How Quaker Testimonies Can Combat White Supremacy

“I believe that Quakers are uniquely called… to lean into racial equity principles, to engage in the antidotes to white supremacy culture,” says Lauren Brownlee, the Associate General Secretary for Community and Culture at Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL). “Many of the Quaker testimonies give us guidance for how we might engage in racial equity work.”

Lauren explains how the testimonies of peace, integrity, community, equity, and even stewardship can shape anti-racism practices for individual Friends and meetings. “It is important for us to hold on to the fact that white supremacy culture is ever-present in Quaker communities,” she tells us, “and our antidotes are right there, present alongside these aspects of white supremacy culture that we encounter.”

5 thoughts on “How Quaker Testimonies Can Combat White Supremacy

  1. I continue to be in the Quaker community because of the values and ideals you mention. We all have been conditioned by centuries of harmful white supremacy and, in many cases, don’t know it. In the future, I pray that we open our minds, hearts, and doors to welcome and worship with people who don’t look like us.

  2. As a white South African, I have known racism at its very, very worst – and have spent the better part of my lifetime protesting against it, often at some personal risk. As an environmentalist, the Quaker testimony that, “There is that of God in everyone” is a lovely reminder of the importance of our (bio)diversity, the importance of our differences in creating a (holy) whole. By listening and looking with loving attention, we get to know who the ‘other’ is, we learn, we expand, we grow, and the ‘other’ ceases to be ‘other’ and becomes ‘us’. I have puzzled over what ‘equality’ means to me, and have reached the conclusion that (for me) it means that we are all equally important – if one of us is missing, unrecognized, unheard, creation is incomplete; God’s work is incomplete. Google’s reaction seems narrow-minded and deaf to love.

  3. I don’t doubt the speaker’s earnest good intentions. But I find it troubling that she so uncritically cites` the half-baked ideas of Tema Okun on a supposed “white supremacy culture.” The idea that something like individualism (which is in fact a value as fundamental to Quakerism as is that of community, if not more so) has some special connection to white supremacy is absurd—and frankly, racist.

  4. It apparently came as a surprise to some folks that Google rejected this video as “shocking content” that might “promote hatred, intolerance, discrimination, or violence.”
    But Google was right, This video does promote hatred and intolerance and possibly violence by the shocking insinuation that “white supremacy culture is ever-present in Quaker communities.”
    “White supremacy” has historically meant a consciously racist belief that “white people” should dominate “black people.” But the new concept of “white supremacy” espoused here accuses everyone of this sin without any basis. We are asked to see white supremacy as “ever-present in Quaker communities” despite the absence of any actual white supremacists.
    One insidious effect of this twisted accusation, I think, is that it falsely suggests to Black people that their suspicions are correct that every white person is a racist. This false suggestion can, think, lead to greater racial tension, greater intolerance of white people, and possibly a greater chance of violence.

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