Regina Renee’s tongue-in-cheek letter to well-meaning “good white Friends” appeared in the October issue on the Experiences of Friends of Color.
Greetings. Thank you for our recent conversation. I understand that it was very important for you to share your story with me so that I would know that you are “a good white person.” You are the first person I know to openly introduce yourself as such. I wasn’t able to share my story at the time so I wanted to write you a letter and in the process share a bit of my story with you.
Is it ironic that number four in our 2014 top-five comes from a Friend who hand-writes his submissions? Chuck Hosking shared the joy of a simple life that isn’t a sacrifice in the December issue.
Over the years, many people have expressed to me an intention to simplify their lives. In nearly every case, those intentions appeared to be grounded in either a litany of “shoulds” or a reluctant resignation to making a sacrifice to assuage an untenable level of ethical dissonance. In my experience, neither impetus is sustainable.
Our third most-read online article used the gun control debate to talk about racial profiling and the unintended consequences of campaigns based on criminalization and appeared in August.
Matthew Van Meter
In my youth I attended Powell House, a Quaker conference and retreat center near Old Chatham Meeting in upstate New York. Among the posters that covered the entrance hall to the youth center was one that impressed me. It read: “In one year, guns murdered 17 people in Finland, 35 in Australia, 39 in England and Wales, 60 in Spain, 194 in Germany, 200 in Canada, and 9,484 in the United States. God Bless America.” I was convinced.
Avis Wanda McClinton’s first-person story of continuing Quaker divisions on race from the October issue.
Avis Wanda McClinton
The concern I have is to express my experiences as an African American Quaker and also to be believed. This story began long, long ago when our country’s policy supported the system of buying and selling Africans for profit. Black, Native American, and white abolitionists worked together on the Underground Railroad.
Four of our top five online articles of 2014 dealt with Quakers and race. The most-read article ran in September: Ron McDonald looks at the continuing ghosts of slavery as seen through the eyes of a white Friend with a lifelong commitment to recognize and name an inherited culture of defensiveness.
In the 1940s my white father, who lived in Arkansas, was visiting Michigan for a Methodist conference when he found his assigned roommate was a black man. Outraged, he thought about requesting a different room, asking himself how he could accept and room with a man he perceived as inferior and hang onto his own self-esteem? Despite this inner conflict, he was polite to him and then was surprised to find that he liked the man. At that moment in his life, he faced white narcissism, and I will be ever grateful to him for stepping away from it toward a new way of being.
Catch up on past years’ lists!
- #5: Bum-Rush the Internet interview with Jon Watts.
- #4: Categorically Not the Testimonies by Eric Moon.
- #3: Are Quakers Christian, Non-Christian, or Both? by Anthony Manousos.
- #2: Quakerism Left Me by Betsy Blake.
- #1: We Think He Might Be a Boy by Su Penn.
- #5: The Safety of Silence by Lindsey Mead Russell.
- #4: Eight Questions on Convergent Friends, an interview with Robin Mohr.
- #3: Quakers Are Way Cooler Than You Think by Emma Churchman.
- #2: Homosexuality: A Plea to Read the Bible Together by Douglas C Bennett.
- #1: When Quaker Process Fails by John M. Coleman.