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John Dehlin and Lindsay Hansen Park interview Mica McGriggs, Samy Galvez, and Tinesha Zandamela about race relations in the Mormon church, and their experiences growing up as people of color in a predominately white church.
This was great! You have given vision to some of my blindness. I’m happy to have additional perspectives as well as to be shown things that are apparently right in front of me but are invisible to me without assistance. Like a room full of laser beams from a “Mission Impossible” movie that only become visible when a mist is sprayed, you have done the spraying so I can do the seeing.
Hopefully the analogy makes sense. This discussion did not just make me think, it really exposed me to many things that will help me in my interactions with other earthlings.
1. Why did no one bring up that DNA testing of the lamanite people–how does your Latino panelist feel about that
2. You needed a black man on your panel is perspective would be unique also — as your last podcast the speaker mentioned black athletes were often seen as predators – which is terrible
And that refers to the example of the black man killed during Brigham Young’s time also seen as a predator to white women
3I would like to see another panel discussion about the history of the black man and woman within the church–
4.This podcast should have been much longer there is so much to discuss
5.I think the ‘ lamanite’ experience has so many unique aspects I would like to see a panel to discuss their perspective. Their history and even their present experience I think should be explored more fully
You could include the program of bringing lamanite children into white LDS families for The school year
6. Also how has the lamanite attitude changed at BYU since the DNA shows they are not descendants of Lehii and are not the book of Mormon people –do they still have the
‘lamanite generation’ dance productions
7 how Many Lamanites know about the DNA and how do they feel about not being the book of Mormon people
8 how has the church and its leaders changed it’s approach comments and policy toward the Lamanite people
9 Are the missionaries still telling them they are the book of Mormon people and are Lamanites
*Please have a panel discussion of the LDS lamanite experience –History and present
*And another panel that could include more black Mormon history and additional information on the present experience of LDS black men and women
I second the suggestion about the Lamanite experience. There should be plenty of ex Lamanite Generation folks that can also balance out the faith story.
While we are at it, talking through with LDS and nonLDS about the Third Convention (Tullis) of Mexican saints often surprises present day mormons. They are surprised the a branch of the Church could do better than the mainstream.
John thank you for facilitating this much needed conversation. As a black man who went to BYU, I could relate to a lot of what was discussed.
Hugs on these five exceptional human beings. For me this was one of the most genuinely educational and enjoyable episodes in the entire body of Mormon Stories.
I was reminded of an inter-family Family Home Evening years ago where I invited a white co-worker and her black husband to come share their insights with us on the topic of tolerance. The lesson was loosely based on a talk by a general authority. He made it sound like tolerating those who are different than ourselves is cause for self-congratulation. Our black guest, however, taught us that merely tolerating each other ignores the real payoff of loving and embracing one another in our differences. He was a friendly, articulate man, blessed with a handsome face and a handsome heart. I would love to watch this episode with him and renew our conversation from twenty years ago.
It’s frustrating to hear african Americans still saying they feel they are being descrimaned against due to their race.
The aborignies of Canada, Australia, new zealand and America were treated much more harsh then the afican Americans were.
Why is it that when people talk about rasism everyone straight away thinks African Americans?
The church is rasist yes. But that’s because it was based on America at the time.
Everyone is going to be discriminated against some time in there life. The sooner we get rid of the word rasism the sooner we can all just get on with life and accept each others differences. We all bleed red.
Trixie – You may want to listen to the podcast before posting such an asinine comment. Go back and attempt to understand the clinical definition of the word racism. Good lord!
Aboriginals were not denied the priesthood, neither were Pacific Islanders. Strictly brothers and sisters of African descent.
This is just what I’ve read, if I’m wrong that’s fine but that knowledge does help me to understand the points you’ve mentioned.
The thing about bringing up racism, especially in the church, is not to make people feel bad or bring negative attention to the church; but is to fuel a constructive argument that will further any progress to eliminating it completely. We have to work together, knowledge is power. So when someone steps up to tell you they’ve been oppressed, don’t be so quick to knock them down…ask yourself what you can do to help make it right
Wonderful, important podcast. So glad you had Sammy on the panel as well. Thank you!
There are a ton of white Americans that would benefit from discussions like this. My education on race and race relations began roughly fifty years ago and I continue to learn something new whenever I have the chance to hear thoughtful people of color discuss their experiences. Education, or perhaps more specifically educating those of us who benefit from the systemic white supremacy paradigm, is one of the primary challenges facing us today in my opinion. How valuable it is to clearly define the terms being used at the outset.
White privilege is clearly worth more discussion. I liked the definition that describes it as being about access. It is indeed an issue of access. It is also a million little things that most whites never once have to consider because it simply isn’t part of our lived experience. A million little things that add up to a matter of huge significance. It often crosses my mind while I’m driving between Salt Lake and St. George. Over the last 20 years I’ve made that trip too many time to count, always with the cruise control set 10 miles over the speed limit, which today means I’m going 90 mph most of the way. During those 20 years I’ve passed numerous highway patrolmen but I have never been pulled over. Not even once! In fact, during the last 20 years I haven’t had a single interaction with law enforcement that I didn’t initiate myself. I’m pretty sure my old white man face plays some part in that run of luck. Anyway, thanks for another great discussion!
Where can I watch/read/listen to what Samy Galvez had to say about Queer Jesus? I really want to see that…
Also, will the reading list Mica mentions be made available?
Overall, one of my favourite Mormon Stories episodes. I thought the panelists all had such great things to say and they provided so much to think about and reflect on.
He just published it today. So powerful:
From the time Lindsay asked to address racism within the progressive Mormon communitee, I felt like the dialogue devolved. As Mormons, we are taught to second-guess and assign shame to the most innocent things so it seems counterproductive to tell Mormons who ARE showing up and ARE trying to be understanding and helpful that, despite our best efforts and intentions, we’re still racist. (E.g. “John, shame on you for not inviting us to podcasts on other topics besides racism!” And “we are talking, damn it! you’re racist for not seeking us out!” … even though we are actually listening to you on the podcast.) Spewing judgement and prejudice is not a way to win people to your cause. Good thing the people you’re talking to are already on your side … The opportunity you had to help all of us know what we can do in practical terms was completely wasted on negative, shaming rhetoric.
Having grown up in a very tolerant communitee in the Northwest and spent my life trying to treat everyone as I would like to be treated, it’s bad enough to learn that I have been the unknowing beneficiary of a racially biased system; but even worse to be told that I am complicit in said system. To be told this, but not given any suggestions as to how I might act to balance the effects of my heretofore unknown benefit is a self-damaging conundrum.
I have 3 white children and 3 black children. At a ward Christmas dinner shortly after the Ferguson Riots, my oldest son (white, 17) was talking with a group of young 20s. One of the men was police officer. My son pointed out that the protestors have a valid point, that as the white son of an attorney he sees how people treat him differently that how people treat his black brother. Then the group of young people proceeded to tell him how that was not true; how that was not my son’s lived experience. Finally, my son was done with the conversation, held his hands up and said “Don’t shoot, oh wait I am white, I am fine.” Well, after he said that (granted a flippant comment- and not very diplomatic – not surprising coming from a 17 yr. old.) The group started gossiping. Before we even got home from the wife of the 2ed counselor in our bishopric took to face book and started a 3 day rant. The rant had a new string each day; each string had at least 50 comments, mostly from people we do not know. The general gist was we are lousy parents and our children run muck. (I could defend our family- but that is a different conversation). The son of the first counselor sports a rebel flag on his phone -oblivious to how that would make my children feel, the seminary teacher (who is the wife of a member of the stake presidency preached) how the West African Slave trade was “God’s will” “because it was prophecy”. All of this from 1 ward! If we are followers of Christ, we need to do better. It gets very old.
I think part of the underwhelming response when you talk about attendance at symposiums etc where the topic is race has to do with the fact that white people do not want to be reminded that they (we) are the benefactors of privilege. I am from a lower-middle class background & I worked very hard to get an education, started my career in a low-paying job and worked my butt off to get to whatever station I’m at now; nobody handed me anything. so my knee-jerk reaction when I hear “white privilege” is to dismiss it.
It’s hard to look in the mirror and realize that I have and do benefit from being white. Most of my peers were/are white, most of my teachers and professors were white. Bank loan officers have been white, my bosses have all been white. As a white guy, I walk through a white world without ever having to think about my skin tone. To be made conscious of that leads to some weird feelings, so better to just go listen to a podcast about what a turd Brigham Young was and go on my merry way! Truth is, this was a very thought provoking podcast and I plan to and need to seek this topic out more often. Thank you to all the participants!
I thought the same thing. There was another time when one of the panelists completely dismissed someone else’s expression of art in the form of the painting of the fictional character Eve as a black woman as an “exoticization” and offensive simply because the depiction was black but painted by a white man. People need to stop ascribing prejudices to everyone black and white and whatever color and listen to what people are saying and where their “hearts” are. this constant push to find offense in EVERYTHING is counter productive to a real dialog. I find things that people say all the time to be offensive, but I say “well, that was stupid” and I move on. I acknowledge my white privilege but to have someone say a black person can’t be racist on the basis some academic definition because black people don’t have power just doesn’t make any sense . All of these ladies are calling out all white people for being racists but choose to participate in one of the most overtly racist organizations in US history. Of course people can and will believe what they choose and that is their right. People dismiss points of view and opinions all the time for a variety of reasons, none of which should be the color of ones skin. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say melanin has no bearing at all on the validity of an argument… just sayin’. Personally I dismiss ideas when I hear nonsense. Ideas are weighed on merit and not every idea is of equal validity. These ladies all appeared to give the church a pass while calling everyone else out… seemed a little disingenuous IMO. I agree with Dr. Smith from the previous episode where he says “anyone who continues to support the LDS church is a participant in their own oppression”. Nothing I’ve said here denies racism, it exists and affects everyone to varying degrees from police brutality, to employment and incarceration. But shaming allies continually isn’t going to win more allies. Ideas are color blind, argue on merits not real or perceived past or current offenses.
More of this kind of open discussion is needed. Whites who have little or no contact or social interaction with people of color need this kind of opportunity to learn and grow and understand other’s struggles, to strip away labels and prejudice and relate to others human being to human being. I am worried about these wonderful, sincere, and impressive young people appearing on Mormon Stories while still attending BYU. Even though they were not being very hard on the church, I wonder if any kind of association with this website could get them kicked out of the church and school and thwart their graduating. I especially worry about a young man who is gay, considering the church’s recent policy of medieval retrenchment.
Loved this podcast. Thank you. This is so important.
I teach high school English in Salt Lake Valley. There have been days when I have felt a sickness in the pit of my stomach that is difficult to describe. This because of the opinions many of my students express. Most live in beautiful homes with well-manacured yards; they drive luxury cars, take yearly cruises, win scholarships to good schools, and often go on foreign missions (U.S. missions are not as prestigious, but they go on those too). They are good kids; I love them. And that is why I work so hard to teach them. And what I want to teach them more than anything else — more than how to read informational texts, more than how to write a good essay, more than how to ace a high stakes test — is that they are privileged, and that they are racists, and that they are blind. Some are receptive. They give me hope. But too many fight me with “every fiber of their being.” They refuse to see that they did absolutely nothing beyond being born white and middle class to earn their cushy position in life; furthermore, they refuse to accept that a young man like Travon Martin did absolutely nothing beyond being born the “wrong” color to be shot to death by a bigot who walked.
Most know that their parents have worked hard to acquire their very nice standard of living, and they plan to work hard too. What they won’t accept is that poor people work harder than they ever will at great risk to their bodies and health just to put food on the table and it is not enough.
I am grateful for what I learned from listening to this podcast. I am now even better prepared to articulate the problems we face in this state and country. Thank you for giving more of your energy, time, and intelligence to educate the white folk. I know its hard to get through to us. Some of us appreciate it.
I think this is one of the best Mormon Stories podcasts ever.
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