Thursday, August 20, 2009

Motor City Lessons: Racial Reconciliation II

Continued from part 1.

The questions and answers continue on a more personal note:

4. What has been the hardest part of the racial learning process so far?

When I was answer this question last week I wrote that "admitting that I am part of the problem" was most difficult. I have been brought up in a post-apartheid state where it seems racism is in the very air I breathe and water I drink, and I was unaware. I must begin to see myself as a racist, perhaps a recovering racist. It's like recovering from an addiction. Admit that there's a problem.

5. If I was just getting started learning about race and racial reconciliation, what are the top five pieces of advice you'd give me?

  1. Pray. Seek God. You will absolutely need him on this journey.
  2. Get in the Word. Find someone to study with you. Learn God's heart for racial diversity.
  3. Find a few people from both your race and other races with whom you can engage in real conversations about the difficult subject of race, racism, and reconciliation.
  4. Be honest with yourself about your own racism and ethnocentricity.
  5. Be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry. Be very slow to judge.
7. List some practical ideas for getting started as you return home. continue life in Detroit with new house mates.

  • Keep talking with people I've met here and learning from their wisdom.
  • Place myself under the spiritual authority of someone who doesn't look like me.
  • Get involved in the life of a younger black man as a mentor.
  • Connect to Detroit's poetry scene via open mics, etc.
  • Hang out with the old guys at the garage.
  • Read some more books, particularly to study some history of the civil rights movement (of which I've realized I'm largely ignorant).
6. What might be the costs / rewards for you as you continue to pursue racial reconciliation?

So, I was working through this sheet the day after my first experience of Cliff Bells open mic, while I still had the poetry wiggles. So, my answers for #6 are kind of poems, and thus get their own post...

Ah, suspense!

(And now you know why 7 came after 5)

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