Monthly Archives: January 2018

The Price of Disrupting Oppression

This past year has seen the increased participation of many citizens in activism and protests of all kinds.  A number of athletes have engaged in quiet protests about racial oppression that has generated harsh criticism and reaction at the highest levels.  This New York Times article from September, “The Awakening of Colin Kaepernick,” gives unique insights into the nature of Kaepernick’s activism and resistance that goes far beyond his quiet protests on the playing field.

“The actual point of protest is to disrupt how we move about our daily lives,” Wade Davis, a former professional football player and a black activist who often works with athletes, said in this article. “What Kaepernick did was disrupt one of our most treasured sports. Whether you agree with his tactics or not is one type of conversation. The larger conversation is what he is protesting about. The fact that so many don’t want to have that specific conversation speaks to the fact that they know what is happening in America is beyond tragic.”

Many other athletes have protested silently.  Tommy Smith and John Carlos did not take a knee, but gave a fist at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City during the U.S. national anthem.

harold at AFHM

This raises a number of questions: How can we, each of us, disrupt the daily lives of the people we contact?  What symbolic gesture do we carry that constantly reminds our friends and contacts of the high stakes in the lives of black men and boys especially? In addition to taking to the streets, what can we do to create change?  Even if Kaepernick’s gesture may fade, it raises the idea of constantly renewing our efforts to keep getting attention and disrupting the status quo.

Accessing the Forum
Please remember to come into the church from the large parking lot on the north side of the church that is accessible off of Glencoe St, that is just east of the church. The door to the church you should use is the one that opens onto that parking lot. If you have passengers with mobility difficulties, you can pull up to that entrance and then park in the lot or on the street. This month we will be in the upstairs meeting room, so take the elevator to the second floor and step straight ahead across the hall into our meeting room.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Many of you have heard that Park Hill United Methodist Church is now a sanctuary location with a family currently seeking refuge there.  Security has been enhanced as we continue to be welcomed to use the building for our meetings.  We can only enter the building from the parking lot where someone will be there to open the door for us.  You may not be able to gain access if you are more than 45 minutes late.

We are expanding the scope of the Race Forum to include periodic Saturday sessions (not every month) to focus on book reviews and other special topics.  We are growing a lot and there are so many things happening in our society that need to be discussed and investigated.

The first special session will be:

Saturday, January 20, 2018

10:30 AM

At Park Hill United Methodist Church

Dr. Bob Atwell will lead us in a review and discussion of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, by Ibram X. Kendi.  In this provocative book Kendi, a professor of history and international relations at American University, Washington DC, argues that discriminatory actions come first.  Then racist ideas are developed to justify them. Kendi says that his “definition of a racist idea is a simple one: it is any concept that regards one racial group as inferior or superior to another racial group in any way.”  He explores the history of racist ideas through three distinct approaches: segregationists, assimilationists, and antiracists.

samped from the beginning


I have asked the Tattered Cover to make sure plenty of copies of this book are available at the Colfax store.  You will find paperback copies for $19.99 in the new non-fiction section.

Harold Fields