I’m not going to claim that I’m the best qualified person to lead this discussion, nor am I the smartest person in this area (or any area, for that matter). I’m not going to claim that I’m solving the world’s problems or even making a dent in this racism thing. But I do think that one of the reasons we have not yet been able to truly cure ourselves of the disease of racism is because we have not yet imagined a world in which it doesn’t exist.
And we can’t create something we have not first imagined.
If white people can’t picture in their minds what a world without pseudo-supremacy and privilege might look like, we’re not going to be able to go about trying to create it. If we don’t understand that we could have meaning and purpose in that world, that just because others are thriving doesn’t mean that we will stop thriving — when we can understand that and actually see it in our mind’s eye, we can begin to turn it into a reality. We will stop clinging to our white privilege like a life raft on a sinking ship. We begin the true work of our hands — the construction of a new, beautiful world that is collaborative, inclusive, and just.
Kinda like that kin-dom of God Jesus used to talk about all the time. Remember that?
So again, I’m not the best person to be leading these conversations, but I can’t sit idly by anymore and watch the world go to hell in a handbasket, as my grandmother used to say, and not do my part to fight racism. And so, the White on White podcast was born.
The purpose of the podcast is to deconstruct whiteness, and begin to try this imagination experiment. I talk to various white people — authors, thought leaders, teachers and students — to ask this question and see what we can come up with. I also speak with people of color, because any good bout of self-reflection requires some serious objective feedback.
We’re on iTunes , as well as Pocket Casts and Google Play (on Google Play, search for Kerry Connelly). We’re 7 episodes in so far, and the conversations have been amazing. Here are some of the guests I’ve interviewed in the released episodes:
Carolyn Helsel, author of Anxious to Talk About It: Helping White Christians Talk Faithfully About Racism
In our first episode, Carolyn talks about her book, white tears, and how racial identity develops. Carolyn brought me healing when she assured me that my tears are an appropriate response to the grief I feel at how people of color have been treated; of course, we need to be careful of centering those tears. Listen to our first episode on iTunes for more info!
Carla and I have a fascinating conversation about hierarchy, centered whiteness, and what to do about it. We talk about active ways that white people can use our privilege to be a true ally. These are difficult conversations, but important ones.
Lisa Boeving-Learned, retired police officer, retired military, and political candidate.
In this incredibly important episode, Lisa and I talk about police brutality with an honest, insider’s take. Lisa balances compassion for the very difficult work that police officers do, with an unflinching eye on how they need to do better. She takes on the systemic criminalization of poverty and race, and she sheds light on how some police practices lead to the situations we’re seeing in the headlines today.
Nadine Smith, Award Winning Journalist-Turned-Activist
In this thoughtful and enlightening discussion, Nadine and I talk about what it really means to be an ally, confederate statues, and the legacy of slavery and racism in America. Nadine has a long history of covering police as a journalist, and now leads one of the leading civil rights organizations in Florida. This was one of my favorite discussions on the podcast.
Mason Mennenga, Founder of Religionless Church
In this episode, my friend Mason and I discuss the time we came face to face with white American male privilege and fragility, and we examine the dynamics of what happened when it was confronted, head on. Mason is an excellent conversationalist, a good friend, and definitely someone to watch.
As a bi-racial man who grew up in the foster system and was adopted by a middle-class white family at age 9, Ben has a unique perspective on both blackness and whiteness. He shares his brilliance here about the intersectionality of race and economic class, and helps me imagine a new white identity without pseudo-supremacy in which we can all sit at table together and listen to each other.
Rev. Dr. David N. Moore, author of Making America Great Again
In this episode, Dr. Moore and I talk about the church’s complicity in racism, the NRA, and what it all has to do with Les Miserables. This is an animated conversation about race, colonialism, and the power dynamics of race.
Coming Up In Future Episodes:
From left to right:
Actor & Writer Gioia DeCari, Hip Hop Artist Genesis Be, Writer Dr. Samantha Kline, activist & theologian Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, writer and activist Mark Charles, writer Kathy Khang, activist Jazz Fitzgerald.