Podcast series like “Fighting Racism” cost several thousand dollars to produce. Although we’re looking for underwriters this time, I usually pay out-of-pocket to make them happen. It’s your support that brings projects like these to life. Please consider becoming a paid subscriber today.
In the academic study of history, much is made about history from the “bottom up.”
This is a reaction to a version of historical analysis that focused on the most recognizable and prominent leaders. It is referred to as the “great man” (and they were almost always men) approach to history.
History from the “bottom up” highlights the grassroots, the folk, and the masses. The people who did not have a lot of money, notoriety, or high stations in life, yet their actions sparked monumental changes in society.
Poor laborers during the Industrial Revolution helped usher in unions and workers’ rights. Sharecroppers and domestic workers stood at the forefront and bore the harshest reprisals during the Civil Rights movement. Victims of sexual abuse and violence blew the whistle on far more powerful figures in their churches and workplaces.
History has always been made by the courageous actions of everyday people, and that tradition continues with you.
Today is the last day to submit your story of fighting racism for our “Fighting Racism” podcast series.
I know you may not feel like you’re doing much or not doing it very well. That’s what makes you a good candidate for submission. You actively seek ways to improve your antiracist practices for the good of others.
So far we’ve received dozens of submissions—from a home educator working for a more inclusive curriculum, to a family that left their white church to join a Black church, to a teacher who teaches their high schoolers about mass incarceration, and so many more.
Your efforts to fight racism, on whatever scale, matter immensely to the people you serve and to others who learn about your story.
You can inspire people you’ve never even met to start or to keep going on the journey toward racial justice just by letting us know what you’re trying to do.
I especially want to encourage Black people and people of color to make a submission. Our daily survival is resistance. So we may not realize our own creativity and resilience in fighting racism. We need your stories, too.
People selected will also have their work featured in the Religion News Service as they do a written profile of the people and organizations we highlight.
This “Fighting Racism” series is a result of asking you what you’d like to hear about next. You wanted to learn how to fight racism from people just like you. Now is your opportunity.
Tell us your story.
I really appreciate these efforts and these stories. As someone whose goal it is to support these efforts and the people who are doing the work, one thing I do look for is how to be a support without getting in the way of the people who are doing the work.
A friend of mine wrote a book that has a great quote in it: “I held my tongue in the name of unity among believers, but they never held theirs.” (FAITH UNLEAVENED, by Tamice Spencer) One of the key things for me is that I try to speak out, even when it's uncomfortable to me, even if I must stop my friends in their tracks when they they are speaking harmful words, even when it could mean that people might be offended at my interruptions.
The work of The Witness is what has helped me to get to a place where I am comfortable with making myself uncomfortable. It was The Color of Compromise. It was How to Fight Racism. It was the seminars and meet-ups and conversations that I got to listen to as a podcast or see as a video. Y'all helped to get me to think better and then y'all helped me to push myself to do better.
Not to be the "good white guy." But to live out the meaning of my own life which is given in service to the uplifting and healing of people and societies.
We can't do everything. But we can do something.
I’m wondering if there is any headway to be made in trying to short circuit the spate of bills forbidding teaching about racism. All of these bills, in one way or another, speak about the topic making white children feel shame and/or guilt. I’ve been pushing back in my personal relationships by explaining that shame is most often a tool of the powerful against those with no power. Bosses use it to maintain control and keep their position, teachers/administrators use it against students (mostly students of color) they deem “unruly”, politicians use it to enrage a small portion of voters against the majority of voters, police certainly use it in their brutality against anyone not white, and sexual predators for sure use it against their victims. You can hear the fear in these bills, white patriarchy is terrified of losing it position as the pinnacle of America.
When not used as a tool to maintain power, shame/guilt functions as a mechanism of a healthy conscience to say “you were wrong, you caused pain”. I keep thinking about James Cone...perhaps a reckoning around this country’s history of racism is meant for healing and not punishment.