Racial Justice Series: Details

WEEK 4 (Sat. July 25): The Politics and SocioEconomics of Racism

Moderator: Shancia Jarrett

         Within this week’s session, we will explore the disparate impact of racism and redlining on housing markets. In doing so, we will first review public policies and banking practices that promoted home ownership rates for single-family home within predominately White suburban towns and the discouragement of home ownership rates among Blacks during the 1930s to the early 1970s. As a result of such institutional discrimination, many contemporary urban communities continue to experience the disparate impact of racism in housing markets.

If you missed session 3, please see the summary written by Michele and Jennifer.

Key Terms: 

  • Redlining, illegal discriminatory practice in which a mortgage lender denies loans or an insurance provider restricts services to certain areas of a community, often because of the racial characteristics of the applicant’s neighborhood. Redlining practices also include unfair and abusive loan terms for borrowers, outright deception, and penalties for prepaying loans. The term redlining came about in reference to the use of red marks on maps that loan corporations would use to outline mixed-race or African American neighborhoods. Neighborhoods in more-affluent areas, which were deemed the most worthy of loans, were usually outlined in blue or green. Neighborhoods outlined in yellow were also considered desirable for lending.”
  • Disparate impact refers to government policies that result in adverse outcomes for a particular group of people.
  • De facto segregation– racial, ethnic, or other segregation resulting from societal differences between groups, as socioeconomic or political disparity, without institutionalized legislation intended to segregate. “For example, often the concentration of African-Americans in certain neighborhoods produces neighborhood schools that are predominantly black, or segregated in fact ( de facto), although not by law (de jure).” (Refers to segregation of the North)
  • De jure segregation– segregation established by the law. (More associated with the South)
  • Exclusionary Deed refer to clauses within real estate and homeowner association contracts which prohibt the sale of properties to non Whites. For instance in Seattle, a HOA’s deed stated: “No person or persons of Asiatic, African or Negro blood, lineage, or extraction shall be permitted to occupy a portion of said property.” 

Prayerful Preparation- “Where are we now?”

In addition to this disparity, numerous sociologists, educators, and theologians further suggest that the disparate impact of racism within housing markets affects the environmental health and academic performance of children (Kozol, 2008; Bullard, 2019).  In an attempt to investigate Kozol’s theory, I decided to simply reflect on the personal narratives of children. This past April, my niece’s teacher instructed her to share her understanding of Black Lives Matter and how George Floyd’s death impacted her community and her understanding of herself. At first, I was uneasy about such an assignment. I was not certain if her school held the appropriate language and pastoral care resources to engage the trauma COVID 19, Floyd’s death, police brutalities, and the civil unrest within Bronx neighborhoods. Here is an excerpt of my niece’s writing along with a prayer:

“Life as a black person is hard. It is hard because my life is not my own. My dreams  and present days are determined by others. I thought it was mom, aunts, and grandparents who set my curfew and decided when I eat, sleep, walk, where I live and go to school. While home these past months, I realized that  you get judged for the color of your skin and people just can’t see that you are equal to them. Innocent black people are being killed for no reason at all just like a person named George Floyd. As a black person, it is my job to speak up about the inequality of all black people and why their life matters too. I just don’t know why the police get to determine whether an innocent black person lives or dies.

These ill-treatments are not fair because they are hurting people and taking away their freedom even though there was a law that everyone is supposed to be treated equally. Some people even try to not employ other people because of their skin color.

Of course, all lives matter but the blacks are just the ones getting killed by the police. Social media can help with this injustice. On social media, you can post how you feel about what’s going on in the USA and the unequal treatment . Also, you can vote for a president that cares about your basic needs. I can also post videos and messages about the unfairness to help make a positive influence on all the people around the world and convince rioters to stop and help make a peaceful way to stop the injustice. My aunty may be upset that I am writing about Black Lives Matter and email my teacher, but I want her and everyone to know that I have a dream and it is mine to dream. ” 

Written by Josanna Jarrett (age 11)

Prayerful Statement- To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice (Proverbs 21:13)

As we engage this material, let us prayerfully consider the theological and ethical ramifications within housing disparities. Sociologist and theologian Jonathan Kozol refers to these injustices as savage inequalities and condemns such practices as adverse theological sins. 

Heavenly Father, after witnessing the thoughts of our children, we humbly proclaim the words of Your servant Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”    

 New Haven Specific Reading and Audio Preps-

Please review the following documents.  



Reading Materials

  • Jackson, Mandi Isaacs. Model City Blues: Urban Space and Organized Resistance in New Haven. United States: Temple University Press, 2008.
  • Kozol, Jonathan. Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation. United States: Broadway Paperbacks, 2012.
  • Kozol, Jonathan. Ordinary Resurrections: Children in the Years of Hope. United States: Crown/Archetype, 2012.
  • Polsby, Nelson W., Community Power and Political Theory , (New Haven Yale Press, 1963)
  • Powledge, Fred, Model City , (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1970).
  • Rothstein, Richard. The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America. United States: Liveright, 2017.
  • Talbot, Allan R., The Mayor’s Game , (New York: Harper & Row, 1967).


WEEK 3 (Sat. July 18): Ancient African Christianity and Black Christian Identity

Moderator: Michèle Sigg

In this week’s session, we will explore African Christianity from its Old Testament roots, to its ancient indigenous expressions in Egypt and Ethiopia, and its later Africanized form in the fifteenth century Kongo Kingdom. Contrary to popular belief, from the beginning of the Christian era, Christianity has always had an indigenous church in Africa. This week’s documentaries, hosted and narrated by Henri Louis Gates, Jr., are excerpts from “The Cross and the Crescent” and “The Atlantic World” in his series entitled Africa’s Great Civilizations. We will also discuss how African Christianity has influenced the development of African American church practices and Black Christian identity.

We encourage you to view the videos from Weeks 1 and 2 (see below), if you have not been able to attend so far. A summary of week 2 by Abbie S. is available here.

As a spiritual preparation for this Saturday’s session, here is a short prayer of praise to Jesus from Madam Afua Kuma, an oral theologian from Ghana. (A biography of her life will soon be available on DACB.org). Enjoy the very African flavor of her praise!

You are the Precious Kente cloth
and the Colorful Dutch wax-prints.
You brighten our celebrations.
            We love and admire Your beauty,
and Your name we spread abroad…
            You are Lord of Travelers!
Your gospel reaches earth’s ends.
            You are a Very Great River,
which no bar of sand can oppose.

(Source: unpublished praise, forthcoming Journal of African Christian Biography, July 2020, https://dacb.org/journal/)

WEEK 2 (Sat. July 11): Examining Racism in the American Church

Moderator: Shancia Jarrett

This week, we will look at two sources: White Savior: Racism in the American Church (Amazon Prime; see preview) and an episode of the Color of Compromise (Amazon Prime and Hoopla Streaming; extended preview of the series here).
—-White Savior explores the ways in which racism and White supremacy have informed American government, religion, and culture since the founding of the nation. It also investigates the historical influences of racism in the American church and the challenges of racial reconciliation. We will look at six of the seven thematic sections: (1) What is Race?; (2) The Bible and Race; (3) Anti-Blackness in the United States; (4) Erasing Native Voices; (6) Christianity in Black and White; (7) The Problem of Reconciliation.
—-The TV docuseries The Color of Compromise is based on the book by the same name by Jemar Tisby who also narrates the TV show. In episode 10, Tisby discusses contrasting definitions of racism between African Americans and white evangelicals. He also discusses how Christians can understand Black Lives Matter as a movement in which they can participate by embracing the principle they represent while not necessarily agreeing with every aspect of the organization.

Reading and viewing that you can do ahead of time:

WEEK 1 (6/27, 6:30 pm): Systemic Racism in the US: Historic Roots and Generational Trauma

Moderator: Jennifer Brown  

This week we will view excerpts from 13th and Unchained. The documentary 13th (free viewing here on Youtube) is an exploration of the historic, racist roots of mass incarceration in the United States. Director Ava Duvernay argues that racism has always been a pervasive reality in the United States that has simply taken on different expressions over time. She contends that the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude except as punishment for a crime, has been used as a legal loophole to continually exploit and suppress African Americans.
Unchained (can be viewed here) examines the legacy of generational trauma among African Americans and the damage done by the sins of racism and White supremacy. The film offers hope through Jesus Christ for repentance, healing, and reconciliation.

In the session we will view the films by screen sharing for about 1h15 at most, then devote about an hour to discussion and questions. If participants would like to view the films ahead of time, or watch them in their entirety, please use the links provided above.

For those who want to do background reading:

Research Shows Entire Black Communities Suffer Trauma After Police Shootingshttps://www.yesmagazine.org/health-happiness/2018/08/03/research-shows-entire-black-communities-suffer-trauma-after-police-shootings/

I Inherited My Grandfather’s Trauma–And His Healing Culturehttps://www.yesmagazine.org/issue/mental-health/2018/08/27/i-inherited-my-grandfathers-trauma-and-his-healing-culture/