Thank you Lifeway and Dr. Rainer

The following Facebook post is reposted here with permission.

a personal reflection By Andy Kim

When Rickshaw Rally came out in 2003, I was a freshman in college and had done very little thinking about race, ethnicity and stereotypes as it related to my faith. I had done (what I thought) was a great job of assimilating into white culture in both school and church contexts.

When freshman Andy heard about the VBS curriculum and the subsequent outcry, my first reaction is why are those Asians being so angry and outspoken? In other words, I didn’t want people to rock the boat and let’s keep the peace at all costs.

Since then, I’ve grown in understanding of my own family, my culture and my journey as a Korean American. During the journey, I’ve discovered old wounds I didn’t know I had, products of stereotypes, years of racism I experienced as a child and subtle ways I accepted how the media portrayed Asians and Asian men in particular.

I’ve learned in small steps how to use my voice to speak out when I felt offended, and also how to use my voice to speak out on behalf others as well. I’ve learned that in a real community, in a real family, God doesn’t want us to sweep things under the rug, but to deal with tough issues, even if it means rocking the boat. I’ve even rocked the boat myself a few times. Heck, I’m in a job now where boat-rocking is essentially in the job description.

And though I’ve grown so much, there is so much about my culture and background that I’m still wrestling with. I feel an inner tension about my Asianness and my Koreanness that leads me to both love and judge other Asian Americans. To aspire to be accepted by them and to keep them at arms length. There are still days where I hate that I’m so indirect, conflict avoidant, passive and I fit the mold of “typical asian guy” (whatever that means). There are also days, where I’m SO grateful that God made me exactly how he did. And other days there’s just ambiguity.

I felt all these thoughts watching this short video clip. But into the swirls of confusion and unanswered questions, I also felt an inexplicable sense of calm. I think that’s what an unqualified, sincere apology can do. It can bring calm into the inner storms that we don’t realize were there. A calm that is really hope creeping into the dark crevices of cynicism. A calm that gives way to possibility and dreaming about what the Church could be in this country and in our world.

It was a short video, a seemingly insignificant act. But it mattered to me. Thanks, Thom S. Rainer.

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‘Privilege’ Exercise – racial power differentials

Have students stand in a straight line (quite close together). Request that they hold hands with the person on either side of them for as long as possible and refrain from speaking during the exercise.

Privilege Exercise

If your ancestors were forced to come to the USA, not by choice, take one step back.

If your primary ethnic identity is American, take one step forward.

If you were ever called names because of your race, class, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, take one step back.

If there were people of color who worked in your household as servants, gardeners, etc., take one step forward.

If your parents were professional, doctors, lawyers, etc., take one step forward.

If you were raised in an area where there was prostitution, drug activity, etc. take one step back.

If you ever tried to change you appearance, mannerisms, or behavior to avoid being judged or ridiculed, take one step back.

If you studied the culture of your ancestors in elementary school, take one step forward.

If you went to a school speaking a language other than English, take one step back.

If there were more than 50 books in your house when you grew up, take one step forward.

If you ever had to skip a meal or were hungry because there was not enough money to buy food when you were growing up, take one step back.

If you were brought to art galleries or plays by your parents, take one step forward.

If one of your parents were unemployed or laid off, not by choice, take one step back.

If you attended a private school or summer camp, take one step forward.

If your family ever had to move because they could not afford the rent, take one step back.

If you were told that you were beautiful, smart, and capable by your parents, take one step forward.

If you were ever discouraged from academic or jobs because of race, class, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, take one step back.

If you were ever encouraged to attend a college by your parents, take one step forward.

If prior to age 18, you took a vacation out of the country, take one step forward.

If one of your parents did not complete high school, take one step back.

If your family owned your own house, take one step forward.

If you saw members of your race, ethnic group, gender, or sexual orientation were portrayed on television in degrading roles, take one step back.

If you were ever offered a good job because of your association with a friend or family member, take one step forward.

If you were ever denied employment because of your race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, take one step back.

If you were ever paid less, treated less fairly because of your race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, take one step back.

If you were ever accused of cheating or lying because of your race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, take one step back.

If you ever inherited money or property, take a step forward.

If you had to rely primarily on public transportation, take one step back.

If you were ever stopped or questioned by the police because of your race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, take one step back.

If you were ever afraid of violence because of your race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, take one step back.

If you were generally able to avoid places that were dangerous, take one step forward.

If you ever felt uncomfortable about a joke related to your race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, take one step back.

If you were ever a victim of violence related to your race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, take one step back.

If your parents did not grow up in the United States, take one step back.

If your parents told you that you could be anything you wanted to be, take one step forward.

Ask participants to remain where they are to look at their position in the room or space in relation to the positions of the other participants. Ask participants to pick someone from an opposite position with which to process the exercise.

Questions:

What are your thoughts and feelings about this exercise?

Were you surprised? Why?

If time permits or if relevant:

Would your placement have been different if the exercise included questions about disability or religion?

How could affirmative action impact these issues?

Take about 10 minutes for the pairs to process and then have them report back to the group as a whole.

via ‘Privilege’ Exercises

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack « Kasama

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack « Kasama

As far as I can tell, my African American coworkers, friends, and acquaintances with whom I come into daily or frequent contact in this particular time, place and line of work cannot count on most of these conditions.

1. I can, if I wish, arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.

2. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area that I can afford and in which I would want to live.

3. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.

4. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.

5. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.

6. When I am told about our national heritage or about civilization, I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.

7. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.

8. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.

9. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods that fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can deal with my hair.

10. Whether I use checks, credit cards, or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.

11. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.

12. I can swear, or dress in second-hand clothes or not answer letters without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty, or the illiteracy of my race.

13. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.

14. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.

15. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.

16. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color, who constitute the worlds’ majority, without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.

17. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.

18. I can be sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge” I will be facing a person of my race.

19. If a traffic cop pulls me over, or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race.

20. I can easily buy posters, postcards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.

21. I can go home from most meetings or organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in rather than isolated, out of place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance, or feared.

22. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having coworkers on the job suspect that I got it because of race.

23. I can choose public accommodations without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.

24. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help my race will not work against me.

25. If my day, week, or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it has racial overtones.

26. I can chose blemish cover or bandages in flesh color that more or less matches my skin.

Race Scholars at Rice » What is racism in the post-racial America of the 21st Century?

here are a few types of racism operating in the 21st Century and inchoate comments for each: (1) there is overt racism. Rev. Thompson’s decision to bring to vote whether or not to allow membership of multi-racial partners into their church is a perfect example of this. Think Bull Conner—He wasn’t racist, either!?! But even as Thompson’s claim, “I am not a racist,” is laughable to most (as it betrays its own proposition), he believes what he is saying. Then there is what I call (2) dispositional racism. Dispositional racism happens when I am viscerally more fearful of a black guy walking towards me on the sidewalk than occurs for his white counterpart (unfortunately, this is not merely hypothetical). And even as I, a race scholar, realize what is happening when it happens (fortunately, these instances are rare), I cannot do anything about it in that moment because the racism is physiologically and psychologically motivated. Not all racism is volitional nor can it be corrected in the moments when such dispositions emerge, though we wish that it could be. How to correct the embodied, racist dispositions of one’s habitus should constitute much antiracist work moving forward. Finally there is (3) institutional racism. Institutional racism is found in the extremely disproportionate numbers of black and brown individuals who face poverty, prison, death row, lack of adequate education or housing, etc., etc. Institutional racism is much discussed, but in my opinion there has been a failure from scholars to address the relationship between dispositional and institutional types of racism. When we find ways to offset dispositional racism, much institutional racism might be avoided. But it also seems necessary that scholars pay closer attention to other forms of oppression, like poverty and education level, because all of these factors shape the individual dispositions of legislators, judges, prison officials—and their victims.

via Race Scholars at Rice » What is racism in the post-racial America of the 21st Century?.

The Remarkable Racist Undercurrent to the Jeremy Lin Saga « The Curmudgeon’s Attic

For me, as a non-Asian-American, the chants of MVP at the Garden embody the ability of sport to transcend race, rather than accentuate a contrived racial, religious and educational (?) subtext.  Imagine, were there to arise a new white phenom in the NBA who had attended the University of Alabama and was devoted to an ecumenical view of God as not belonging to any particular theology (however improbable it all might seem), had I exclaimed, as a White-American and Alabama grad and ecumenicist how profoundly surreal it felt that one of my own—someone with whom I shared all my significant tribal markers—was being feted for the greatness of his ability and character.  After the scoffs and guffaws subsided, I would be dismissed as some racist crank.  But for Mr. Luo to do so is perfectly appropriate.  Disregard for the moment the curious affinity Mr. Luo feels towards Lin because of his religion (perhaps understandable, given the Christian compulsion to evangelizing) and his alma mater (which I’ve never, and will never, understand—how does attending the same university cause a tribal impulse of affinity to arise?), it is the racist portion that is of the greatest interest.  Mr. Luo’s comments as an Asian-American reveal the precarious state of racial relations in the US today, and has implications for how the US addresses challenges it will face in the international community going forward.

via The Remarkable Racist Undercurrent to the Jeremy Lin Saga « The Curmudgeon's Attic.

Whether intentional or not, ESPN’s since-deleted headline about Jeremy Lin was distressing | Ball Don’t Lie – Yahoo! Sports

The copy editors that OK’d this headline:

A since-deleted ESPN.com and ESPN Mobile screenshot, sadly. (Courtesy Gothamist)

… and the on-air copy whose work you’ll hear on video after the jump could have just been making a pair of mortifying, awful mistakes. Endless amounts of writers from all fields still use that phrase, and for those of us that only think about Lin’s ethnic background about once-in-whenever someone does something stupid, we have to go easy until we find out just who put the mistakes together. Knowing ESPN, though, we’ll never know, we’ll never find out their real intentions, and this will “go away” quicker than rumors of a potential human relations violation regarding the preparation of the gruel in 1930s Siberia.

Here’s the video, from ESPNNews on Wednesday. And while we can’t excuse this sort of phrase going through, think of the endless times you’ve heard it used on either 24-hour radio or 24-cable shows like these to describe a mitigating factor. Again, no excuse for someone on the floor not to raise a hackle and ask the anchor to switch his copy, but it could be an innocent, mortifying mistake:

via Whether intentional or not, ESPN’s since-deleted headline about Jeremy Lin was distressing | Ball Don't Lie – Yahoo! Sports.

ESPN Racist Jeremy Lin Headline: Network Apologizes For Insensitive Headline For Knicks Loss

The unexpected emergence of Jeremy Lin from the depths of the New York Knicks’ bench has been a dream for headline writers and just about everyone who loves puns. The “Linsanity” has spawned some Lincredible wordplay as well as some really unLinteresting phrases.

And, now, we may have found our most offensive headline from a mainstream media outlet.

Several hours after the Knicks’ Lin-spired winning streak was snapped by the New Orleans Hornets, ESPN ran the headline “Chink In The Armor” to accompany the game story on mobile devices. ESPN’s choice of words was extremely insensitive and offensive considering Lin’s Asian-American heritage. According to Brian Floyd at SB Nation, the headline appeared on the Scorecenter app. The offensive headline was quickly noticed, screen grabs, Twit pics and Instagrams were shared and it began circulating widely on Twitter.

The use of the word “chink” is especially galling as Lin has revealed that this racial slur was used to taunt him during his college playing career at Harvard. After a brief run, the headline was changed to “All Good Things..”

On Saturday morning a statement was posted on the ESPN Media Zone website by Kevin Ota, ESPN’s Director of Communications, Digital Media ESPN Communications.

Last night, ESPN.com’s mobile web site posted an offensive headline referencing Jeremy Lin at 2:30 am ET. The headline was removed at 3:05 am ET. We are conducting a complete review of our cross-platform editorial procedures and are determining appropriate disciplinary action to ensure this does not happen again. We regret and apologize for this mistake.

Ota also tweeted about the headline, noting the brief window of time that the headline was visible across mobile platforms.

@ESPNKevinO

Kevin Ota

Unfortunate headline concerning Jeremy Lin was up for 35 minutes on Mobile web only: http://t.co/zUGY3o9B

February 18, 2012 2:11 pm via web Reply Retweet Favorite

Perhaps most shocking is the fact that this headline has been used before. In August 2008, Deadspin called out ESPN for using nearly the same racially insensitive headline with a story about the U.S. men’s basketball team during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

While this may be the most egregious misstep by a major media outlet during Linsanity, ESPN’s racially offensive headline is hardly the first to draw negative attention. Earlier in the week, the New York Post splashed “AMASIAN” across its backpage after Lin’s game-winning shot in Toronto. In an attempt to riff on the Amazin’ Mets, the Post came under fire. After the Knicks’ comfortable victory of the Sacramento Kings, MSG Network showed a graphic with a cutout of Lin’s smiling face hovering over a cracked open fortune cookie. The accompanying text read “The Knicks Good Fortune.”

via ESPN Racist Jeremy Lin Headline: Network Apologizes For Insensitive Headline For Knicks Loss.