Learning to be white

I heard a fascinating story from the Reverend Elaine G. Gerhmann.

Thandeka, a UU minister and theologian, shares in her book Learning to be White about a lunch she had with a white female member of the college staff at which she was a new faculty member, Thendeka was asked what it felt like to be black. Searching for an answer to this question, she invented the Race Game, and invited her lunch partner to play it for a week.

“The Race Game, as my luncheon partner very quickly discovered, had only one rule. For the next seven days, she must use the ascriptive term white whenever she mentioned the name of one of her Euro-American cohorts. She must say, for instance, ‘my white husband, Phil,’ or ‘my white friend Julie’ or ‘my lovely white child Jackie.’ … I guaranteed her that if she did this for a week and then met me for lunch, I could answer her question using terms she could understand. We never had lunch together again.”

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