Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequality

Today’s guest blog post is from Nancy West, co-facilitator of the Adult RE Workshop, Cracking the Codes. This an other Religious Education for All offerings are held on Sunday mornings from 9:30 until 10:30 a.m. Please join us! (Click here for information.)

On Sunday, it was so exciting to gather with those of you who share our goal of attaining Racial Equity for all in Baltimore.  We began First Unitarian Church’s six-week class: “Cracking the Codes,” viewing World-Trust’s video with that title. We used the video as a catalyst for our learning from each other and discussing and figuring out the systems that sustain Racial Inequity so that we can work toward dismantling those systems. There seemed to be a real commitment to looking at ourselves and at our cultures in open and honest ways so we can effect change.

Our goal in offering the class is to provide the opportunity for each participant to do the work necessary to change the system of Racial Inequity in Baltimore. On that first day, there were 24 of us there, all with the desire to engage in a community dialogue aimed at helping us to deepen our understanding of Racial Inequity and what we can do to establish Racial Equity as a norm in our community.

Our different experiences growing up in our own unique cultures have determined how we see the world, how we see various cultures and how we see race. Those experiences have created unique identities for each of us. If we are to make changes in our city, we must see and understand how our different experiences have led us to different ways of being in the world.

We need to examine what we have learned about culture and race growing up and whether or not we would like to learn new and/or different ways of navigating and negotiating our world today. If we are going to discover those parts of our identity that do not work in a multi-racial society, we have to bring them into our conscious minds. We cannot fix what we cannot see so if we really want to fix the system of Racial Inequity, we must bring all of our learned responses right out in front of us. This class will give us many opportunities to do just that. It is very encouraging to know that culture and race are social constructs that can be reconfigured. We can learn new ways of being in our world!

The history and system dynamics that have established Racial Inequity in our society were presented in the video. It gave us lots to discuss about our understanding of and our experience of Racism. Some participants identified how they experience racism in our society. Others identified unconscious ways in which they learned from the cultures in which they grew up, to contribute to the establishment of that system of Racial Inequity. There will be many more avenues to understanding how we got where we are and how we can get to a different place.

Please join us! The “Cracking the Codes” class meets every Sunday through 10/25. We look forward to more challenging and enlightening discussions as we continue the class. You are welcome to attend classes even if you cannot every one.

On 10/27, Dorothy Critcher will lead the class. Nancy West will return on 10/4.

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