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Supporter's view: It's nothing personal, it's about the systems

The Peace Church Dismantling Racism team firmly believes an opportunity exists now for us as a community to do something we have been doing as a congregation for the past 10 years. The backlash over the launch of the anti-racism Un-Fair Campaign ...

The Peace Church Dismantling Racism team firmly believes an opportunity exists now for us as a community to do something we have been doing as a congregation for the past 10 years. The backlash over the launch of the anti-racism Un-Fair Campaign in Duluth last week is an opportunity to look in the mirror when it comes to issues of race and privilege.

We have found it to be a very life-affirming process, particularly as we moved past the point of looking primarily at the individual level to a more systemic and organizational one. The question is no longer, "Are we good people?" Rather it is, "Are there things in our systems and the way we do things that prevent us from being the congregation we want to be?"

It is important to focus on the systemic level because the reality is that the inequity and unfairness around race can exist and be sustained without white people being bigots. Systems can function to maintain racial injustice even if the individuals inside the system are not prejudiced.

Some people may feel that addressing issues of race openly may serve to separate us. After all, there really is only one human race. Yet in our society, people are treated differently based on their race. We have found that looking at these different experiences has not divided us but rather connected us while fostering cross-cultural relationships.

Of course, all of us are shaped by much more than our racial identity. Yet it seems that for those of us who are white, it is much easier not to pay attention to the ways that our being white affects who we are and where we fit in society.

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While not always easy, this journey continues to be a very meaningful one for us and for many people in our congregation.

We hope the Un-Fair Campaign will show the community as a whole that while not always an easy path it is one well-worth traveling.

Maggie Fink of Duluth is chairwoman of the Peace Church Dismantling Racism team. She wrote this on behalf of the team. Peace Church is at 1111 N. 11th Ave E., Duluth.

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