"So You Want to Talk About Race" - Week 2 Recap

Dear brothers and sisters,
(it just occurred to me how like the discipline Paul, that sounds; then you have to know that my middle name IS Paul!)
Here is the Week 2 installment of my notes on our discussion.
It’s worth noting for Kelly that there have been two supplements to the discussion:
(1) An article on slavery in the Quaker world sent out by Karen on Monday:
(2) An article the Joey Novick found regarding White Supremacy in Hunterdon County
Here is my very superficial synopsis of today’s discussion: as before, the addition of your views and any other highlights that were of significance to you are welcome.

So You Want to Talk About Race, Week Two: September 18

The group (18 people with two new attendees) gathered at the Flemington Jewish Community Center with Ms Karen Buys leading.

We started by reviewing population statistics.


[I am including here numbers not presented that I obtained from Wikipedia’s citation of the 2010 U.S. Census.

Karen asked us three key questions; as one might imagine there were many comments, views, opinions, and thoughts expressed.

1.     How often do you think about the color of your skin?

2.     How do you think race relations are now compared to in the past (like three years ago)? Better? Worse? The same?

3.     What are we (the white people in the class) doing with our privilege?

There was a discussion of when is a response a deflection of criticism and when can it be an opportunity to express empathy.

Some discussion centered on the Biblical story of Moses, the Hebrews, and the Egyptians. [Parenthetical note: there are no white people in the Bible.] Thinking of ourselves as Egyptians, how do we escape “the oppressor class?” The hard question was, “Can White people (in particular, White Men) change?” Saying “This isn’t us” is not enough. What actions can be taken to transform the system into one of abundance for all?

However, perhaps what is needed before action is contemplated is to immerse ourselves in what is truly “cringeworthy” in the system.

It appears that one ongoing result of our discussions will be the interaction between becoming aware and becoming uncomfortable; and that is a two-way street.

Awareness <—> Discomfort


Duncan Taylor