Learn more about the CRCNA's Office of Race Relations.
Christian Reformed World Missions
Up to three $200 scholarships are available to qualified applicants from an ethnic minority to attend a Perspectives Course.
Diversity and Anti-Racism
Why Diversity and Anti-Racism?
One of Christian Reformed World Missions’ core values states:
We value the image of God in all people and the humility that opens us up to respect, learn from and grow with them. We dismantle racism and address other abuses of power within our context and work with our partners to address these abuses in their contexts.
Why do we use the term 'anti-racism'? Isn't that a negative term? Why can't we just celebrate our diversity?
This is a question that we hear often. Usually, the question comes out of the perception that the word “racism” is used to describe individual prejudices or outright hatred. Most of us do not have overtly hateful attitudes, so we don’t think this label applies to us. And although it is true that we all have prejudices and misconceptions about “the other”, when we speak of “dismantling racism”, we are talking not about the personal feelings of individuals, but of the systems that are in place and the history that has been handed down to us. Unfortunately, we (particularly those of us who belong to the majority culture) are all too often unaware of this history and the way it affects us even to this day.
Allan G. Johnson, a sociologist who specializes in issues of privilege and social inequality, puts it this way: “The trouble is rooted in a legacy that we all inherited, and while we’re here, it belongs to us. It isn’t our fault. It wasn’t caused by something we did or didn’t do. But now that it’s ours, it’s up to us to decide how we’re going to deal with it before we collectively pass it along to the generations that will follow ours.” (from The Trouble We’re In: Privilege, Power and Difference; emphasis added)
“Anti-racism” is a term we use to discuss the uphill battle we face as we fight this legacy and become aware of the insidious nature of the ways in which the sin of racism has harmed us all. It is true that God calls us to celebrate our diversity, but He also calls us to bring what was hidden into the light. If we are for God’s vision of a church from every tribe, and nation, and tongue, then we need to be against racism in all of its forms. Because of this, we use the term “anti-racism” freely, seeing it not as a “negative” term, but as an honest expression of what we are trying to accomplish.
Vision: We see a future where CRWM's stated value of anti-racism permeates all that CRWM is and does.
Mandate: The World Missions Anti-Racism Team exists to help CRWM identify and implement policies to move us towards our vision. We do this by encouraging all CRWM departments to develop and take ownership of specific anti-racism goals, and by providing support as they do so.
- Increase the level of racial diversity in World Missions' staff leadership to 25% by June 2011. Currently at 12%.
- Increase the level of racial diversty in World Missions overall to 18%. Currently at 13%
- Increase the level of racial diversty in World Missions partner missionaries to 5%. Curently at 0%.
- Increase the level of racial diversty in World Missions volunteers and interns to 20%.
Currently at 8%
- Conduct three on- fi eld events addressing racial issues in the cultural context. No current figures.
Click on a title for information from Amazon.com or another source where available. A more complete resource list is available from Church of the Servant.
- Facing the Truth With Bill Moyers
- Lessons from "The Color of Fear"
- Race: The Power of an Illusion
- The Price of Sugar (focused on the Dominican Republic)
- Traces of the Trade: A Story From the Deep North
- Radio in Black and White (weekly radio show based out of Grand Rapids, MI)
- Focus on the Right Battlefields (two-minute video from the EFCA's Alvin Sanders) -
talks about what is needed for institutional change)
- Black Boy, Richard Wright
- Belhar Confession
- Las Venas Abiertas de America Latina, Eduardo Galeano
- More than Equals: Racial Healing for the Sake of the Gospel, Spencer Perkins and Chris Rice
- Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, Eduardo Galeano
- Race Matters, Cornel West
- Rising to Common Ground: Overcoming America's Color Lines, Danny Duncan Collum
- The Souls of Black Folks, W. E. B. Dubois
- This Side of Heaven: Race, Ethnicity, and Christian Faith, Robert J. Priest and Alvaro L. Nieves
- "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?": A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity, Beverly Daniel Tatum
- Are You Colorblind? Chris Lahr, Red Letter Christians blog, July 2011
- How and Why Bethlehem Pursues Ethnic Diversity, John Piper, 2007, (3 pages)
- Many Paths to Reconciliation, Curtis Korver, 2009
- One Lord, One Faith, Many Ethnicities: How to Become a Diverse Organization and Keep Your Sanity, Christianity Today, January 2004 (3 pages)
- Post Racial: I Don't Think So, blog post by Frank Schaeffer, 2010
- Time for African American Missionaries, James Sutherland, EMQ, October 2004 (11 pages)
- White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, Peggy McIntosh, 1990 (7 pages)
- Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is, John Scalzi (blog, 2 pages)
- Aboriginal Ministry (CRCNA Canadian Ministries)
- Calvin College Office for Multicultural Affairs
- Canadian Ecumenical Anti-Racism Network
- Congregations Organizing for Racial Reconciliation (Church of the Servant)
- CRCNA Office of Race Relations
- Diversity Learning Center (Grand Rapids Community College)
- Grand Rapids Area Center for Ecumenism
- Love Isn't Enough (blog about parenting and race)
- Partners for a Racism Free Community
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