Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Building the World We Dream About: An Anti-racism Multicultural Program

Leader Resource 1: Black Pioneers in a White Denomination Excerpt

Excerpted from Black Pioneers in a White Denomination (Boston: Skinner House, 1992).

The problem of segregation in all churches seems more unfortunate when one recognizes that there is much to gain, beyond the realization of liberal values, and racially diverse congregations. Here there is a potential for the kind of growth-inducing dislocation that comes from an experience that challenges the unawareness of race, an insensitivity that has made whiteness the norm. In a church with a black presence, white people may experience a new self-awareness, an awareness of what it means to be white in our culture. This new self-awareness is essential, for people can only affirm others after they have truly affirmed themselves. The richness of our civilization will emerge from a recognition of and respect for difference, not out of ignorance, well intentioned or otherwise."