personal call for change. Dyson, an ordained

minister, argues that if we are to make real racial progress we must face

difficult truths, including being honest about how black grievance has

been ignored, dismissed, or discounted.

December 2020

We are beginning a list of books to read about the Black experience in

America, white supremacy, combatting racism and working for justice.

We’ll have more monthly. If anyone would like to talk over the

possibility of a group discussion about any of these, contact Bill Smith,

jayhawk@coastaccess.com or 206-554-1545.

 

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates:

Structured as a letter to Coates’s teenage son-- addressing matters of race at a time when young black men continue to die at the hands of police officers with disturbing regularity--T’s sprawling, discursive, angry, relevant, and lyrical. His MacArthur “genius” grant underscores his brilliance. A must-read for both the message and the writing.

 

White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American

Christianity by Robert P. Jones:

Jones delves deeply into our past and the whys and whens of

Christianity being coopted and corrupted. “Reckoning with white

supremacy, for us, is now an unavoidable moral choice.”  This is a

prophetic call to white Christians for deep reflection, repentance,

reconciliation and justice. A powerful book.

 

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo:

Ijeoma Oluo is persuasive, sympathetic, funny and very direct: “We have to tackle this problem with real action, and we will not know what needs to be done if we are not willing to talk about it.”

 

The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisby:

Tisby details how the American church has helped create and maintain

racist ideas and practices. You will be guided through concrete solutions for improved race relations and a racially inclusive church. Perfect for discussion groups, it’s being used now at University Presbyterian Church for an 8-week Zoom class.

 

Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson:

A provocative and deeply personal call for change. Dyson, an ordained

minister, argues that if we are to make real racial progress we must face

difficult truths, including being honest about how black grievance has

been ignored, dismissed, or discounted.

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