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Vital Conversations Series 1: Realities of Race and Racism

Produced by the General Commission on Religion and Race, this Vital Conversations video series features contemporary theologians, sociologists, laity, clergy and other thought-leaders dealing with challenges of race, culture and oppression in The United Methodist Church and the world today.

Deconstructing white privilege

Presenter: Robin DiAngelo is the author of White Fragility and What Does it Mean to Be White? Developing White Racial Literacy. She has been an anti-racist educator, and has heard justifications of racism by white men and women —what she calls “white fragility” – in her workshops for over two decades.

DiAngelo describes the most obvious and explicit aspects of racism and white privilege. Her video provides a foundation for understanding racism and white privilege for the remaining six videos in this series.

Ongoing acts of repentance with indigenous people

Presenter: The Rev. Glen Chebon Kernel is executive secretary of Native American and Indigenous Ministries for the General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church. Study Guide: G. Faye Wilson is minister of music and arts at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Quantico, Maryland. 

Kernell calls the church to participate more vigorously in ongoing acts of repentance, justice making and truth telling about the historical and continuing impact of racism, specifically on Native American and indigenous people.

Tearing down fences in Baltimore

Presenter: Now episcopal leader of the Western Pennsylvania Conference, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi was the district superintendent for the Baltimore Metropolitan District in the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference when this video was produced.

Moore-KoiKoi shares her experiences in the broader context of racial strife in Baltimore and challenges viewers to reach out and build relationships in their respective communities. She prophetically calls us to be sources of hope and redemption to communities in conflict.

The intersections of oppression

Presenter: The Rev. Pamela Lightsey is vice-president of academic and student affairs and an associate professor at Meadville Lombard Theological School. When the video was produced, she was an associate dean and assistant professor at Boston University’s School of Theology.

Lightsey addresses intersectionality, a concept describing the ways in which oppressive institutions (racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, etc.) are interconnected.

Meaningful conversations about race

Presenter: The Rev. David Anderson Hooker is part of the JustPeace staff collective. For more than 30 years, he has been a mediator, facilitator and community organizer focusing on environmental justice, post-riot racial reconciliation, community development, democratization and multiparty conflict resolution.

Hooker outlines elements that hinder and help fruitful dialogue on issues of race. Avoiding hard conversations about race short-circuits meaningful dialogue that bring transformation in our lives and across the United States.

Continued struggles in American race relations

Presenter: Philip Klinkner is a political scientist, blogger and author noted for his work on American politics, especially political parties and elections, race and American politics, and American political history. He is currently the James S. Sherman Professor of Government at Hamilton College

Klinkner confirms the vestiges of racism remain for many people of color. He argues that the advance of equality has been unsteady with brief periods of improvement and long stretches of stagnation and retreat.

This content is adapted from information about “Vital Conversations Series 1” originally published by the General Commission on Religion and Race.



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