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Personal Reflection Assignment Discussion Paper

Personal Reflection Assignment Discussion Paper

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This course on Religion and Theology has had a major impact on my entire outlook to my country and the world at large. This is especially to do with the matter of race and inequality. At the beginning of the course I had some strongly held beliefs about race, what the Bible said about race, segregation, religion, and spirituality. I must admit that all this has been severely challenged by the course content up to this point. Luckily, I had opened up myself and my mind for new ideas the moment that the lecturer Dr. Craig Hendrickson let us know that there is no “safe space” in the course. The purpose of this paper is to present my personal reflection on what I have learnt during the length of this course. Personal Reflection Assignment Discussion Paper

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Personal Learning (Views, Values, Actions)

I must admit that race and the history of slavery in the United States is a very thorny one, even by today’s standards. There are those that think that slavery and racial segregation were wrongs; while there are also those that could only be described as apologists. Unfortunately, this extends to the Church as evidenced by the case of footballer Colin Kaepernick who knelt to protest police brutality on Blacks (Tisby 2019). Some Evangelicals think this was wrong, yet the athlete only used his faith to pass on a message as kneeling is a way of coming before God.

I could not help but feel deep emotions when I learnt about segregative laws such as the Racial Integrity Act of 1924 that prescribed what it was to be White in America. Using the “One-Drop Rule,” the law effectively legalized racism and segregation by stating that anyone with a drop of Black or Native American blood was non-White and inferior. The case of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) is a case in point. The court determined in a 7-1 ruling that racial segregation such as in accommodation was not against the 14th Amendment, as long as the facilities were similar. What immediately came yo mind was the 2020 murder of George Floyd – a Black man – by a White police officer on 25th May in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I could not help but note that this White policeman was a very good student of history. Personal Reflection Assignment Discussion Paper

Challenges, Areas of Dissonance or Frustration

It is very frustrating to me that to this date, there is still a debate about Whiteness or how one might not be White enough. I was saddened at the point in the course when the lecture on “Whiteness” was delivered. The cases of Takeo Ozawa (1922) and Baghat Thind (1923) were very heart-breaking. Despite their dedication and service to the country they were told by the Supreme Court unequivocally that they could not be “White” or “Caucasian” enough.

Learning on Specific Issues and Topics Relating to Racial and Economic Injustice

In America, the discussion of race has never ended. This is a long-standing issue that keeps coming up. There has not really been any love lost between the White majority and the Black minority, since the 13th Amendment was ratified in the 19th century. This is a regrettable side effect of the terrible past that we will always have to deal with. If America is to remain a single nation without disintegrating, we must discover peaceful means of living together. The course has taught me that racism has permeated into the socioeconomic fabric of the nation so much such that the marginalization of Blacks has been normalized (Wytsma 2017)Personal Reflection Assignment Discussion Paper. A case in point is the huge White-Black gap in median net worth in the US. Blacks have always been discriminated against in terms of employment and economic empowerment initiatives.

In my view, the diversity of our opinions, cultures, and races should not serve as a justification for keeping some people out of our lives. If we can take a step back and acknowledge that we are all human, this is significant. According to Brown (2018), just because someone is not your race does not mean that they are less intelligent or incapable of helping you. Even in 2023, the twenty-first century, stories of White students unprovokedly hitting a Black student they did not know are not unusual. They might physically assault him and repeatedly refer to him as “N-word” in front of witnesses and onlookers. It irritates me that frequently, even when the police are called, they just speak with the offenders and do not take them into custody. This amongst others is what led to the clarion call of “Black Lives Matter.”

These specific acts by law enforcement officials, in my opinion, are what promote racism and racial profiling in the United States. Even worse, a major collapse in law and order could result from the law enforcement community’s casual attitude and lack of concern. It is regrettable that, in 2023, several decades after the Civil Rights Movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this might still occur. For those old enough to recall, these types of occurrences bring up recollections that are everything but pleasant. Even though they were not present, the offended young Black people find solace in the knowledge that a lot of sacrifices were made.

Theological Learning Relating to Race, Justice, and Reconciliation

According to me, theological learning teaches that all races were created equally in the eyes of God. That means that all races are equal and represent the image of God the creator. But this Biblical justice is not always witnessed in America. The Bible also advocates for reconciliation among people. However, this has not been easy as the “Black Lives Matter” movement can attest to.

Future Outlook of Ministry of Reconciliation and Justice

I would say that the future of the Ministry of Reconciliation and justice is still full of challenges. This is because Black marginalization is still real, racial prejudice is still alive, and inter-racial harmony is still a struggle.  Personal Reflection Assignment Discussion Paper

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 Works Cited

Channing Brown, Austin. I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness. New York: Convergent Books, 2018. ISBN: 978-1524760854.

Tisby, Jemar. The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2019. ISBN: 978-0310597261.

Wytsma, Ken. The Myth of Equality: Uncovering the Roots of Injustice and Privilege. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2017. ISBN: 978-0830844821. Personal Reflection Assignment Discussion Paper

Students will write a three-page paper highlighting their learning during the course. Papers should include personal learning (i.e. views, values, actions), how students were challenged, areas of dissonance or frustration, learning about specific issues and topics relating to racial and economic injustice, and/or theological learning relating to race, justice, and reconciliation. It should also include how these learnings will inform the student’s ministry of reconciliation and justice moving forward.

Channing Brown, Austin. I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness. New York:
Convergent Books, 2018. ISBN: 978-1524760854.
Tisby, Jemar. The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism.
Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2019. ISBN: 978-0310597261.
Wytsma, Ken. The Myth of Equality: Uncovering the Roots of Injustice and Privilege. Downers Grove, IL:
IVP, 2017. ISBN: 978-0830844821.

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