Course: Anti-Black Racism in the U.S.: The Most Vital and Challenging Issue (February 2020)
Prior to this course on Anti-Black Racism in the U.S., I did my own learning and investigation of this subject, but I wanted to take a more comprehensive course vs. the piecemeal learning I had been doing. I wanted a more global picture of this vital and challenging issue. I know that this subject is so deep and I will truly never be done learning, but this course filled in some missing gaps in my learning and gave me a fuller picture of racism in the United States. I think everyone must learn the true history in order to start addressing racism, especially how intentional and embedded it is in our country. I know so many who believe in one human family, but have no idea either that racism continues to exist, or how and why we are in this current state in America. Everyone must take responsibility to educate themselves about our history and find ways to present the information, which discerning people can see as evil. Learning to have discussions also helps people internalize their learning and, the more that happens, the more you grow the choir of anti-racists. The unit about Black women and social justice offered a great deal of new learning for me. I also loved learning about Black Bahá’ís who can be our heroes in this work. I did not know the stories of Elsie Austin and Alain Locke, for example.
Within my immediate Bahá’í community, it surprises me that we have such perfect teachings, but I see little action and I pray to see the Bahá’ís make this topic a more central focus. I see much more action in the greater community of Milwaukee, which is highly segregated and full of inequities. Taking this course has given me hope, however, that there is a growing community of Bahá’ís who will stand strongly with our Black Bahá’í brothers and sisters to support and act. I also want to start conversations with my White Bahá’í brothers and sisters who will then, hopefully, integrate these ideas into their life.
I brought my learning from the Wilmette Institute course to our Bahá’í group, “From the Same Dust”. We are using information from the course and other sources to educate ourselves and community about Anti-Black Racism and the value of the “Pupil of the Eye” in a weekly learning opportunity via Zoom.