Course Provides Information to Enable Conversations on Racism

May 31, 2023
Black and white photograph shows a procession of African Americans carrying signs for equal rights, integrated schools, decent housing, and an end to bias.

Photo by Library of Congress on Unsplash

Course: Anti-Black Racism in the U.S. and Building a Unified Society (Spring 2023)
Faculty Mentor: Nekicia Luckett

In the course on Anti-Black Racism,  I have gained knowledge of the systemic, egregiously effective methods that kept a great share of humanity from rights and assistance that belong to every soul that comes into being. Since learning about some of these methods, I have been able to have conversations with family and other members of the community, but also with friends and neighbors—some of whom, especially those from a  minority background, were aware of the history of specific methods of oppression.

Generally, when sharing specifics of the history mentioned above, I have found that people had no idea of the insidious beginnings of anti-Black racism, even with the ratification of the 13th Amendment, its continuation through Jim Crow laws, and the ineffectiveness of 1960s voting rights acts—including the redlining rules post-World War ll. The magnificent work of the course creators have provided me with statistics and facts to speak about the great injustices that have occurred in our country much more effectively than using only ideas.

My neighbor is typical of so many people who say they don’t think racism is the problem it once was; mostly, there is no understanding of the systemic methods that have created—and continue to create—gross, ignorant divisions in society. Again, I am extremely grateful for specifics, which, though most difficult to acknowledge, lend great validity to explanations of gross racism: the unconscionable fact that one of every three Black men will be in prison, the explosion of prison population beginning in 1980 in comparison with other countries, and the great loss to society of talent and gifts that are so necessary for the advancement of humanity. Those losses are exacerbated by great differences in basic human rights, such as equal accessibility to quality education, health benefits, and other basic human needs.  

We put Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book Between the World and Me (a Black man’s remarkable letter to his son) in a well-frequented restaurant bookshelf. We meet there for our book club discussions and are presently discussing a book about Rwanda and the terrible class-inspired genocides – there are many parallels. Hopefully, our next book will be on racism in America. We will pick up on fellow student Kathy McConnell’s idea concerning putting books in the prison library—as well as finding out through the prison chaplain how to begin an interfaith devotional in the prison.



Ruth Hall (Pendleton, Oregon)

My dear mother, Katherine Young, became a Bahá’í in the 1930’s; she was a fantastic teacher of many and of course, all five of her children became devoted Bahá’ís! After 10 years, she was no longer isolated but was aided by stalwart families, most of whom went pioneering. We have not ever lost our LSA since that time—thanks Bahá’u’lláh!

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