Hypervisibility vs. Invisibility
People of Color report being simultaneously hyper-visible and invisible. They are often tokenized or pigeonholed into work that revolves around diversity, anti-racism, or global mission, while they are often overlooked for certain positions or assumed to be “new” Episcopalians unfamiliar with the church’s culture and systems. White people often see People of Color as a monolith and lack curiosity about various People of Color’s cultures. White people tend to see racism if it is hypervisible or named by People of Color. In addition, white people often do not recognize racism or race in predominantly white spaces.
Faith & Spirituality
People use the language of faith as they reflect on anti-racism and explain why the church should engage in becoming Beloved Community. People lift up theology, liturgy, and spiritual practices as leaven for this ministry. At the same time, they note how these elements of our faith are often used to actively maintain white supremacy culture and racism.
Because racism has become so politicized and polarized, especially among white people, there is both urgency around anti-racism and anxiety about how to navigate it. Likewise, leaders of Color interviewed after the murder of George Floyd mention an uptick of instances of blatant racism within The Episcopal Church. While they knew this kind of racism was present, it is moving from the shadows and into the light.
Leaders of Color have great self-confidence combined with a deep commitment to their church and to addressing racism. They confidently bring their perspectives and experiences to leadership. They also name the stress of being the first or the only Person of Color in mostly white contexts. White culture often places leaders of Color on a pedestal and holds them to unreasonable expectations. It also holds them primarily responsibility for naming, calling out, and confronting racism.
Leaders of Color note the complexity of internalized racism among People of Color and racial tensions among and between other groups of People of Color. Such issues can be taboo and tough to explore openly, but there is also deep wisdom about the intersection of power (or powerlessness) and privilege (or disadvantage) across racial groups or within them. People also speak of the limitations of the Black/white paradigm for challenging racism in the United States and in the church, which extends beyond the U.S.
The key to unlocking current racial dynamics is often found in a location’s racialized history. There is a deep longing and commitment to telling the whole historical truth of how The Episcopal Church financially benefited from, participated in, and perpetuated white supremacy and racist practices and beliefs, and how it continues to benefit from, participate in, and perpetuate racism to this day.
Intentionality & Ongoing Commitment
There are no single, accidental, or quick solutions to racism. Many people recognize that antiracism, racial justice and healing requires long-term commitment, lifelong learning, deep intentionality, accountability, financial redistribution (reparations, to name one example), and powerful and courageous leadership.
Visit their website Here!