Dominion in the Americas began in the 1400s when Nicholas V pronounced a Papal Bull giving Christian explorers dominion over all “discovered” lands and peoples who were not Christian. This encouraged the enslavement of all native, non-Christian peoples in Africa and the New Word. We reviewed a long list of legislative actions in the US, from the Separate-But-Equal Ruling in 1896 to the education of American Indian children, Chinese exclusion, Mexican Repatriation, the Japanese-American internment, and the GI Bill of 1944.
Racism cripples all of us. “White” people have internalized racial superiority, and “people of Color” have internalized racial oppression. Celebrating differences instead of being pitted against the other makes for a society that moves all in a positive direction. To change unjust systems, we must change traditional values to transformational values. Either/or thinking can become both/and, with a bias towards action. A worldview of abundance versus scarcity gets power shared rather than maintaining organizations. Exchanging another traditional value—the secrecy model—for transparent communication brings consensus to decision-making. And the traditional value of individual action, which fosters competition and kills creativity, needs to change to cooperative and collaborative models.
I came to realize the need for conversation in order to get beyond denial and move toward positive dialog and probably reparations. As Christian Americans seeking justice, we need to face up to our role in racism. Though I knew about our history of injustice, I still have not figured out how I personally can do much about it. This workshop helped me focus on the problem. Solutions are still not obvious to me other than dialog and reparations, including real action on equal rights to education and to the law. Somehow, we need to see similarities among people instead of differences. We are all equally loved by the Spirit and have the same Spirit in us.