Karen Dingwall is a member of Robert McClure Church in Calgary and wrote the following reflection following attending the September 27-28th’s Intercultural Ministry Education Event in Edmonton. You’ll find more Intercultural Ministry Education Reflections here
Three learnings and/or experiences that stood out for me.
1. The potluck: multicultural = no casseroles
The potluck was a fun way to start what is a serious and challenging conference. It was a chance for everyone to show off their culture and sample other cultures at the same time. The food was excellent – not a casserole in sight!
2. The colour line – how stark
The colour line exercise really allowed us to see the hierarchical nature of society clearly. The lighter the colour of your skin the higher up the rankings you were placed. It’s a great way for people who don’t understand the concept of white privilege to experience it in a concrete way. The questions force you to think about how privilege is experienced – many people believe it to be an economic thing, so if you’re poor you don’t have white privilege. This exercise demonstrates how privilege is much more than economic in nature.
3. Harsh grace – Luke 19 – Zacchaeus the tax collector.
I enjoyed all of Dr Philip’s remarks but the section on harsh grace resonated with me. Speaking sharply with the oppressor to make sure they get the message – so they can come to true repentance and then transformation. Sometimes I feel that the people in the margins are expected to ask for justice in a way that doesn’t upset the oppressors or make them feel too awkward. White fragility is defined by Oxford Dictionary as Discomfort and defensiveness on the part of a white person when confronted by information about racial inequality and injustice.
To let in the light we need cracks in the walls – how do we get these cracks? By practising harsh grace and speaking the truth even if it hurts.