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I sometimes find myself "examining my identity" as other people examine their conscience ... I scour my memory to find as many ingredients of my identity as I can. I then assemble and arrange them. I don't deny any of them. — Amin Maalouf, contemporary Lebanese author, from In the Name of Identity: Violence and the Need to Belong

Read Handout 1, Racism and Spiritual Death in the United States of America. As you read, underline or circle phrases that touch you emotionally or spiritually. In your journal, respond to the article. Consider beginning your response with, "Dear Rev. Pawelek... " Here are some questions to consider:

  • Do you agree with Pawelek's opinion that race is an identity imposed on us?
  • What effect has the imposition of a racial identity had on your life?
  • Can you choose for yourself an identity that is free of all traces of race?
  • Does living with an imposed racial identity cause spiritual death?
  • Do you agree that the way beyond race and racism is the spiritual way?

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