This is the third and final panel we are posting from our last Ontario Generous Space Retreat. If you haven’t already viewed them, check out our Trans Panel and our Non-Monosexual Panel. As I’ve mentioned before, because these panels were filmed at the retreat, they have a bit of an in-house feel to them. There are some jokes you might not get or connections that are tough to make. Nonetheless, we believe that the experiences shared by four of the thirty-or-so people of colour at the retreat are important to attune the Body of Christ to deeper awareness, understanding, and action towards embracing our intersectionality and doing the work of justice.
One common reference throughout the panel is to an exercise on privilege that GS staff member Eric led the community through. In the “Privilege For Sale” exercise, the community was split into groups. Then a bag with “money” was passed around and each group got a different amount. We all then had the same list of privileges that we could purchase with our group’s money. Some privileges had to do with gender, some with sexuality, some with health, some with money, and some with race/ethnicity. Each group had to negotiate together how to prioritize which privileges they would be able to purchase – with some groups only being able to purchase one while others could purchase nearly all of them. It was pretty eye-opening for everyone.
The four participants on our People-of-Colour Panel put voice, story, and journey to these matters of privilege. Like our other panels, the participants are very different from each other – with their own unique experiences. Another reminder of the complexity of understanding how these realities impact people differently. Listen for common themes and pay attention to the differences.
As a white person, I feel pain when I am confronted, even lovingly and gently, with the ways I’ve been oblivious to systemic racism. I feel pain because I don’t want to be complicit in oppression. I want to participate in cultivating shalom where everyone will flourish and barriers will be dismantled. Part of that participation, however, is elevating the voices of those who experience the injustice of white privilege and listening deeply to their stories.
I am so grateful for the gift our panelists have given and trust that you will be enriched simply by taking the time to listen. Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” (Mark 4:9)