RePlacing Church 44: Dr. Caprice Hollins on How to Talk About Race


Dr. Caprice Hollins is the Co-Founder of Cultures Connecting, a consulting firm that helps leaders and organizations have conversations about race, culture and social justice. She is the Co-Author of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Strategies for Facilitating Conversations on Race and an Affiliate Professor at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. In this episode of the RePlacing Church Podcast, she joins me to discuss:

  • How embracing your own bias leads to freedom (10:30)
  • The one thing white people who are waking up to racial realities need to know about interacting with people of color (19:47)
  • Who the most challenging audience is when it comes to talking about race (23:24)
  • Why Christians have a hard time talking about race (26:17)
  • Four things white churches can do to combat racism (28:20)
  • Two cautions for millennials who care about racial inequality (32:30)
  • The one thing she wants to tell everyone about race (37:00)

*Originally posted at theV3movement.org

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Episode Song Credits: “Another Wrong to Right” by Mercir. “Closed” by Zadok Wartes. Used with Permission.

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Ben Katt explores church planting, leadership, spirituality, community, and social change to help people imagine, create, and lead neighborhood church expressions.

1 Comment

  1. Richie May 26, 2017 Reply

    Hi,

    I am not sure if this is the place to ask questions, but I have some important ones for myself. It might sound stupid, but I’ll try to explain.

    Question 1) Is stereotyping bad?

    I’ll give a story to help explain. I taught one of my good friends growing up how to skateboard. He fell so in love with skateboarding that he adopted the subculture of a skateboarder in that time overnight. He changed the way he dressed and talked. He would no longer rollerblade with us, his closest friends, because that was now uncool. We were both white Americans.

    Throughout my life, there have been so many subcultures that I see people join and leave. People want to be stereotyped. Not necessarily as it might hurt them, but they adopt a subculture because it helps them feel like other people will stereotype them as part of a community that is “like this,” and has values “like this.”

    Just as each human being wants to be seen as unique they also want to belong and to be a part of a community, and be a part of a community that is as unique as they themselves would like to be as an individual. I understand that their that tension in every person, to be unique and to be in unity.

    So when I identify someone as a part of their personally desired subculture, is that wrong? In many ways, I personally try to see through the exteriors into their heart, that is past the cultures and subcultures into the core desires, needs, and issues that the human race faces that transcend culture. But at the same time, the person wearing the Harley Davidson leather jacket, (usually) wants me to see how he/she identifies himself/herself.

    So is stereotyping like this wrong?

    Question 2: Who is to blame for being offended?

    My second question would be in regards to the one who is offended. Love is not easily offended. I have found myself offended by people often, and my personal journey toward becoming the kind of person who cannot be offended by anything a person might do or say. Jesus and Steven while they were being murdered, they were not offended, but prayed “Lord forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Deep love for the human race overcame the sinful nature’s ability to be offended at the injustice being dealt to them.

    So the question would be ethically, who is to blame for a person being offended? In particular, when the offender was acting out of goodness, but didn’t realize something they said would be offensive. Personally, I would say my answer is the offended person is in the wrong, for misjudging that a person who loves them would intend to offend them. I’m I wrong about this?

    Pragmatically though, I understand the need for someone to empathize with their weaker brother or sister in order to bring them to a place of maturity in no longer being offendable. Being sensitive to what one says or where the heart of their problem lies. The person who needs the healing however is the offended person, because the offender was acting in goodness. Although, being humble and apologizing, conversationally would be adviable for the offender, which is a practice I am usually game for.

    Allow me to write out my feelings or view for Dr. Hollins. I feel like my position as a white male millennial Christian who grew up with best friends from many ethnicities and married a non-white was perhaps not fully understood. Not that I am offended, or need to vent. But I would like to be corrected or rebuked, if I am in the wrong. Perhaps I have a plank in my eye, and I can’t see clearly enough to remove it myself.

    I simply reject the notion that I am racist because I am not. That doesn’t mean that I don’t offend people. I offend my own wife, when I fail to ask the mystery question she wanted me to ask. I apologize, and try to do better next time, but that doesn’t make me a chauvinist pig (racist against women). Calling me a racist because I offend is inaccurate and that is why I can’t accept that I am one. Calling me someone who offends people intentionally and unintentionally is something I can accept. I would say I intentionally offend people with no regard to their ethnicity.

    Plus, there is only one human race, so even the word “racist” is inaccurate. What people really don’t like is ethnicity or subculture. Personally, I like a lot about the black American subculture, some things I don’t like so much, not that every black American fits the stereotypical mold of that subculture. Nevertheless, there exists a general subculture that many black Americans would identify and/or identify with. There are subcultures within that major subculture that are radically different. Identifying subcultures is not wrong, and in my mind is the same as stereotyping, that is the process of finding what is similar between groups of individuals.

    When I hear about this conversation, it’s not that I don’t like feeling bad. I don’t feel bad. It feels like it would if my son when he grows up and stubs his toe, would come crying and wanting me to kiss his boo-boo. It’s fine, when he is a kid, but when he grows up it would indicate a serious emotional immaturity in my son. A lessor case would be like when my wife is irrationally mad at me, usually it is menstrual cycle related. The way I handle that is knowing that my wife is in the wrong, but she is emotionally weaker right now, so I let her vent, without being defensive. I’ll tell her I love her and move on. I don’t try to suppose that something I did was actually wrong, chances are it wasn’t my fault at all. My wife is just emotional and reading into things incorrectly. I don’t apologize or defend myself. She usually apologizes a week later when she realizes what she has done.

    I don’t think it is very helpful to tell a bunch of “white people” they are subconsciously racist because we make assumptions about a person based on outward appearances. People want to be stereotyped, and yet individualistic.

    Everybody has fears. I fear that I might suffer physical harm, or my wife will be raped, or my son abducted and forced into sex trafficking. I fear humans doing evil things. The problem is fear, not the potential for evil. Jesus taught that, “Who of us by worrying, can add a single day to our life? Therefore, do not worry.” It is the same fear of injustice happening to our children that grips the heart of every parent. it does not matter who or what that fear takes the shape of, fear or evil is a universal human experience. A fear that we must surrender lest it controls us.

    I am privileged because my parents loved me, stayed married, and worked hard for my benefit. That privilege is the blessing of my parents choosing good and not evil. Despite my blessings, I’ve been chased by a white man with a knife. I’ve been beaten up on a public street by a white gang and none of the white people stopped to help me. Whenever anything happened to my white neighbor’s property she assumed incorrectly that I had vandalized her property. The white police officers always give me traffic tickets, no matter what I say. I barely got any money for college and had to work manual labor overtime to help pay my way through college. But I can’t interpret the these events as racist, because I also am white. If I were black, I might have assumed my skin color was the reason for these things happening because of the worldview I adopted growing up. I’m not saying every black person is going to think this way, but many people think incorrectly that race has something to do with it because of the lense through which they see the world. Although, no doubt, skin color does play a part between some people.

    So if I pat the back of someone who feels hated, will they pat my back for being hated, or am I exempted from sympathy because of the color of my skin? Is the hate one person gets truly different then the hate another person gets? Or is hate just hate?

    I don’t mind accepting that hate is hate, and everyone needs to heal from that. I don’t mind black Americans feeling hated because of the color of their skin and not wanting to heal by spending time with white people. It is the same as a victim of human trafficking not healing as effectively by spending time with men at first. I have a problem with admitting to being racist, when I can’t see any evidence of it.

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