Building the Beloved Community
In the current political climate, the Tea Party is capturing media headlines and the voices for racial justice continue to go unheard. Racist incidences and commentaries are more prevalent since the election of the first African American president. More states are considering immigration laws similar to Arizona and racial divides are widening. Is this because of the policies put forth by President Obama or is this the United States of America showing its true colors and exposing all the subtle forms of racism that have existed during the terms of Caucasian presidents?
In 2009, WILPF and the Building Beloved Community issue committee, sponsored Racial Justice Trainings in 14 branches, who invited their local allies and community partners. We are continuing this tour in 2011, conducting interactive, community building trainings that explore systemic racism and white privilege and how, even as social justice activists, they affect our own thinking and attitudes. The trainings will again be facilitated by Sha'an Mouliert, a WILPF member from Vermont and racial justice consultant and trainer.
One might think that the historic election of an African American president might mean we're on our way to a more equitable society in the U.S. This is far from the case. The ultra-conservative Tea Party Movement is spewing racist propaganda across the country. What started with a discussion about "fiscal responsibility" has morphed into hate speech, which is clearly anti-immigrant and racist. WILPF's Building the Beloved Community Issue Committee wants members to take a stand - let's make Republican Party leaders accountable for the Tea Party's racist messages. We've created a letter (cut and paste text below or click here for Word document) which members and branches can use as a template to send a message to the Republican Party leadership. Let them know that their lack of public statement on the actions of the Tea Party is paramount to accepting their reactionary and racist views.
Sample letter to cut and paste into your word processing program:
Are you ready to be a part of the change?
Racism is a fierce, ever present, challenging force; one that has structured the thinking and actions of individuals and institutions since the beginning of U.S. history. To understand racism and effectively begin dismantling it requires an equally fierce, consistent and committed effort. Please join us as we embark on this most crucial journey and begin to realize our vision of a racially just society.
March 27, 2009
Open Letter to President Barack Obama
Why the United States Should Stop Refusing to Participate in a Global Conference on Racism
Dear President Barack Obama,
We, the undersigned individuals and organizations dedicated to fighting racial injustice and promoting human rights domestically and globally received your recent decision to boycott the Durban Review Conference with profound disappointment. Recognizing that your stated objections to the conference have been addressed, we are confident that your Administration will be reversing its decision in time to participate in the conference and its remaining preparatory meetings scheduled to take place in April.
The Racial Wealth Divide & Comparative Wealth
By Vickie M Fouts, WILPF Building the Beloved Community Chair
The gender wage gap is well documented in mainstream media. On February 28, the NY Times published an article “Why Is Her Paycheck Smaller?” which states:
"There's no measurable way to explain the gaps within occupations," said Barry T. Hirsh, a labor economist at Georgia State University. "Other wage gaps, like racial gaps, can be almost fully explained by factoring in the differences in education, geography and age."
It’s a shame that the ranking of disparity continues and even worse that the racial wealth divide could be so easily dismissed by a labor economist.
It is true that women are discriminated against by what is referred to as a lack of comparable worth. Women today make only about $.66 for every dollar a man makes and a woman of color makes even less. The U.S. has a history of women in traditional “women” jobs making less than men in traditional “men” jobs. This topic is explained in detail by Claire Andre and Manuel Velasquez in their article, “Comparable Worth”:
September 18, 2007
Honorable Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
Governor of the State of Louisiana
Office of the Governor
PO Box 94004
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9004
[cc: District Attorney, U.S. Attorney and School Superintendent]
Dear Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco,
http://whiteprivilege.hampshire.edu/resources.html - Understanding Whiteness, Recognizing Privilege - many readings there
By Richard Morin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 11, 2001; Page A01
Whether out of hostility, indifference or simple lack of knowledge, large numbers of white Americans incorrectly believe that blacks are as well off as whites in terms of their jobs, incomes, schooling and health care, according to a national survey by The Washington Post, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University.
By Tim Wise, AlterNet
Just a few years ago, a public opinion poll indicated that only 6 percent of whites in the U.S. believed racism was still a "very serious" problem facing African Americans. While larger percentages believed racism to be somewhat of a problem, only this anemic share of the white community saw it as an issue of great importance.
By Tim Wise, AlterNet
Ask a fish what water is and you'll get no answer. Even if fish were capable of speech, they would likely have no explanation for the element they swim in every minute of every day of their lives. Water simply is. Fish take it for granted.
By Donna Lamb
A very important forum entitled Racism in Progressive Movements was held at a community center in Mid-Manhattan in New York City. It was sponsored by Third World Within, which is constituted of organizations run "by and for" communities of color.