Online resource explains racism to white audiences
by Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary | Special to Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE — Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary Theology Professor Shannon Craigo-Snell recently joined a group of academics in religious studies, history, and ethics to develop Breakdown Whiteness, an online resource designed to explain structural racism to white audiences.
The site, breakdownwhiteness.org, launched Nov. 6. It serves as a clearinghouse of existing resources designed to dismantle white supremacy in America. Resources are categorized by age and subject. The site also includes a glossary of terms and actions that can be taken to stop the policies and practices, which enable systemic and structural racism.
“Of course, there are many resources (about anti-racism) available, but it can be hard for people who are new to this to navigate,” said Craigo-Snell, co-author of “No Innocent Bystanders: Becoming an Ally in the Struggle for Justice” (Westminster John Knox Press, 2017). “I was invited into the effort and was fortunate to work with an incredible team of scholars and educators. We decided that we didn’t need to make new content so much as to consolidate and organize material in a way that highlights the systemic nature of racism.”
Breakdown Whiteness was instigated by the Rev. Nikia Smith Robert, founder of Reverend Daughter Ministries, which provides communities, organizations, and faith leaders with serviceable models of faith and justice through radical preaching, scholarship, and activism. In June 2020, Robert took to Twitter to express her fatigue with explaining anti-Black racism to white people and her hope for a resource to share instead. She asked white scholars, as a practice of allyship and solidarity, to create a resource for other white people, so she could point them to that resource.
Resources include videos, books, book lists, websites, podcasts, and more. According to Craigo-Snell and the other Breakdown Whiteness developers, the resources currently listed lean heavily on anti-Black racism and may be seen as reinforcing the binary of white and Black to a certain degree. It is not their intention to reify the binary. Rather, they seek to show how the binary works as a necessary part of both sustaining and breaking down white supremacy. As the scope of the conversation expands, additional resources will attend to how structural racism historically and currently affects a wider diversity of racialized communities.
The other developers of Breakdown Whiteness are: Kathryn Blanchard, the Charles A. Dana Professor of Religious Studies and Chair of Religious Studies, Sociology, & Anthropology at Alma College in central Michigan; Hannah Bowman, founder and director of Christians for the Abolition of Prisons; Amy Levad, Associate Professor of Moral Theology at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota; and Kate Ott, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics at Drew University Theological School.
About Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Founded in 1853, Louisville Seminary offers an inclusive and diverse learning community, welcoming students from wide ecumenical backgrounds while maintaining its long, historic commitment to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). Louisville Seminary is committed to building bridges across the world’s religious, racial and cultural divides. It is distinguished by its nationally recognized marriage and family therapy and field education programs, the scholarship and church service among its faculty and a commitment to training women and men to participate in the continuing ministry of Jesus Christ. For more information, call (800) 264-1839 or log onto www.lpts.edu.
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