Everything I Know about Racism I Learned in the Church

During college, I volunteered for the youth ministry at a church. Every year at the volunteer Christmas party, the two white guys who worked for the ministry dressed up as “black guys from the hood” and performed an entirely unoriginal and unfunny skit that exploited negative black male stereotypes for laughs.  I remember looking around the room full of volunteers, seeing the delight in their eyes as they laughed loudly at the racist jokes. I also remember feeling discouraged that a predominantly-white group of Christians (who were supposedly my friends) were laughing at white guys impersonating black guys in extremely unflattering ways. When I asked the pastor (the staff guys’ boss) about the skit, he agreed that it was offensive. But he failed to confront the issue; the skit was performed every year for the multiple years that I served as a volunteer.

The church taught me that racism is acceptable as long as it’s carried out in pursuit of laughs.

 
“Everything I Know about Racism I Learned in the Church” by Christena Cleveland.  Be sure to read the entire post over at her blog. I’m looking forward to hearing from Christena at the Mosaix Conference in November.

Author: David Swanson

Pastor of New Community Covenant Church in Bronzeville. Collecting signs of life.

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