WJU Psychology professor Stephanie Caine joins Mark and Rex to discuss the idea of race as a social construct. The classification system based on skin color developed over the last four centuries is not grounded in biology or theology but rather was constructed in order to maintain a societal hierarchy. Thankfully, we can abolish those older categories and together write a new story.
Welcome to Jessup Think I’m your host, Mark Moore, and your co host, Rex Gurney. And Rex on the show today, we’re so excited to have one of our own psychology professors, Stephanie Caine has been with us just a few years now. But she teaches in the undergrad and our graduate level or master’s in counseling, right. And she’s on the show today to help us understand the idea of race as a social construct. The idea that race is not something that these classifications that have been given to race is not something that is God given. It’s not something that is etched in stone, but it’s something that society has created, and then placed on people, and then we’ve been living with that construct. And so we’re so excited to have Stephanie’s expertise on this, as we continue the conversation on race. And and we want to make that, you know, we want to keep this a part of the conversation.
It’s a priority. And not just for this podcast, but it’s a stated priority of our university. And we want to be, you know, part of this conversation. We don’t want to just, you know, let it sort of by osmosis or something just sort of die out because it’s uncomfortable. It’s important to keep to keep this in front of us. It really is.
Well, Stephanie, we’re so excited that you’re on the show. Another another person from the psychology department we’ve had, we’ve had a couple we had Richard Mollison, so awesome, Dr. Wallace. So excited to have you on and excited to continue our conversation about race. We’ve, you know, Rex and I looking at the podcast and looking over even at the summer, I’ve really wanted to make sure that that it is a priority. It’s a priority on campus for us. And it’s a priority for us to continue this conversation to help us think about it in a better way and a theological way, in a relational way. And to be to be better informed and in the conversation.
Right? We don’t want to let the conversation digest because it’s an uncomfortable one. It’s important, right? Relax with us. And so we’re trying to,
yeah, definitely. So excited to have you on. And today, I kinda wanted to look at race as a social construct. Like, if maybe with the conversations happening this summer, people may have heard that there’s some room in like, or you know, even into the phone, and like, I don’t know exactly what that means, right? So can you help us kind of put some framework on that, that idea of race as a social construct?
Sure. And you know, before we even jump into that, I just want to acknowledge what talking about race does to people will have different reactions, there’s some people who are excited about it, and you know, very knowledgeable and really want to contribute to the conversation. And you know, they can’t get enough of it. And then you have people in the middle who are not familiar with it, and, but they’re open to hearing more about it and learning more about it. And then you have people who really experienced discomfort with it. And as a result of the discomfort that they feel that there can be some defense mechanisms that come out. So there’s people in different areas of the spectrum with that I’m not going to shame anybody for where they are in the process, because it’s fluid, you can there’s going to be certain elements of, of talking about race that’s going to cause people who maybe were initially comfort, comfortable, uncomfortable. And then were people who were initially uncomfortable, comfortable, but I do want to acknowledge that for the people who are listening to this, if you are feeling uncomfortable, there is a you know, concept in counseling called cognitive dissonance, which is we have these belief systems all of us that have been set in us. But as we grow up, and and those belief systems are really important to us, and when we get information that conflicts with what we believe or what we were aware of, that we go into a state of tension, internal tension and conflict and it’s a stressful situation. And what our mind does to protect us is immediately get defensive. And so you you may want to say you may want to stop it, you may want to discredit the people who are talking about it, you may want to, you know, lash out in any way. But I urge you to move past the tension. And don’t embrace shame. just embrace an openness to hearing what information you’re getting here. So open to that.
No, that’s so good. I think that’s just such a good that’s a that’s a helpful place to start because Talking about race can be uncomfortable, right? And, and we have to realize like, Oh, yeah, and maybe take that moment to look back and say, Well, how does talking about race make me feel? And why am I feeling that way? Right. And
I actually think in this particular conversation, there’s like two sort of sources of discomfort to, to some of us as Christians. One is, you know, talking about race, and the other is talking about anything as a social construct a double whammy here with that, and so we’re actually doing both at the same time. So they’re trying to make everybody uncomfortable, there might be a lot of cognitive dissonance around arouse conversation, but it’s still such an important one to have.
It is it is, and there’s gonna be some things I’m going to bring up when we’re talking about race as a social construct, I am going to talk about American Christianity, and I’m going to specify it as American Christianity, which I’ll kind of dive into more. And then you can’t talk about race as a social construct without talking about whiteness without talking about slavery, because those are two very important elements that played a role in that, and talking about the role of the church in race and establishing race as a social construct. So all of these elements are going to be coming up next, because they all play together in that. At a very fundamental level, when we’re talking about race as a social construct, I want you to think about social society. So we have different people that make up a society. And, and people, human beings in our brains, we have a tendency to want to sort things and sort people. That’s just how it we store information in our brain. And so we use categories to sort things people, etc. and race as a social construct is sorting people using on the basis of race. Okay, so we’re talking about grouping people by race. So you maybe think, Okay, well, what’s the big deal with that? Well, what, there’s a lot of baggage behind that because of the motivation behind why people would be sorted by race. And what lasting effects has it made on different people who’ve been categorized in different ways. I’m going to specifically focus on blackness and whiteness, because that was the predominant. Those were the predominant groups that were being considered when we were when race as a social contract was first established. And it’s still a big part of the tension that exists not to say that there are not different racial groups and different ethnicities that have experienced tension and difference experiences. But I’m just saying that I’m going to specify and talk about race with in the black versus the white group subgroups.
I guess, just an example of expanding that out. I, I’m married to a Latina. And I had no idea that I was in a interracial marriage until we moved to another part of the country. And we would call it an interracial couple. And I was like, What? Nobody, where I’m from thinks that it wouldn’t even enter our minds. But yet, the category was there in this other, you know, part of the country. And this is just, you know, angle and I’m Latina. And so that’s already happened. That’s already happened.
Yeah. So when we talk about sorting, we got to talk about what what is the difference? And we’re talking about social construct. What’s another construct? That’s probably another question that comes up? When we talk about social construct, the other construct is the biological construct, that could be an aspect of it. And so that was something that was debated is when we were sorting people by race, are their biological differences. Could we say that race is a biological construct? Would you say? Are there biological differences between black people and white people? Well, the scientific community has studied that and found evidence that there’s actually more variations within racial groups within groups than there is between groups. Okay, so basically, there’s more genetic variations between me and a black person than there is between me and you guys. So there is not evidence to really show that there’s necessarily a biological element to constructing that, although there were some biological arguments you use to justify right behavior in the treatment of black people. Okay, but the scientific community has dispelled that, but they’re still beliefs with that,
okay. And that seems to be where maybe race as a social construct, moved from a social construct, to then saying, this social contract is actually a genetic or biological distinction. And carries these things. And and they’ve, they took this social construct from that and applied it then to the physical or the biological. Right,
right. And I think that that’s where people to this day struggle with that conversation, because when you look at visibly at Black people versus white people, what you notice immediately is that there are physical traits that are very distinguishing between the two. So it’s hard for you to think like, Okay, what is the big deal of separating them? We do look very much different, right? Yeah. Oh, what, what’s the problem with that, right, so. So that’s where we go that element. So I’m going to focus for a second on social construct aspect of it, but recognizing that there are some biological elements that played a role in the development or establishment of race as a social construct, okay. So it started probably around, maybe the 1600s or so it was several centuries ago, when, basically America was starting to establish their society. So you have these new people coming into this land, and they’re wanting to build it and make the land commercial, and, you know, just start commerce and start any economy and establish communities. And as they, as the people, Europeans entered the land, they realized that it was very difficult to really make the land useful to them, they struggled with it, obviously, they were indigenous people who were already in the land. And they were able to, they’ve been able to effectively, you know, use the land, who knows for how long beforehand it was their land. And so they did not struggle with that, but, but the Europeans did. And so they’re trying to figure out, what is a way that we can get the help that we need to really develop this land. And this is where African slaves came into play. So so then now you have these three groups, you have the European, white European group, you have indigenous people who were there, and then you have African slaves who were brought in for the purpose of working the land? Well, now here you have a society to a certain degree, because it’s a group of groups of people, but a different right. And so there was obviously tension between indigenous people and Europeans, because they’re coming into this land. And they, I, they labeled indigenous people as being savages to justify, you know, dispossession of land from them, and enslaving them as well and using them to, to further develop the society in the land. So what you saw is a development of a social caste system, where it was determined who is on top, who has the who is afforded the rights and privileges to have the right to the land, who has authority over the land and authority over how everybody else operates. And who gets to be in, you know, at the bottom or below below that. So what are we going to use to determine that? Well, the issue with indigenous people is, they were incredibly familiar with the land and very, and they’re very comfortable with the land. And so if they ran away, it would be hard to find them, right. Yeah, they can they know where to go.
They’d be I mean, that’s it, they’d survive, and they’d be gone, then you had, then you had to look at class. So there were people, you know, Europeans who had access to resources and funding to help them but then you had poor, very poor Europeans who did not have. Well, the problem with that is, if you enslaved your other Europeans, they could easily blend into European society, then, you know, you wouldn’t know who’s who, yeah. Because of their features. They’re right there. Oh, but you couldn’t tell? Well, when you look at the Africans will clearly there were very clear differences between the two, so you can identify them easily if they ran away. And they also brought incredible skills in farming and leather making, there’s a lot of skills that they brought that were really good, so they could be used. But here they were brought into this foreign land, foreign language, completely out of their culture. So completely unfamiliar to them. So they were the easy ones to put at the bottom of the social caste system. So here we go with the race as a social class, we start looking at Okay, who is it? We’re going to have a hierarchy here, who is going to be a top what we’re going to do to determine who was going to be on top and who would have access and then who would be underneath and underneath and that’s what we started seeing the development of Chatel slavery so You may be wondering, why am I bringing up slavery? Well, that was a big that was a motivation for creating race as a social construct, right? They had to justify enslaving people, and using them as property and using them for free forced labor. So they had to develop some sort of construct, to allow that to happen.
And that’s that, I think that that’s what always is, as I’ve been doing more research and study this summer. Like, that’s been the thing that’s been that blows me away that this whole thing was built merely on the idea that you have a different skin color, therefore, you’re going to be in this part of society and send it really mean the the American story really does show that sliding scale from form whiteness to blackness, right?
You also see that in is, this tends to be something that colonial societies tend to have in common. I know that in Latin America, they actually have an even more complicated sort of caste system. You know, if you are a Spanish born Spaniard, you’re above a pendant, American born Spaniard, and then down if you’re misty, so then below that, India, and then below that in black, then you start mixing Indian and black, and then you start it just goes on and on and on and on and, and pay people in place people and make very, very little social mobility out of that. Right system.
Right. And, and it also it really challenges. The, you know, beautiful story that we’ve been taught growing up about how America emerged, what was the prominent story that was told to us that it was these people that were fleeing religious persecution, and they were looking for an opportunity to be in a place where they can, you know, live in faith. And you know, it sounds beautiful, but really, when you hear really the motivation, which is not described Virginia, it just not subscribers.
It was it was money, it was how can we get this? How can we wire as much land as possible, make it usable, and develop an economic system without having to invest anything into it? So it’s free for slaves, that that’s what that was about? And it’s kind of hard to really go, Wow, it’s not necessarily this beautiful, flowery story of how, you know, our country was established.
Yeah. And it’s, and that’s, I think, the has been the hard part of the conversation and is the hard part for many people, but it’s, it’s a part of the conversation that we have to that we have to wrestle with, right? I mean, we almost have to be able to, to accept that cognitive dissonance, right? We have to be like, Okay, this, this is when you really look at the story, you’re like, that is a different story than what I was taught. And, and, and I’ve heard it explained this way, which I thought helped me a little, in the sense of, perhaps the good part of the American story is that America did start with ideals that are good. They just didn’t live up to those ideals, right? I mean, the idea of justice for all and that, that for all part was lacking, right? That and, but at least that had that ideal, so we can at least now begin to maybe build on that. But we but we have to be able to be honest, it doesn’t do us any good as a country as a society, to ignore that part of our history. And to gloss over it. And and just recognize this was a part of the story, how do we how do we change those things? Not just, hey, that’s not how it happened. Because that is that is what how it happened. And, and sadly, the church played a role in that as well.
They played a major role in establishing it as a as a racial construct. Because naturally, then being believers thought, Okay, what happens when Africans when indigenous people desire to know Christ, do we, you know, do we evangelize to them? And if we do, and they do accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, then are we saying that they are souls than they become like our brothers? And can we justify treating them as property and having them in lifetime slavery, forced labor, and torturing them? Because that’s what took place. Can we justify that if we do that, so that so that did come into question
as a live conversation in the colonial period. It really was about that. And in fact, if I’m not missing Taken, there actually was some in some of the colonial legislatures there was legislation passed that baptism by a slave does not change his status as a slave. And so do what you want, but it’s not going to make any difference in whether you are enslaved or not. Yeah, that those laws would not exist if folks weren’t concerned about the implications of that.
Yeah, yeah. And Christians were divided, you had, you had some who believed, you know, primarily in the north, you know, abolitionist who believe that you absolutely cannot enslave people. And that was their interpretation of the Bible, and very strongly believed that you had those in the south who believe that they were affirmed and supported. And, you know, with biblical scripture about slavery, that they could, in fact, do that, that there were people there we could, but then that was even that was split, because it was, well, we could but what we need to do is to sanction it just to create ways that we can treat slaves humanely, you know, so almost putting them in the position of looking at slaves, African slaves as being infant tile, and they in the position of being like a father figure, the head of the house of journalism, right, yeah. Trying to manage their, you know, quote, unquote, infantile behavior, mischievous kind of childlike behavior. So there was that, but its base. And then you had the others who just felt like, who really adopted this is where there was another force where we talked about a biological aspect to it, where, through the Enlightenment period from Europe that this, there were many, there were scientists who really developed some theories, making assumptions that African people were, in fact, biologically inferior, that there was something wrong with their brains that they did not know how to rationalize, they were in fact, so human. And, and people really adopted that idea. Because then if you thought of people as being subhuman, then you can really treat them any way you want. Right? you fast forward, it was even included in legislation where black people in America considered three fifths a human right. And the electoral college is what we used today, that was a driving force behind that there are still remnants in legislation today that we use of this social caste system. There. So um, and then, and so that was just a dominant force. And we got, we also have to understand that the level of depravity and cruelty with adopting that idea, it’s not just that black people were not given right then that they had to work long, and they were separated from their families. That is egregious as it is, right? When we were tortured, they were lynched. They, people would have parties and children, families would surround bodies had black bodies hanging from trees and take pictures and postcards. And you’d be able to send your family member that you could send your family members, people would keep fingers toes, like that there’s a story of a black woman who was pregnant with twins, and they hung her. And she was almost, you know, full term, and the baby started moving around in the stomach in her stomach, and they, they stopped on the baby step. It’s hard for me to say that for me to hear. But I think it’s important for people to know, this, this is what happened. This is this is the extent of race being used as a social construct and the motivation behind it. And it may make you angry and uncomfortable. But that is what happened. And also recognizing that when we talk about this, people experience it differently. So for I don’t want to speak for all black people, but I would say generally speaking, African Americans, this is it’s not just we’re hearing stories, these are stories of our ancestors and our great grandparents or, you know, great, great grandparents, it’s not that far off. So it’s, it’s very real to us, there are stories that have been passed down to us in our families about this in the way that we were raised, we’ve been raised to protect ourselves or remnants of lessons that were passed down from this social construct.
Yeah. And, and I think that, you know, that’s kind of I think, drives a current conversation because I think in in the, in the white community, there can often be this feeling of, well, I’m not racist, and I wasn’t those people. So why do I need to keep talking about this? Right? Yeah. And and I think that your point is I think is a very powerful one. Because if this was our, and maybe on our side on the on the white community side, that that maybe the mindset should be our ancestors who did do these things that’s not also very far off in history either. I mean, the the same, the same people who passed and enforced Jim Crow laws even in the 60s are still alive today. Yeah, alive. So it’s not like this is hundreds of years ago, and we’ve somehow completely moved No, that that is still and so. Um, but maybe Yeah, how would you? How would you talk to someone Stephanie, who was saying, like, you know, maybe if a student at adjustive was like, Hey, that was that was a problem in the past? Why do I, why do I have to talk about it? Now? Why do we, you know, why do we have to be, you know, harping on this issue right. Now, what would what would you be your advice there?
There’s a few things I would want to say about it. I would say number one, all of us who who’ve been educated in the American system, education system, specifically in social studies, have been misinformed. And under informed. Yeah, completely. There are so many stories, so many accounts that historicity historians have written many books about, that many of us have never some of the things that I’ve shared right now in this podcast, and that some people have heard have never heard this ever in their lives. And it is the story of America. So you have to ask yourself, why did I not know this? Right? I mean, I was wrestling with this, because I did not know this.
Yeah. I mean, it took me 42 years of life on the planet Earth. Before I heard about the Tulsa massacre in 1922. Right? How did that never come up in school?
Right. Um, and so we just, you know, we have to accept that first of all, you were there’s new information, you’re just learning now. Yeah. So it’s not like, you know, we have been over the years had the opportunity to process what has happened. We’re starting now with all of this information that you have learned all this information, I knew I did not learn from school, I, I myself, started reading books written by historians and doing research because I had a curiosity for. So I educated myself, I’m educating my children outside of school, because the information is just not fair. So there’s, so there’s that that I offer, as of grace to say, you didn’t know. So you have to know now, it’s your responsibility to know because the information that we were given, really gives a misconception and is misleading about what our country is and what our country is about, and how can we truly say we love our country, if we don’t have the right information about our country, it’s like when you’re in a relationship with somebody, and they tell you, they’re, they’re in love with you. But if you know that, there’s a lot of stuff about you that they don’t know, it’s hard for you to really embrace that love, right? Like, it’s like, I don’t think you I don’t know, if you really love me until you know everything about me or certain things about me. So if you truly want to establish and embrace a love of your country and a love of your ethnicity as an American, then you have to understand everything that happened in America. Now, that doesn’t mean you’re going to love those things. But you see it for what it is. And yeah, at least know about it. So there’s that aspect of it. And for those who go, I didn’t do it. You’re right, you didn’t do it. But you have this beautiful opportunity to start a new story. See, it’s been centuries of legislation policies that have been absorbed into the American system that has prevented black people from experiencing upward mobility in the social caste system. And it’s not just at slavery, we can move, we can fast forward to the 1930s with the New Deal, where, you know, these were opportunities and programs that were specifically given to white people so that they can experience some economic growth and expansion, that black people had no access to that, in fact, not only do they not have access to but we’re even harmful to them because they were not able to access employment in the same way. And then we can fast forward to the 50s and 60s and we could talk about, you know, in the 50s there was this push to to help white people have homes, you know, because we know that wealth is very much tied to land ownership and property ownership and black people are not so now when I talk about 50 In 60s, I’m talking about some of our parents now, right? Like I’m getting really close to home, we’re not talking about. So now we’re talking about your grandparents and your parents now. So there are opportunities that parents and grandparents have had access to that have afforded them the opportunity to, to provide you with inheritance, maybe fund opportunities that you have, you don’t have to be ashamed of that. But recognizing that there’s literally a whole other group of people that were strategically and intentionally and legally kept from having the same access. So you go, well, what’s my story? No, you can’t undo what was done before you. But you can set a new path to make things right, for the next generations ahead. And you can be part of that new story you can you can write a new, beautiful American story. And my question would be to them would be, don’t you want to be a part of that?
Right? collaborative thing instead of instead of a guilt rendering thing and
why it happened, right? Get the information so you can know about it, so you can be informed about it. So it can help you understand and plan, what role can I play to create a different path? I want what the history book opens to 2020 or 2021, I want there to be a new story. And I want to tell my children and grandchildren, I was part of this new story. So my question then would be Do you want to be a part of that?
Yeah, that’s such a great question. And I mean, and that is, I think that’s been the driving force. For me kind of this summer, that is I want to be a part of this new story. Like I don’t, I don’t want to look back in history and be like, oh, there, he missed it again. Right, or? Yeah, that’s where the church missed it again, you know, because one of the things for me, like I, this summer started, then looking at, well, how did the church in the 50s, and 60s respond to King and some of those things that are so praise now? And it’s like, ah, they know, well? And so how do we, yeah, how do we have? How can we be a part of that new story now. And I think one of them is, is is starting to understand this, this idea of race. And this classification, this caste system that was created is, even if even if we would denounce it today, it still is, is a part of that underlying fabric. And it weaves in just psychologically into our lives. And so we make those we have those biases, or we make those decisions. Because this, this construct has been given to us. And so we make a judgement when we see someone of a different skin color. And we have in our mind, there’s already a category, where they go, and part of that new story is, is is creating different categories, right, and maybe erasing those categories,
right. That’s the beauty of the human brain is neuroplasticity, we can create new paths, we can add new information, we can change our thinking, no matter our age, we can do that. And we can, you know, go in a new direction if we’re willing to do the work if we’re willing to acquire the new information. And we live in this amazing age of technology where you can access information from reputable sources. Within seconds, you know, you can go to the website of the Smithsonian Museum of African immune African American Museum, and there’s all of this information, short videos, everything that you need to know you can sit there and and learn years of history that you didn’t get you can learn it in 30 minutes have an overview of a survey? Yeah, the direction you do have that opportunity doesn’t take too much effort. It just takes your will to do that. You know, when we talk about, you know, when you mentioned about, you know, the remnants that are still today from that ideology. It was hundreds of years ago that Bacon’s Rebellion took place, which seems like a small rebellion. But that’s when a time when poor white people and black people who were enslaved actually were together, because they were working hard on the land. And there was a huge desire to acquire land, and the major planters and the owners were, you know, there was an unfair system where they had the opportunity to continue to acquire land, while the poor white people and bad people were the ones working. So they got together and put a rebellion together to fight against that. Well, the result of that is the plant has realized that you know what, we’ve got to establish a construct, we have to establish a system to separate these two, because it’s not safe for us if we have them together. So they started establishing rules and policies and laws that prevented white people and black people from interacting. And so that started the separation. So you go Okay, well, what does that have to do with today? Well, let’s be honest about our neighbors. That’s where we grew up. Yeah, let’s be honest about our so if you look around and you ask yourself, you were my top five best friends, then that related to, you’re honest about that. Think about where you live or where you grew up. I bet you know which street or which town has the predominantly black community predominant Brian brown community versus the predominantly white community, right? Like we still see that. And that was a result of that which also transferred into redlining, which happened around the 50s and 60s which prevented which created, quote, unquote, black neighborhoods that were uninhabitable and not worth investing in and white neighborhoods that were invested in. So and we still see the remnants of that today. Yeah, so and so because we still are experiencing the remnants of that. Those are opportunities to change that. And so it’s not about saying asking yourself, are saying, well, I wasn’t a part of that. It’s like, Okay, well, you’re part of something today. Yeah, part of some, some the remnants of that today. What are you going to do so that your grandchildren, your great grandchildren can say, Wow, my great grandfather or grandmother, this is what they did that change that?
Yeah. And that might be the, one of the biggest benefits of beginning to understand race as a social construct, is, then that idea that if it’s a social construct, that means it can change, right? Yeah, right. Right. Yeah. And change that we can, I can, yeah, deconstruct it and, and make something new.
And that comes out of proximity. So I think that it’s an it’s an intentionality add, saying, you know, what, I need to start making friends with people who don’t look like me, if you’re white, and you don’t have that we need you need to make friends with more black friends, if you’re black, you know, you have to make friends with white friends, like we need to, we need to get back to prior to Bacon’s Rebellion when they were together. And, and start talking to each other and building relationships with each other and listening to stories, listen to the stories of, of black people about their experiences and validating those stories. And that also helps develop new files in our brains, and we start humanizing by people, they’re not distant people, we don’t know about just what we’ve been told. So I think it’s an opportunity there,
I would even expand that a little bit with, with, you know, I need to make more black friends or just fill in the blank, I think that’s really, really important. But sometimes it leaves folks like me, will want black friends that I’m comfortable with, or black friends don’t make me nervous or black friends that I don’t accept on their terms. And what’s really important is that when we do pursue these relationships, I believe that, you know, they have to actually respect the integrity of, of the people you’re having the relationship with, you know, maybe I have to change. And that’s just a little bit more difficult than having someone change to fit my comfort level. But so it’s so important.
I think, Rex, you bring a big point that’s really good about the church. And what you’re talking about is accommodation versus assimilation. So when you’re making relationships with people, should it be assimilating to you and your comfort level? Or should you be willing to make some accommodations to them? Because that’s where you learn. That’s how you grow. And you know, in the church right now, and this is why I think it’s important for us as a Christian community to talk about that is we see remnants of all of this in the church, right? I mean, like the church was talked about as being the most segregated hour. And, you know, in America, it is still very much segregated, and even in churches that are being intentional about creating, you know, having multiculturalism just going to be frank, I think they’re taking too much credit for people of color who are willing to assimilate without experiencing accommodations. Yeah. And so when you look at the mobility of, you know, which churches are experiencing these diverse experiences, you see a lot of, you know, white LED churches, with more people of color joining them, but how many black led churches do you see with more white people joining them, and look at the data for that and ask yourself, Well, why isn’t that happening? what’s what’s behind that? And then also, those churches who are being multicultural, you know, you know, have multicultural? What is experienced that with that? Do you ever if you’re a white person and you’re in a church that is, you know, diverse and there’s, you know, people of color around you? Have you ever listened to worship music that was not familiar to you that you do that grew up with or a style that’s familiar to you Have you had preaching in the style that was different from you, you know what has that because if it’s still your comfort, and it’s people coming in, and they’re there, that’s they’re the ones that are assimilating. But you guys are not necessarily accommodating. And so when conversations like this come up during this time period, particularly when we’re talking about racism, and we’re talking about issues that are affecting the black communities that are really affecting our communities, there’s tension, because even in the church, there has not been an intentionality in making accommodations. So you have people who’ve been conditioned to still being in an environment that is within their comfort level. So all of a sudden, to make me talk about something that doesn’t make me comfortable. But I’ve never had to sit in church and talk about something like race or, you know, been convicted, I’ve been convicted. I’ve been challenged personally, but not between my my pupil over here, you know, that experience. So I think that that’s a challenge to the church, to particularly to, you know, American Christianity, which is what I started. And I just want to, you know, really say that there. The reason why I call American Christianity versus Christianity is that Christianity in different cultures, it’s their interpretation of what it looks like playing out in society, we’re not in heaven, we don’t see the perfect version of Christianity in a society because we’re not in heaven. So this is the American interpretation of that. And that conversation from hundreds of years ago, where the negotiation of how can we justify enslaving black people? And in Chatel slavery, which is lifelong, and generational? How can we justify that the church was part of that conversation? and created a compromise and negotiated with that, so we have to acknowledge that, because of that, we have to look back at that, and we can’t really reconcile until we, we embrace what really was.
Yeah. You know, yeah, that’s so true. And as we kind of wrap up the episode, I just think it’s, it’s important to I love how you kind of came back to where you started on that. And and that idea that I think, for me, one of the one of the best takeaways from this time is that idea that we have the opportunity to be a part of a new story, like we need, we need to get all the information, like we need to have all the information on hand, and, and we are still getting that information. We didn’t we can’t act like oh, we know everything like no, we, we still need all the information. And then together we can be a part of, of the new story of telling the new story. And what would what would be beautiful, is if the church led that, right, if the church was on the, on the leading edge of that. I mean, I know that’s our prayer, and hope and, and that takes that takes the church recognizing a problem for one recognizing this information. And, and actually having that will like you were saying that will to to have uncomfortable conversations to move to begin to start telling a new story. So I think that’s the desire of the Lord. But there’s, there’s a lot there’s a high cost with that. Yeah, there is and, and it takes people willing to pay that high cost. And, and so thank you so much for coming on the show. Yeah. And, and it’s just so good. And so does this your first time on the show? So if you come on the show another time, then you’re an official friend of the show. I mean, I would still call you a friend of the show, right now that come with that, but I’ve never seen it yet. So we’re working. We’re working on the honors and benefits
an honor to have been invited. You believe in a lineup with jemar tisby. And
you’re right, yeah, right up right up there with my resume. That’s right. But thank you so much. And I think it’s given us a great direction. I hope this helped people understand. Okay, racism is something that was, you know, given by God saying, hey, you should classify these people in this world. This was something that society came up with. And, and that is now our chance as society to change that and right and to write that news story. So thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you for listening to Jessup. Think Be sure to follow us on Twitter at Jessup think we would love to hear your thoughts on the episode and engage with any questions you have. Our aim is to provide a framework for further reflection and deeper exploration of these important topics. You can also help the show by leaving a review on iTunes. These reviews help the podcast reach new listeners. Until next time, Mark Moore and Mrs. Jessup.
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