Racism at the Pool…

I wasn’t going to write about the racist pool incident that I heard about recently, but then I ran into this article and it was right on point, so I wanted to pass it on. Click here to read it… let me know what you think!

Here is a video as well… talking about what happened!

Published by Drew G. I. Hart, PhD

Drew G. I. Hart is a theology professor in the Biblical & Religious Studies department at Messiah College with ten years of pastoral experience. Hart majored in Biblical Studies at Messiah College as an undergraduate student, he attained his M.Div. with an urban concentration from Missio Seminary in Philadelphia, and he received his Ph.D. in theology and ethics from Lutheran Theological Seminary-Philadelphia. Drew was born and raised in Norristown, Pa and has lived extensively in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, PA as well. Dr. Hart’s dissertation research explored how Christian discipleship, as framed by Black theologies and contemporary Anabaptist theologies, gesture the Church towards untangling the forces of white supremacy and the inertia of western Christendom which have plagued its witness in society for too long. As two traditions that emerged from the underside of violent and oppressive western Christian societies, he found Black theology and Anabaptism each repeatedly turning to the particularity of Jesus in the gospel narratives. From that arises an ethic of solidarity with the oppressed and pursuing liberation in Black theology and an ethic of radical peacemaking and ecclesial nonconformity in the Anabaptist tradition. Each challenge the violent and oppressive logics of mainstream western Christianity and salvage the call to follow the way of Christ. Together in dialogue they deepen our analysis of the churches failures and the need for Jesus-shaped repentance. His work beyond teaching and writing has included pastoring in Harrisburg and Philadelphia, working for an inner-city afterschool program for black and brown middle school boys, delivering lectures and leading anti-racism workshops, collaborating with local faith-based organizers and activists in his city, and doing a broad range of public theology. He is also a co-leader for a local Harrisburg faith-based relational network called FREE Together which has collaborated with POWER Interfaith, MILPA, the Shut Down Berks Detention Center movement, and a little with the Poor People’s Campaign. Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism by Drew Hart, has received great reviews by Publisher’s Weekly and Englewood Review of Books. Endorsing this resource, Shane Claiborne said, “This book is a gift from the heart of one of the sharpest young theologians in the United States. Hold it carefully, and allow it to transform you--and our blood-stained streets.” As a text, Trouble I’ve Seen utilizes personal and everyday stories, Jesus-shaped theological ethics, and anti-racism frameworks to transform the church’s understanding and social witness. Trouble I’ve Seen focuses on white supremacy as an overarching framework for understanding racism, with careful attention to its systemic and socializing dimensions. However, unlike sociology textbooks on the subject Dr. Hart also considers the subversive vocation of Jesus and the nonviolent yet revolutionary implications his life ought to have for his followers today. His newest book project is entitled Who Will Be a Witness?: Igniting Activism for God’s Justice, Love, and Deliverance and will be published September 1, 2020. Who Will Be A Witness? invites the church to liberate its centuries long captivity to supremacist practices, and to expand its restricted political imagination in view of Jesus’ messianic reign. The book guides disciples of Jesus into joining God’s delivering presence through scriptural reasoning, historical reflection, practical theology for congregational life, social change theory, and the Christian call to love our neighbor. It is written for congregations, leaders, and students that understand that pursuing God’s justice goes way beyond waiting around for electoral seasons to come around. It is about the ongoing vocation of the Church right now, at the grassroots level, seeking after the wellbeing of their neighbors through faithful, strategic, and concrete action. Drew recently joined the Inverse Podcast team serving as a cohost along with Australian peace activist Jarrod Mckenna. Together they interview interesting people and explore how scripture can turn our ethical imagination and the violent and unjust systems of our world upside-down, which contrasts with interpreting the Bible as a tool for the status quo. Dr. Drew Hart was the recipient of bcmPEACE’s 2017 Peacemaker Award, a 2019 W.E.B. Dubois Award from a Disciples of Christ congregation, and in October 2019, Dr. Hart was chosen as Elizabethtown College’s 2019 Peace Fellow. Each award recognized him for his local and national justice work and public theology. You can find Drew Hart on Twitter and Facebook, or you can catch him as he travels and speaks regularly across the country to colleges, conferences, and churches. Drew and Renee, and their three boys (Micah, Dietrich, and Vincent) live in Harrisburg, PA and attend Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren.

5 thoughts on “Racism at the Pool…

  1. This is simply unbelieveable. But then again this is what happens when people do not know Jesus (although I know many non-Christians who would be shocked as well).

    Some people will never understand what it feels like to be told you’re inferior directly and indirectly all the time. It can be overcome but it takes a tremendous amount of drive and energy.

    They need to see to it that those kids understand how to deal with this and rise above it.

  2. I think the issue is greater than whether someone is Christian or not, but whether it reflects true Christianity or American Christianity-ism. From the beginning it was white Christian slave owners oppressing many times Christian slaves. It was Frederick Douglass who noted all the way back then the issue was “true Christianity” vs. “Christianity of this land”. When we don’t understand the implications of Jesus for the here and now and our responsibility to not only save people for heaven but also liberate people and empower people from poverty and oppression, then we miss the full implications of Jesus’ ministry. I don’t believe that Christ has been faithfully reflected for our world, and I want to point in house first at infantile Christians (1 cor. 3:1-3), rather than those who are not Christian.
    But it is really sad to hear about such blatant and overt racism done to little children. While we know they will have to deal with it, as all of us have had to do as blacks in America, the truth is that there will remain psychological residue that they will never forget. Whether it develops into mistrust, stereotypes, hate, inferiority complexes, etc, there will be some effects as they as little children process the event that their minds can not fully comprehend at that age. And it leaves me wondering, when will the generational cycle ever end. For we could assume that they would all deal with something at some point in their lives, but not necessarily at that age and that outright racist.

  3. “And it leaves me wondering, when will the generational cycle ever end.”

    I would say, NEVER simply because within many cultures in other countries that are non-white there is a bias against those who are “darker”. I seem to remember the Shunimite woman mentioning it in the Song of Solomn.
    How can it be expected to end with whites when it’s just as previlent among non-whites?
    It will always be around.
    Hey, what is your take on the racist comments and rulings of Sonya Sotomayor as it pertains to her being considered a Supreme Court Justice? Does it matter that she is (or at least talks like) one?

  4. I’m inclined to believe The Young Turks got part of this backwards…
    First, let’s stipulate to a few things:
    -Private clubs are joined by people who see a value and a level of service they are willing to pay for.
    -The management of a club has a responsibility to maintain that value and level of service.
    -I do not read or hear that this was a “white only” pool club so I am assuming there were non-white members.
    -There was a group of kids from the city at the pool the week before this incident and the chaperones said the kids were treated very well.
    -The management was responsible for allowing this group to come in as a good will gesture since the public pools were not expected to open due to budget cuts (also – I’m sure there was a bit of business sense involved…a chance to make some extra money on this deal.) I do not see where they were being racist in any way.
    -Certain club members were the ones who were offended by this group of kids being there and voiced their displeasure and made racial comments, not management.

    I say – #1 Management reneged on it’s responsibility to maintain the expected level of service to it’s members (by allowing an overcrowded situation to develop) the shallow end of the pool could not accommodate that many little kids which created a hazardous and uncomfortable situation for regular pool members as well as those 60 kids.
    #2 The members who made racial comments (not those who simply left the pool, which could have been simply for safety reasons) should be relieved of their membership.

  5. Well… the manager was quoted as saying that the kids would change the “complexion and atmosphere” there. While the other racist comments were made by other members, this surely didn’t sound good being the first thing out of his mouth. And there are reports from other concerned members who after hearing about this incident, realized that it was basically all whites there. However, it is located in an extremely segregated white area anyway, so that is expected.
    I’m sorry, but there response directly following the racist response from several members was ignorant and racially insensitive at its best. They have the institutional responsibility to provide a welcoming atmosphere to everyone who uses their facilities. They should not have been bumped, they should have received an apology by the club, for how their members acted. That’s my opinion at least.

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