Spirituality & Practice is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. In line with this focus, we are pleased to offer the anti-racism training program “Racial Resilience” to our community members who
share the goal of becoming anti-racist members of society.
Our facilitators, Rev. Dr. Christopher Carter and Dr. Seth Schoen, utilize compassion-based contemplative practices when teaching race theories. Collectively, these two aspects — practice and theory — will hone your capacity to define, identify, and sustainably dismantle internalized, interpersonal, and structural racism.
The program consists of emailed lessons, reading assignments, guided spiritual practices, and Zoom gatherings. The schedule is given at the end of this e-course description. You will also have access to an online Practice Circle at Spirituality & Practice where you can post comments and questions and access the assigned readings.
The departure point for this program is the fact that racism is systemic and is embedded in the structural foundation of the U.S. economy, polity, and ideology. Structural racism includes:
1. The institutionalized economic and other social resource inequalities that can be traced along racial lines,
2. The institutionalized political marginalization that can be traced along racial lines, and
3. Institutionalized racial ideologies, with ideology being a set of racialized stereotypes, ideas, beliefs, attitudes, emotions, narratives, etc. which help normalize and moralize racial discrimination.
Race is a template of both difference and equality within the United States in ways that have proved to be disadvantageous for many Black, Indigenous, and other people of color. Economic, political, and ideological tools are used to rationalize and justify racial inequalities. Of the three dimensions of structural racism, we will begin within the sphere of ideology.
Ideology plays a crucial role in enabling structurally racist systems to persist by explaining away racist systems through “common sense beliefs” such as: inner city schools are not good because the students have behavior problems, Black people do not have as much wealth as others because they are not as good with their money, white people have earned their wealth through hard work and merit, there are more Black people in jail because they are more prone to violence, and countless other beliefs. Sociologically, white racist ideologies normalized and moralized the belief that Black and Indigenous people were less than human, and thus fit for slavery or genocide.
When thinking about the structural dimensions of racism, it is easier to focus on racist economic or political inequalities because the unequal distribution of economic or political power can be measured and quantified. While ideology is immeasurable in ways that are analogous to economic or political power, its structural significance is no less critical. Human beings live and make meaning within social structures, and the biases, attitudes, and prejudices that they hold influence how the structures operate. Likewise, the biases, attitudes, and prejudices that are built into social structures such as banking, housing, voting, and educational systems influence how human beings understand and interpret their world.
These sociological and cultural themes will be covered during this training program, but our individual emotional attitudes and responses to racism will also be a major focus. Spiritual practices will enable us to ground our experiences and develop anti-racism understandings and actions.
Participant Learning Outcomes
By the end of this e-course participants should be able to:
- Understand and define racialization, racism, white privilege, compassion, Self, parts/interior movements.
- Cultivate grounded awareness of one’s internal and external worlds and recognize the role of race within them.
- Understand how compassion fosters sustainable anti-racist efforts.
These are the two primary texts for the e-course. We will provide copies of the chapters that are assigned, so there is no need to purchase them. However, we encourage you to consider buying the books as a way to support their amazing scholarship.
- Rogers Jr., Frank. Practicing Compassion. Upper Room Books, Nashville, TN. 2014.
- Menakem, Resmaa. My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies. Central Recovery Press, Las Vegas, NV. 2017.
The Racial Resilience training program has been developed by the Rev. Dr. Christopher Carter and Dr. Seth Schoen. They have presented the program in local churches across the United States as well as in academic settings.
Dr. Carter’s teaching, research, and activist interests are in Black, Womanist, and Environmental Ethics, with a particular focus on race, food, and nonhuman animals. He says, “The passion that informs all of my work evolves out of my family’s struggle to break free from the chains of poverty and systematic racism. The education I have received, both formal and informal, equipped me to flourish in spaces that were not always welcoming to my presence. In this way, similar to bell hooks, I believe that education is the practice of freedom. At its broadest level, all learning should be transformational: it should transform how we view ourselves, our neighbors, and our worlds.
Dr. Schoen’s research and teaching interests are in contemplative and spiritual practices, especially the cultivation of compassion. He says, “I am committed to educating people about the power of compassion and the way that race and racism impact our worlds, from the macro structures that organize our society to the micro structures that permeate our relationships and structure our minds and bodies. I understand anti-racism as a process of spiritual formation. Offering tools for people to create a foundation of compassion that fuels an anti-racist way of life energizes and motivates my research and personal interests. I enjoy being part of compassion-based processes in which people gain insights about themselves and others.”
Monday April 10: Email with introduction, reading assignments, and practices
Thursday: Email with Zoom link for Saturday and agenda
Saturday April 15: Zoom Meeting from 11 am – 2 pm PT
Monday: Email with assignments for a reflection week
Thursday: Email with guided practice
Monday: Email with what to do before second Zoom Meeting
Thursday: Email with Zoom link for Saturday and agenda for second meeting
Saturday April 29: Zoom from 11 am – 2 pm PT
Monday May 1: Follow-up from Saturday and additional resources.
CEHs and CEUs available
This training, while valuable for anyone, will be especially important for those working in service professions. We have arranged for those doing all the elements of the e-course (Zoom meetings, reading assignments, practices) to receive either CEHs or CEUs for their participation.
CEHs (Continuing Education Hours) can be claimed by chaplains. See this page for information. This program is worth 8 CEHs.
CEUs (Continuing Education Units) for the training are available from the Claremont School of Theology at an additional price of $100 per CEU. Those attending the Zoom meetings can get .6 CEUs. Those also doing the readings and practices can get 1.2 CEUs. To set up a tracking program for your participation, email: [email protected].