MMM Racial Justice Book Group discussion

Friends Journal

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Mamaknitty (new)

Mamaknitty | 8 comments Mod
The January edition of Friends Journal is all about race within Quakers.Let me know if you would like a PDF copy. They sold out of the print edition. Let's start a conversation about this edition of Friends Journal as a way of centering our discussion around racism and race within Quaker life and meetings

message 2: by Alison (new)

Alison (alisonrutherford) | 1 comments Hi, Lori! Thanks so much for getting this group discussion started. I would like a .pdf copy of the Jan. Friends Journal if it's easy to send! Many thanks.

message 3: by Gail (new)

Gail | 1 comments Mamaknitty wrote: "The January edition of Friends Journal is all about race within Quakers.Let me know if you would like a PDF copy. They sold out of the print edition. Let's start a conversation about this edition o..."

Lori, yes, I'd appreciate the .pdf of the Friends Journal issue. thanks.

message 4: by Megge (new)

Megge | 6 comments Lori, I would love a copy.

message 5: by Martha (new)

Martha (marthag503) Lori, I would love to have a copy, too. E-mail is I don't believe I'm in the directory.

message 6: by Karen (new)

Karen Carlisle | 1 comments I'll have to find my copy of the article from the workshop. I think I know just where it is. I will re-read it. Just posting so you know I got on. Is there a deadline when we should start discussing the article, or should we jump in as we read it?

message 7: by Mamaknitty (new)

Mamaknitty | 8 comments Mod
Hello all

Many of y’all have a PDF copy of the January 2019 edition of Friends Journal. I Printed off a copy of just the articles since the whole issue is 52 pages long. I stapled each article as their own little packet and put each of them in a manilla folder.

So the first article is called “Are we ready to make the necessary changes” by Vanessa Julye. Some of y’all have met her when she visited us at Multnomah Meeting or at NPYM. Some of y’all may have read (or are starting to read) her book Fit for Freedom not for Friendship. She coordinates the Ministry on Racism for FGC and is also part of the Institutional Assessment (also a topic in this issue) for FGC.

I have had the pleasure of getting to know Vanessa the two times she has come to the Pacific Northwest and during a weekend retreat at Ben Lomand Center for Friends of Color. Oh geez, do I want to be her when I grow up.

Here’s what I thought of her article:
This article is a challenge to white Quakers. She starts right off the bat with some stats about Quakers world wide but falls short for many countries, especially the US as these places do not keep stats of how many people of color are represented in meetings. Why do meetings do this? Vanessa comments that Quakers do this in an attempt to be “color-blind” which actually not helping. Being color-blind is actually a cop out: You see how tall I am, you see that I present as a woman, you see all these things. So why do you all of a sudden go blind when I walk in the room? Seeing my color is totally OK. Its how you treat me *because* of my color that is important. Pretending to ignore a deeply integral part of a person is just as insulting as treating them differently. “Not seeing color” is not an achievement. And if you don’t see my race then you cannot see racism. Vanessa then, in her article, asks meetings to reconsider this position of not tracking people of color. How do we get this to happen in our monthly and Yearly meetings?

Next Vanessa quote a passage from Friends Review from 1850. They say back then “Is the religion of Friends unsuited to the coloured race? Or are they kept at a distance by our neglect or repulsive conduct?” I would argue this is the same question Quakers ask today. The answer is clearly White Quakers keeping People of color at a distance. Why can’t White Quakers see this?

Vanessa then goes on to list the patterns of racial exclusivity by Quakers and other denominations with mostly white populations. Quakers held Black people as slaves just as many other white folks did for a long time. Enslaving people is not a good way to be inviting to black people. So y’all white people gotta own up to that first of all.

Then when white folks were not enslaving us, they were the ones doing the separating. Even by William Penn himself. She describes how black people were separated out merely to teach us religious instruction but not actually be part of a meeting. Black people had to worship in an entirely separate building or in segregated sections. Vanessa cites Sarah Mapps Douglas as the first Friend of color to protest this treatment who claimed this treatment was “unchristian” and took away her freedom of choice.

Then we have there's the real meaty pattern of behavior, not allowing black people and white people to marry (or as it its known medicinally: miscegenation)

OK that’s it for now, its getting late and I’m tired. I’ll have more analysis as this discussion goes along. I hope y’all found something interesting in these pages as well



message 8: by Cherie (new)

Cherie Dupuis | 1 comments This is my take on that article: POC may come into our midst for the spiritual experience but not for the community. A black writer talked of the worry of compromising his identity as an awake black citizen fully committed to the struggles of black people around the globe if he joined. Others wrote of feeling isolated and marginalized. One said that Quakers didn't understand his foundational needs of shelter in a perilous time, comfort from the cause and effects of class and color, and a stable location in the human family.
What would that look like in MMM if we were providing community and protection from white supremacy? I appreciated her suggestions:
--that we look at our assumptions that a successful life springs from one's individual moral choices vs. acknowledging the systemic oppression that makes that hard for POC (covert violence)
--that we record the ethnicity of members
--that we ask a question about a person's understanding of race on clearness committees for membership.
I hope the fact that we have a committee whose purpose is racial justice, that we make it a priority to have regular race talks and programs on race shows all that we want to be a welcoming community.

back to top