George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and now Rayshard Brooks. The senseless killings of these and countless other black people have drawn our attention once again to stark disparities in American culture that whites do not always see but that people of color endure constantly. This dynamic stands at the heart of what is sometimes called “white privilege.” A white person can usually walk away from discussions of these disparities. A person of color cannot.
Recent events have created a “kairos moment”—a moment when glaring disparities in American culture due to racism have our attention. What is more, the role that American Christians have played in these disparities is also on display. How can we seize this moment to seek justice? How can some of us see what we haven’t seen? What does a constructive moral vision and strategic plan for antiracist efforts look like, and how can all of us take action for sustainable social change?
In response to this moment, Rev. Julian Cook will be teaching an online course for Houghton College that is free for anyone to audit and only $150 total for 3 hours of college credit that you can take anywhere. The course is titled Race and American Christianity and will take place on Thursday nights live from 7 to 9 pm ET. Here is the course description:
THEL 295: Race and American Christianity explores the complex role of American Protestant Christianity in the construction of historic and contemporary notions of race and U.S. systems of racial hierarchy. The course gives sustained attention to the sociopolitical dimensions of race in shaping American Christian identities, practices and ideology. THEL 295 centers an interdisciplinary pedagogy that weaves theology, ethics, critical race theory, history, anti-racist activism, and African-American and gender studies. Students are encouraged and equipped to critically reflect on and interrogate the role of race and faith in the formation of their own and others’ values, spiritual practices, lifeworlds, churches and local communities. Special attention will be given to topics such as anti-black violence, mass incarceration, whiteness studies, Black feminist resources in anti-racist activism, reparations and racial reconciliation. Scholars to be read and engaged include Kelly Brown Douglas, George Yancy, James Cone, Jennifer Harvey and Ibram Kendi.
If you would like to be part of this kairos event from June 29-August 23, fill out this special student form.