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A White Perspective

The legitimacy of a White person writing curriculum that teaches and interprets Black history, culture, and faith should be questioned.

     The important work Disrupting White Supremacy from Within  rightly notes that even though there is an overdue “moral urgency” for “white people taking on white supremacy,” emerging insights will likely be “flawed” unless undertaken along with Black “conversations and coalitions.” (27)  I agree.  As I write this curriculum, I have and will continue to invite Black leaders to review this project in part and whole, and to provide the necessary corrections and guidance. (I am grateful to so many of you who have already helped me along the way).   And I have tried as much as I know how to allow Black voices to tell their own histories, events, thoughts, and experiences of race, racism, and bias.

     At the same time, it is imperative for Whites to do the hard work of dismantling our own ethnic biases, prejudices, and racist attitudes and actions, and not place this burden on persons of color (which too often happens).  It seems reasonable, then, for a White person to ask predominantly White congregations to take this journey together toward reducing racial biases. 

     And then there is the biblical imperative that every person--regardless of color--has to step up and act justly.  Writer-director Tara Brooke Watkins says that after every performance of her play “Tulsa ’21:  Black Wall Street” she and her all-Black cast are asked about her being White.   The cast’s response is that the process and the product are what ultimately bestows legitimacy to a person, and not solely race or ethnicity.

     In light of this, I hold transparent both my process and my product.  I am grateful in advance for any challenges and corrections to this material--please contact me at any time.  Above all, my desire is to honor the victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot/Massacre and their descendants by actively confronting the racism and racial/ethnic biases I discover in myself and in the churches and communities I serve.  We must do better.