anti-racism and the weight of my whiteness

After a six-hour strategy meeting for my office’s anti-racism team (that actually went remarkably well; we got so much accomplished!) and then my church’s New Community Living Conversations tonight, you’d think I would be all racism-ed out.

But I saw this piece and it really brought home once again the concept that it’s all about this false, ridiculous standard of whiteness that this whole house of cards is built upon. And sometimes I just hate my whiteness, even though I know I have to own up to it.


social justice without the Cross?

A dear (and very wise) friend of mine has asked me recently why so many of the college students she has met in recent days seem violently opposed to the idea of being a “missionary.”  It seems like they would much rather engage in silent social justice, and would do anything to avoid actually telling people about Jesus. I have seen the same phenomenon in my own work (after all, I work for the far-less-hip missions arm of our denomination, as opposed to our more socially acceptable (and dare I say “trendy”?) relief and development agency.)

When we recruit young people for our summer program, we have to ask some really difficult questions of them about what they think it means to tell the world about Jesus. Over and over again, I hear echoes of that post-modern refrain, “I don’t really feel like I have the right to push my beliefs on people. I would rather just show them God’s love through my actions.”

Is the difficult message of the Cross a thing of the past, a stale old remnant of bygone days? Of course not, but it seems that this new generation (people younger than myself) are utterly reluctant to label themselves “missionaries”. Perhaps it’s a reaction to the colonialism of the olden (and too often not-so-olden) days, and all the mistakes we’ve made in trying to evangelize the “heathens” . . . but it concerns me that we seem to be using our past mistakes to justify our current inaction.

Tonight, I came across these thoughts on the subject, and since this has been on my mind so much as of late, I knew I needed to share this here.

Let me know what you think.

Size acceptance vs. Fat Activism

so I was wandering the internet, and came across this blogger’s set of questions, which I thought were worth answering here . . . (WAS worth answering here?! grammar police, are you out there?)  

anyway, here’s her list:

So tell me:
1. What is your definition of a Fat Activist?
2. What qualities give a Fat Activist the capital letters in that title?
3. How is a Fat Activist different from a Fat-Acceptance Supporter?

And my answers . . .

1) I would define it as being someone who is willing to (and does) speak out against false information and stereotypes about fatness and fat people . . . I used to refer to myself as a “size acceptance activist”, which seems to fit in better with the whole concept of HAES.

2) I’m not going to quibble about capital letters, but I think it’s about being true to it and consistently acting/speaking out about what you believe. But I also wonder if this is a case of self-identification, and I’m not sure that any of us gets to decide who is and isn’t a Fat Activist with a capital “FA” . . .

3) “Activist” versus “Supporter” to me is about doing/speaking out versus merely saying, “sure, I believe in that”. In some ways, there’s not really a cost to being a supporter in the same way that there is a cost to being an “activist”. For example, I’m passionate about fighting racism, and I would say that there are probably a lot of people who would say they “support” fighting racism, but the cost to these people is nothing like the cost of people who are really in the trenches, working to fight against racism. If you’ll permit me the analogy, I feel like it’s the same thing with being a size acceptance activist. You take the risk. You speak out when it’s not popular.

Anything else, and you’re just a supporter . . .