Title

Implementation of Anti-Racism Pilot Program in the United Methodist Church

Proposal Focus

Practice

Abstract

Background:

Critical race theorist, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva (2014), states that the racial climate in the United States has shifted away from the more overt forms of racism towards a race-neutral and (Bobo, 2011; Lentin, 2011; Plaut, 2010; Smith et al., 2011) color blind ideology (Alexander, 2012; Emerson & Smith, 2000; Omi & Winant, 2014; Smith et al., 2011; Wise, 2010). According to Gushue and Constantine (2007), “The conscious or unconscious minimization, denial, or distortion of race and racism is known as color blindness” (Neville et al., 2000; Neville et al., 2001). This erroneous perspective is detrimental (Atwater, 2008) to the organizational structure of the United States (Emerson & Smith, 2000), especially the Christian [church] (Bonilla-Silva, 2002; Yancey, 2010). In the state of Mississippi, approximately 170,000 (UMData, 2017) Black and White individuals identify as United Methodist. This racial composition is unique to Mississippi because Blacks make up a large proportion of the population (Census, 2010). However, little to no research has been conducted to examine the colorblind racial attitudes of adults in The United Methodist Church (UMC) or to evaluate current anti-racism programs in Mississippi’s UMC. According to The UMC’s official website, no formalized evidence-based program exist that both teaches and trains its members to be engaged in racial justice. Therefore, the development of an intervention that investigates color-blind racial ideology (Neville, et al., 2013) from a critical race theory framework is needed.

Program Description: Counter Narrative is a faith-based program, set to be implemented spring of 2018 in The UMC. The program challenges three notions: racism is no longer a problem, Christians should be colorblind, and that the church is silent about racial injustices. It has three components: Revising the Narrative (anti-racism workshops), Rewriting the Narrative (cross-racial training program), and R2 (race relations task force).

Aim:

  • Engage adults in constructive dialogue around race
  • Explore and examine participants personal attitudes, behaviors, and language towards race colorblindness
  • Educate participants about the historical context of racism and racial equity in America and The UMC
  • Equip participants with the resources and skills to build authentic cross-racial relationships and to become racial justice advocates

Methodology:

Revising the Narrative—6 anti-racism workshops will be held in one year, for approximately eight hours each. Each session will be co-facilitated by individuals trained in anti-racism and will include a worship service, an overview of the social principles, history of the church’s commitment to eradicate racism, content knowledge, and processing exercises. Evaluation: Pretest/posttest survey will be administered with multiple follow-ups.

Rewriting the Narrative—31 sessions (Training, Social Events, Service Learning, and Diversity Workshop) will take place over one year. Evaluation: Pretest/posttest survey will be administered and focus groups will be conducted.

R2—12 meetings will be held, once a month for two hours. Also, participants will receive at least 14 hours of anti-racism training. Evaluation: Pretest/posttest survey will be administered and in-depth interviews will be conducted at the end of the year.

Long-Term Objective: Reduce racial colorblindness and racial tension between Black and White Christians.

Keywords

anti-racism, color-blind racial ideology, racial justice, racial reconciliation, Christianity, program development

Location

Tiger II

Start Date

9-3-2018 9:15 AM

End Date

9-3-2018 10:00 AM

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Mar 9th, 9:15 AM Mar 9th, 10:00 AM

Implementation of Anti-Racism Pilot Program in the United Methodist Church

Tiger II

Background:

Critical race theorist, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva (2014), states that the racial climate in the United States has shifted away from the more overt forms of racism towards a race-neutral and (Bobo, 2011; Lentin, 2011; Plaut, 2010; Smith et al., 2011) color blind ideology (Alexander, 2012; Emerson & Smith, 2000; Omi & Winant, 2014; Smith et al., 2011; Wise, 2010). According to Gushue and Constantine (2007), “The conscious or unconscious minimization, denial, or distortion of race and racism is known as color blindness” (Neville et al., 2000; Neville et al., 2001). This erroneous perspective is detrimental (Atwater, 2008) to the organizational structure of the United States (Emerson & Smith, 2000), especially the Christian [church] (Bonilla-Silva, 2002; Yancey, 2010). In the state of Mississippi, approximately 170,000 (UMData, 2017) Black and White individuals identify as United Methodist. This racial composition is unique to Mississippi because Blacks make up a large proportion of the population (Census, 2010). However, little to no research has been conducted to examine the colorblind racial attitudes of adults in The United Methodist Church (UMC) or to evaluate current anti-racism programs in Mississippi’s UMC. According to The UMC’s official website, no formalized evidence-based program exist that both teaches and trains its members to be engaged in racial justice. Therefore, the development of an intervention that investigates color-blind racial ideology (Neville, et al., 2013) from a critical race theory framework is needed.

Program Description: Counter Narrative is a faith-based program, set to be implemented spring of 2018 in The UMC. The program challenges three notions: racism is no longer a problem, Christians should be colorblind, and that the church is silent about racial injustices. It has three components: Revising the Narrative (anti-racism workshops), Rewriting the Narrative (cross-racial training program), and R2 (race relations task force).

Aim:

  • Engage adults in constructive dialogue around race
  • Explore and examine participants personal attitudes, behaviors, and language towards race colorblindness
  • Educate participants about the historical context of racism and racial equity in America and The UMC
  • Equip participants with the resources and skills to build authentic cross-racial relationships and to become racial justice advocates

Methodology:

Revising the Narrative—6 anti-racism workshops will be held in one year, for approximately eight hours each. Each session will be co-facilitated by individuals trained in anti-racism and will include a worship service, an overview of the social principles, history of the church’s commitment to eradicate racism, content knowledge, and processing exercises. Evaluation: Pretest/posttest survey will be administered with multiple follow-ups.

Rewriting the Narrative—31 sessions (Training, Social Events, Service Learning, and Diversity Workshop) will take place over one year. Evaluation: Pretest/posttest survey will be administered and focus groups will be conducted.

R2—12 meetings will be held, once a month for two hours. Also, participants will receive at least 14 hours of anti-racism training. Evaluation: Pretest/posttest survey will be administered and in-depth interviews will be conducted at the end of the year.

Long-Term Objective: Reduce racial colorblindness and racial tension between Black and White Christians.