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The "long and thorny road"

Dec 30, 2020
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Course: Anti-Black Racism in the U.S. (Fall 2020)
Faculty Mentor: Naree Chan
Lead Faculty: Jeanais Brodie

Editor’s Note:  What follows is Dennis Cline’s Learning Self Assessment. This was his first Wilmette Institute course.

Reflect on what you have learned in this course.  Look again at your Personal Learning Plan.  Did you accomplish these goals?

I am much farther along with all my goals, but there can never be a “one and done” while  the “long and thorny road, beset with pitfalls, still remains untraveled.” (Advent of Divine Justice, paragraph 51)

Share some of the understandings and insights you have gained.  

I’ve developed a deeper appreciation for the wisdom of the “sisters.”  Humanity needs mothering!

One insight is that the US does lead other nations—but in the old world, non-spiritual ways— for example, China imprisons Uyghurs in “re-education” facilities which are now being turned into textile plants while other Uyghurs are forced to pick cotton. Where did they get that idea? Until we admit to the errors of our own ways we won’t achieve our destiny to lead the nations spiritually.

Other insights: the “. . .need for black women to trade in extralegal violence for personal security,” (Kali Nicole Gross, African American Women, Mass Incarceration, and the Politics of Protection), Iran’s history of anti-black racism and the Afro-Persian Initiative.

Have you acquired or improved any skills?

I’m becoming more skilled at planning ahead to seize opportunities to help others share their hearts, and at the same time not bringing an agenda of my own. Instead, I will adopt a humble posture of learning.

Have you experienced any new feelings or attitudes about this subject?

My feelings are not new, but deeper.  I feel responsibility and love.  My “attitude” can stay at home!

Has there been a change in your values or beliefs?

Not so much just a change, but hopefully a maturation.

Now that the course has ended, what are the ways you can apply or use what you have learned in the future?

Your suggestion to “share your learning with your family, friends, neighbors, and religious community”  is the best.  I’ve already found new ways to accomplish this.



Dennis Cline

Race unity has been my passion since childhood, and for most of my 75 years here in Maine I've stumbled along the "long and thorny road." Along the way I've extended the hand of friendship and service with open heart and mind to those of African descent and worked to rid myself, my white children, and the white world of our "sense of superiority." I served the NAACP for many years and raised my youngest son to be a strong, educated, emotionally healthy black man who is a wonderful husband and father back in his birth city of Dallas. That having been said, I'm no expert on this topic. I'm here to learn more about how to touch hearts, attract souls, and heal this aching nation and world.

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