Written by Shannon McAdam
Canada West Mission Centre Co-President
Every day at my workplace this month we’ve learned about a different Black Canadian who is outstanding in one way or another, and it has been an incredible way to celebrate Black History Month. There are so many amazing people who I’d never heard of before, and I wonder why I’ve never learned about them before. If we believe in the Worth of All Persons, why don’t we learn about all types of people?
Black History Month is a fitting time to reflect on what it is that makes White culture so dominant that we don’t learn about the contributions of those who are Black, Indigenous, or People of Colour. White Supremacy Culture might sound like a problem from far away or long ago, but it is prevalent in all of our lives, and runs against our belief in the Worth of All Persons.
I’ve found this website by Tema Okun to be really helpful in my own learning about what White Supremacy Culture is, how to recognize it (the “marks”), and ways to overcome it. The original article that Okun based the website around is a quick and easy read that I highly recommend. Click here to read the article.
For me, one of the most insightful “marks” of White Supremacy Culture that Okun talks about is “One Right Way”. This is the idea that there is only one right way to do things, and can lead to some of the other marks: Perfectionism, Paternalism, and Either/Or Thinking. Okun’s antidotes to “One Right Way” are beautiful and life-giving. These include gratitude, being transparent, and being willing to take risks and make mistakes. These, I think, are also the kinds of things Jesus calls us to. Jesus sought to bring people together rather than dividing them.
How will you recognize Black History month? Perhaps take a moment to read some of Tema Okun’s insightful writings and think about what you can change in your home, workplace, or congregation to help dismantle White Supremacy Culture and help bring about God’s Shalom.
Yours in Christ,
Gwyn, Kat, and Shannon
community of christ
355 Elmira Road North, Unit 129
Guelph, ON N1K 1S5 Canada
Canada West Mission: 877-411-2632
Canada East Mission: 888-411-7537