Racism in the midst of a pandemic: How fear creates a mindset for racism to exist.
Coronavirus has brought out the best in some… and the worst in others. More acts of racism have been exhibited in this time against Asian culture. From national leaders to individuals like you and me, things, like calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” and shaming cultural mannerisms, has been on the rise.
This week, we are talking with Jordan and Camille, creators and hosts of the Youtube channel, Halidom. We originally scheduled this time to talk about racism towards the Muslim culture but we expanded our horizons mid-conversation to dig into racism as a whole, how to catch and break free for racist mindsets, and most importantly, how to understand each other and extend grace when needed.
Due to us broadening our topic, this week will be talking more about general racism while our next episode with Jordan and Camille (part 2) will be diving into racism against specifically the Muslim culture.
This week we talk about:
- Racism surrounding COVID-19
- Artificial unity rallying around what we are against
- The Attachment of “White” ideologies to the Christian faith
- The dangers of not thinking for yourself
- How scripture has been used to justify racism
- Racism is a mentality you adapt but it is not who you are
- Is Racism against white culture a thing?
- White is its own culture
- Getting stuck in a problem vs talking to find a solution
Elaine Johnston 0:00
Hey everyone, welcome to the reckless pursuit This week we are sitting with Jordan and Camille from halidom. How are you guys?
Unknown Speaker 0:07
Good, good. How are you guys? We are
Elaine Johnston 0:11
just trying to handle everything that’s going on in the world. But we’re great.
Camille Clark 0:16
Cody Johnston 0:19
So today we’re talking about something very interesting, because I feel like I’ve heard a lot of one side of this, but I’m really interested to hear a more broad perspective. We’re talking about racism, specifically with the Muslim culture, but just a little bit of all of this together. And what kind of spurred this on? I think it’s just a lot of racism toward Asians in our time right now with Cova 19 coronavirus, and I feel like at least that’s kind of what started this in my mind and this kind of becoming a topic that’s even been brought to the forefront. But I don’t know it seems like kind of a weird transition. But I guess it’s one of those things where we’ve been thinking about this one thing and then now all of a sudden, this other thing is kind of relevant in the media again, people being racist towards Asians, just because of this virus blaming, I guess like Asian Americans, even Chinese everything. So I’m just gonna open this up to y’all and we can just kind of pave the way for this conversation with however, we kind of transition here. So what got this on both of your minds, I know y’all are about to do some videos about the dollar time this goes out there probably already be out. So y’all already have some resources available to further this conversation. But I’m just gonna open it up to y’all.
Jordan Rhea 1:30
Like you said, there’s this kind of undercurrent that’s been going on recently. I mean, not just with, with like, a racism aimed at Asian people, but also just, you know, continuing racism aimed at people from the Middle East and specifically Muslims. And yeah, I mean, it’s a huge problem in the general population, but also it’s a huge problem, even in churches, you know, it’s not uncommon to hear this stuff from pulpits. You know, it’s not uncommon to hear this stuff and the kids and you know, It’s just this issue that I think we as Christians need to, you know, address head on, confront, tear down, deconstruct, and, you know, I think it’s it’s kind of this underlying sickness that can really fester, you know, in communities. And the thing is, you know, especially with, like Islamophobia, I think you find this both in communities, you know, on the right, and sometimes in communities on the left. And I think that, you know, it’s something that challenges our, our humanity as we try to sort of reach out and understand, you know, people of other faiths, people who are with other backgrounds, people who are different from us, and I just think it’s just a really important topic to look at and discuss.
Camille Clark 2:43
Yeah, I totally agree. And I feel like for me, this whole idea of Islamophobia has been so ingrained in like, the culture that I grew up around that I almost stopped noticing it, you know, maybe like because I guess the first time I was aware of it was when 911 happened in I was like, seven, maybe eight. So it’s just been a part of my life. And so it’s been really interesting to kind of deconstruct even some prejudices that I didn’t even know I had, you know, talking through all this stuff. So yeah,
Jordan Rhea 3:17
yeah. And also, I think one of the things that links it to sort of the current situation with the corona virus is I think what people are looking for is escape code. You know, they want a reason to a reason to believe that we don’t have to do anything that everything’s fine. It’s not a problem with us. It’s not a problem with you know, anything that we’ve ever done. You know, we can just blame it entirely on this whole other entire group, and then we can kind of just keep on moving on with our lives. However, however they’ve been, however, we’ve been doing things in the past. For instance, people have been calling it the Chinese virus. Yeah.
Yeah, and in particular has been called Yeah.
We’ll leave that to the listener to figure out no name
Elaine Johnston 4:07
Jordan Rhea 4:10
But, but but you know, people who have been defending that terminology said, Well, you know, this is how we’ve always done it, you know, this is, this is how we named viruses and one that’s not true. You know, the World Health Organization has a specific method for naming viruses. And they named it, you know, like, 19. Right, they gave it a different name than that. So, I think, you know, and then also, there is actually like, a historical legacy of scapegoating racial groups, you know, by naming these viruses after communities, specifically vulnerable communities. There have been viruses in the past that have been blamed on black people. There have been viruses blamed on Jewish people, there have been virus, you know, like, yeah, if that’s the historical precedent that you want to cite in order to You know, defend your idea that’s you’re opening yourself up to a lot more criticism, you know,
Cody Johnston 5:06
something I wanted to throw in there real quick kind of like, I guess a really like relevant because I’ve heard I guess parallels between this a lot. The Spanish Flu has nothing to do with Spain it was started in Kansas like it was called Spanish Flu because we had an international community or what a national communication lockdown for World War One I believe. And so Spain was the first person to report the virus but it started in farms in Kansas. And so like that’s just to kind of like feed in like actual examples for people to kind of chew on so sorry to cut you off there but go ahead.
Jordan Rhea 5:38
Oh, no, you’re fine. I you know, and I think what it does like the the more insidious thing that it does, is it you know, instills this like idea that Oh, well this this group is unclean you know, I you know, I’ve heard people will talking about this whenever people describe, you know, the people who, who first the first cases of this disease You know, people describe them like, you know, like, Oh, this disgusting filthy, you know, like you just hear this sort of like purity language pop up and and specifically like racial purity language kind of under underneath there and it’s just like it can become really, really disturbing really, really fast but I don’t think people are aware. I mean, some people definitely are aware but I don’t think everybody who’s using this language is completely aware of that like historical precedent, you know, when it comes to the other thing that happens when we use this kind of defensive language.
Elaine Johnston 6:32
Yeah, and there’s kind of like an us versus them mentality, even without have like, we’re clean. We didn’t call, I guess America specifically, like, we’re clean. We didn’t cause this. We didn’t do those things. They brought it here and now we’re affected from it. But it’s not just America. It’s not just China. It’s all over the world. Like everybody is experiencing these things. The world is hurting, like, all over and it’s not just countries against countries. And it’s so interesting because I teach VIP kid which is teaching Chinese students English online. And so typically they take off the whole month of February for Chinese New Year. And which is sad because that’s when this stuff really started happening over in China. And they weren’t able to leave their house. They weren’t even allowed to have birthday cake for their birthdays. They like weren’t able to go to the grocery store. I saw parents in the background wearing masks and everything. And it was just very devastating because normally February is a really fun month for them. They celebrate all year long they they celebrate their culture and their diversity. And it was just so disheartening hearing even Chinese students saying why does America hate us or America caused this to us? Or like it was their fault like these little kids thought it was their fault that they were causing all of this. And it’s just so interesting to see like when it started coming to America and other countries, just the way that we’ve handle it. have handled it as a whole, and just the us versus them mentality. And like I said, it’s not just us versus them. It’s it’s all of us.
Camille Clark 8:08
Yeah. Wow. That’s so heartbreaking to hear how it’s affecting kids because, I mean, I work with kids too, and I just can’t even imagine having to have that kind of conversation with him that just that really really breaks my heart you know. Wow.
Jordan Rhea 8:23
But I think the the thread that kind of connects all this stuff with you know, the the people’s ideas around the coronavirus, people’s ideas around Islamophobia. I think the thread through all of it is just fear. You know, and I think that when people are afraid, you know, it kind of shuts down your kindness, it kind of shuts down your generosity, it kind of shuts down your willingness to open yourself up, it kind of shuts down your willingness to see other perspectives, you know, like trying to protect yourself. Yeah, right. You close ranks, you know, put your guard up. And and there’s not much room left for compassion. And I think that’s one of the biggest through lines in with all this stuff regarding Islamophobia. You know, I think there’s a lot of misinformation out there that has led people to just simply be afraid, you know, and and as we know, you’ll fear is not the most rational, you know, state that a human being can be in, you know, you’re not thinking clearly you’re not thinking logically. But you know, you’re just thinking, Oh, my God, I feel like I’m in danger. I need to do something I need to lash out, I need to be active, I need to be aggressive, you know, and it kind of just brings all those things out of us.
Cody Johnston 9:43
So something that I kind of feel like is a contributor to this is you have general racism and we’ll get into the the part about Islamophobia in a second. We just decided to make this a two part so we’re just gonna, I think I’ll probably announce that
Unknown Speaker 9:58
Cody Johnston 10:00
Listen to this. You already knew this was coming, but we just decided this. But I think that we have this weird nationalism approach. And this is kind of what both you Jordan, anyone y’all were kind of touching on there is we have this nationalism oh I am we’re better than them because we, we didn’t cause this. And it’s even it’s funny because we even turn on ourselves. I have a really good friend who’s also my cousin who we also work with pretty regularly. And he works retail for his nine to five job. And right now for precautionary measures. They’re wearing gloves and masks because he’s having to go around and do general retail stuff. And it was interesting to hear him talk about how like he’s treated like the plague, just because he’s wearing a mask. And we’ve you know, I’ve heard this numerous times before, like, oh, Asian cultures, they always wear masks because they’re always so sick because they live in filth. And, you know, they bring this on themselves because they eat random thing. Like there’s just all these weird, racist misunderstandings of culture? And what do you think causes like water? How do we get this nationalistic mindset? Like, where has this came from? And how do we catch it so we can try to better understand others? I’m just I’m trying to get a grasp on all of this, I guess.
Jordan Rhea 11:16
Yeah. I mean, I think that, you know, one of the ways that that groups sort of manufacture unity, you know, is to other people is to say, what we’re against, you know, who we oppose who we hate. I mean, that’s just one of the things that unfortunately, works with human beings. I mean, obviously, there’s other better ways to do it, to do it, and more healthy ways to do it. But, but I think that, you know, when you can get a group of people all angry at another group of people, that group of people is all of a sudden very unified, and I think, you know, people can capitalize on that and people can take advantage of that. And, you know, it’s just kind of this sad cycle that happens. But, but you know, also, like, I think that this is just something that that humans have experienced the kind of behavior that humans have, have engaged in for, like, you know, as long as there’s been humans. Yeah. You know, I think even if you look in, in the Old Testament, you know, you see a lot of like food restrictions and purity laws, like, this is pure, this is impure, you know, and you can see how, like, if you were to compare yourself to another culture, well, they’re doing all these impure things, because they’re not following our laws. You know, and I think that Americans now are doing the same exact thing. You know, in America, we don’t eat bats, you know. So, you there’s kind of this implicit like purity law against eating bats and anybody who breaks that is now impure and dirty, and, and, and, you know, gross and disgusting and we can and we can, other than and, and not feel bad about it, you know,
Camille Clark 12:55
we don’t apply that to ourselves because you look at other cultures like like to People, they don’t eat pork, they don’t eat anything that comes from a pig or like Hindu people don’t eat beef or like anything from a cow and things and like for us, we’re like, what’s wrong with that? You know, we’re totally fine eating our burgers and like, all that kind of stuff. So I think like, what it will take to kind of fix this mindset, I think, is humility on the part of Americans, you know, I think a thing that’s really ingrained in Western culture, and particularly American culture is arrogance. You know, we are always right, no matter the way we do things, the way that everybody should do things, you know, and so, I think, yeah, a lot of pride. Um, and it’s, it’s just such a culture that’s been so fostered for so long here, that I think it’s just gonna take humility from people, you know.
Jordan Rhea 13:51
Yeah. And I think part of the DNA of America is American exceptionalism. Yeah. You know, we feel like we stand out We feel like we are sort of the moral arbiter of the world we feel like exceptional we, you know, stand alone among nations, you know, and, and this idea makes it extremely easy to put yourself in that judge position of other countries and
Camille Clark 14:20
well, I will say, speaking as a person of color, I don’t your listeners probably won’t know this. I’m black. This is a very, I’m just gonna say white mentality. You know, like, I think being in a community that’s marginalized more often than not like it’s a lot easier to empathize with other cultures. And I think, just from my perspective, growing up in whiteness, my whole life, I kind of understand both sides so I can see the American nationalistic side and the sense of superiority without necessarily completely being allowed To participate in it because I’m on the other side to where there are other people that feel superior to me, you know?
Jordan Rhea 15:07
Yeah, yeah, I probably should have said, you know, it’s a integral part of white American identity. Yeah, but yeah, no, actually, I take offense of that white people have never done anything wrong.
Camille Clark 15:19
Okay. All right. So
Elaine Johnston 15:21
I was gonna ask, and this may be really personal, but I was actually going to ask Have you guys ever experienced any of that being an interracial couple? Have you ever experienced any of that racism or any remarks from the church or from just society as a whole because I know a lot of people specifically in the church have these weird views based on like old biblical law of like, you can’t have interracial marriages or
Cody Johnston 15:46
like every single person is you know, interracial. Yes.
Elaine Johnston 15:50
I know there’s like this weird stigma against Have you ever experienced any of that?
Jordan Rhea 15:55
I don’t think I have. I mean, I think would probably be I know that you’ve definitely experienced just racism in general. But like with regard to just the fact that we’re a couple, I don’t think I’ve experienced anything like that.
Camille Clark 16:09
I think for me, it’s been more like curiosity, like people just ask like, stupid offensive questions by accident, you know, but I think for the most part, we’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by pretty open minded people. You know, and I think most of the time, like, it’s when we’re outside of like, church experience, like, especially because our we’re at people tend to try to be more polite, who knows what they’re thinking in their minds when they walk away from us, you know, but I know like, we’ve been in certain areas where Yeah, we do get weird looks, and I probably notice it much more than he does. Because you can just kind of like walk around in the world, but I’m always kind of like, watching because I’m sensitive to that, you know, thankfully, we’re growing up in a day and age and we’ve got together in a day and age where people Much more accepting but sometimes you do you do just run into ignorant people, you know, there’s people, like when we do youth camps, we’re usually in these tiny little towns, and I’m the only person that looks like me there, you know, and you get old ladies that hold on to their purses when I walk by and like, just people that just like, will just stare at us like we’re just like zoo animals. Like, how did this happen? Yeah, you know, so so it’s definitely sometimes more uncomfortable.
Elaine Johnston 17:32
How do you think like the church specifically contributes to that and not not just specifically with you guys, but just racism as a whole everything that’s going on with coronavirus as a whole How do you think churches have contributed to that fear and, and that pride and arrogance? How do you think that some pastors and some churches are handling this in a negative way?
Jordan Rhea 17:54
Well, I think one of the biggest problems with like white Christianity in Specifically in the United States is just like this this like intertwining of Christian identity and white identity. And I think that that actually causes a lot of issues in in, in certain Christian circles, not just because it kind of distorts your view of the world, but you know, it distorts your view of whiteness by baptizing it. And you know, and it also distorts your view of Christianity by whitewashing it, you know, so neither, neither thing. I mean, obviously, I think Christianity is actually a good thing and a lot of sort of white identity politics are categorically bad, but both things sort of get distorted in our minds, you know, it causes it causes people to have just a lack of empathy and it causes people to, you know, have a stronger sense of us versus them, you know, and I think it’s just been really, really harmful.
Camille Clark 18:56
Well, I think a lot of it comes from leadership to react. People like Franklin Graham, like just saying crazy stuff, you know, and it’s hard like, because a lot of it is generational. Like, it gets passed down, you know, and it’s the same way it gets passed down the same way the Christian tradition got passed down, you know, and it’s kind of like those two things happened at the same time and in some respects, and so you get some people that are just straight up unwilling to educate themselves, and then they pass down that willful ignorance to their congregation. And so you get people like you were saying, like they they’re attaching this whiteness ideology with their Christian faith and in sometimes it gets hard to know which is which. And so, I don’t necessarily place a lot of the onus of that on just everyday like congregation members. Because I think a lot of times like, especially what you’re taught like in Christianity and growing up evangelical like we did you You are taught that whatever your pastor or what the leadership says, like, they’re hearing from God. And that’s what you believe in turn, you know, and so you get a lot of people that are not thinking for themselves because they’re being taught not to think for themselves. And so it just like turns into this huge snowball.
Jordan Rhea 20:18
Yeah. And, and I think it’s also important to realize that it’s not accidental that these two things have become intertwined. You know, they were purposefully, you know, brought together specifically, you know, during the time of slavery, and, and after, and, you know, into, like, Jim Crow and all that stuff. But these two, these two ideologies were kind of forced together by people who wanted to defend an economic system that benefited them using the Bible using their spirituality, and it’s just so hard once once they were just slammed together. It’s so hard to break them back apart for a lot of people. Yeah. Like, I think there is this sense that people who hold racist views and people who engage in racist activities, you know, are certainly morally culpable for their actions. But there’s also like a, a big sense in which this is an educational issue. Because, you know, I think there are two kinds of racists, you know, racists who are just hateful people, and they want to hate. And then there are racists who were taught that that’s the only way that human beings can really organize themselves and how society can work. And I have a lot more sympathy for for that group because, you know, I, I feel like, you know, because even the way I grew up, and white suburbia, you know, as I grew older, there were things about my own past, you know, my parents aren’t racist, but I think we all kind of contributed to a racist system without knowing it for so many years. And there are things you know, even like these deep seated ideas that you kind of have to confront, even in yourself, as you know, like a modern, like, not racist or anti racist person today, you know, there’s still those lessons that society teaches you as a child that just are in your body, how your body is trained to have certain emotional reactions, how your body is trained to fear, how your body is trained to love and accept, you know, like, all that stuff is sort of racially coded from the time you’re a child in our society, and it’s just so hard to sort of pick that apart as an adult and, and, and to and to, like, Look, objectively sort of at your own self and say, Okay, what are the things that are actually true? And what are the things that seem so true that I just can’t even tell? Because of how ingrained they are? You know,
Cody Johnston 22:57
yeah, I really liked that you pointed out how Through our society so something I was going to kind of transition into a little bit is how our political stances and our faith have become way too close way to interwoven and it’s it’s very much used for agendas right at this point and I liked how you had said like how this has been going on for a while and how this was used to justify slavery used to justify certain lifestyles and the Bible has been used in that way. And still to this day, especially you know, radiating out from like the southern Bible Belt outward you have a lot of places still teaching these very things whether they realize it or not, they may not use the same words because slavery isn’t legal anymore and things like that but like the mindset still there it’s still echoing through that
Jordan Rhea 23:45
Yeah, racist language is constantly evolving and adapting to new situations.
Cody Johnston 23:50
And so what how do we educate people cuz I hear terms like, I guess like white culture, you hear black culture, these are still different If terms and as a white person who grew up in a super conservative circle, whenever someone says, Oh, well, that’s just I guess white culture, putting there you know, kind of being racist or maintaining a racist attitude, whatever that looks like, our first reaction is to go, I’m not a racist, like you’re just using racist terminology. And then we just kind of shut down from that side of things. And like to actually grow in that because let’s be honest, when you’re like you were saying, when you’re talking to your whole life, it’s hard to unlearn something you’ve been told your whole life is the way to go, especially to take on a different mindset because I don’t think the goal and it correct me if I’m wrong here, Camille, I don’t think the goal is to take on the mentality of Oh, I’m a racist, or I need to change is to take on the mentality of we’re all created equal, despite our upbringing, is that is that the goal here is that I guess Ultimately, the goal we’re trying to get to and then if so, how do we change that mindset with the terminology, we’re using For people who are so ingrained in this, that they don’t know how to get out of it, it almost seems like an attack to them whenever you start bringing this up to them.
Camille Clark 25:08
Yeah, you know, I think I would say like, I agree that the goal is not to just be able to tolerate each other. But I think the goal is to be able to see different cultures and honor the beauty of all of them, you know, and so I i think it’s okay, that white people have a culture, you know, and I think that that’s just now becoming a thing that people are acknowledging that white culture is a culture, it’s not necessarily just the default, you know. So, I think it’s okay to acknowledge those things. And I think also, what I’m starting to see is that we’re getting to the point of realizing that it’s not enough to just be 90 is not racist. You know, it’s like, oh, we put black people in these pictures over here. We’re not racist. You allow Mexican people to come to this school. We’re not racist, you know, but the goal is to To be actively anti racist, which is something that Jordan and I have been kind of digging into and trying to learn about. And I think there’s lots of resources out there. And I think the biggest way to be anti racist is to educate, and then advocate, you know, so you have to be willing to educate yourself, you have to be willing to hear things that are unpleasant, and you have to surround yourself with information, surround yourself with culture. And that is, in my opinion, that’s the only way to change hearts is by exposure and education, you know,
Jordan Rhea 26:41
yeah. And I think for, you know, for white people trying to engage with this idea, I think one of the things that hinders white people from really kind of digging in is that sometimes people see racism as this is a racist is what you are, you know, It’s like an essential component of a person, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s like a person is racist, you know. And that kind of that idea i think is less helpful because, you know, I think it kind of diverts our attention away from, you know, what’s really important and where we can really make an impact. So, you know, like, I don’t think I think that people do racist things. I think that people have racist ideas. But you know, the degree to which somebody is contributing to systems of racism and the degree to which somebody is opposing systems of racism changes moment to moment. You know, I think clearly like you could say people who have consistent patterns of racism you know, you might say, Okay, yeah, that person is a racist, you know, even in in sort of more progressive circles. I think it will help white progressives to say, okay, you know, I can I can I can be comfortable with the idea that I’m not a You know, essentially a racist, you know, in my very big butt, you know, am I contributing to economic or cultural oppression today? You know, in the or in this moment, am I am I contributing to the progress of racism today? Am I am I contributing to things that harm disproportionately, you know, people of color. And so you know that in that, like reframing it that way, I think allows us to sort of engage with the issue without that defensive shield coming up. Because if anybody says, oh, you’re being racist, well, you know, like, oh, wow, you’re attacking my very being, you’re attacking Who? My idea about who I am, you’re attacking my identity by calling me racist, but if we can say, you know, right now, you’re, you’re contributing to a system of exploitation. That is racist, right? And then I can be like, Oh, you know what, yeah, you’re right. You know, I am that’s something that I was Was unwittingly doing. And it’s not it’s not about you know my identity, it’s about my actions, you know and dealing with our actions This is something that’s way more, that’s way easier to change than just like, Oh, I need to change my entire identity and conception of myself. You know,
Elaine Johnston 29:16
I was just gonna say I love what Camille said about honoring different cultures. I think that there’s beauty in diversity, but we can’t let diversity become divisive. Whenever we’re like, oh, well, my culture is better than yours. That’s when it becomes divisive. But when you’re when you say, Oh, this culture represents this your culture represents this how can we bring those together? How can we embrace each other I feel like that’s where you start to find the humility that’s where you start to find the education and and advocating for each other instead of saying, well I’m better because I have this and you don’t kind of thing.
Cody Johnston 29:51
Well and Camille something else you were saying to kind of tie that together. I’ve never heard of people using white culture as its own culture. Why I’ve legit never heard that that was completely new to me. I want to like thank you for that. Because I feel like when we stop saying, okay, yours is the default. And so everything else has to be held to this standard. It puts people on a level playing field at this point, like no longer is, you know, my culture because I’m probably as white as white can get, like, you know, I’m no longer held to this pedestal because like, my goal is to not belittle someone else. And I know I have to actively work at that because I’ve grown up in a society where whether I realize it or not, I’ve been taught things throughout my life, that belittle other cultures. And I’m actively doing my best to work those out. But I’ve always felt like, I may not have as much of a voice and I know this is a big thing right now too, is like people are racist against white people now, and I was actually gonna ask, Do you think that’s a real thing? But I kind of see this different thing is like, Okay, well if you’re the yardstick Everyone’s holding everything to like, of course, you’re I don’t know, it’s just it’s this weird manipulation where I feel like, I don’t want to say anything because I’m just a white guy. And I’m just another white guy, and I’m so sick of old white dudes telling me how to live my life. So
Elaine Johnston 31:16
I was gonna say that you’ve often found your voice because you are a straight white male. And you felt like you weren’t able to say, Well, this is how I feel about something because someone would put you
Cody Johnston 31:28
on that pedestal because people would think I was trying to belittle how I felt because that’s the default reaction, right? Like, because that’s how it’s been for so long. Just because I have an opinion doesn’t mean I’m belittling someone else’s. But that’s how it’s instantly taken. Because that’s the I guess the the culture we have lived in is if I say something, I’m belittling your culture. So does does white racism exist? Is that a thing? I don’t I don’t I’m not trying to say it is but like, how do we shift that mindset?
Jordan Rhea 31:55
One thing I just want to one of the ironic things about like the intertwining of Like Christian identity and why identity is, you know, like, if you look at the New Testament, you know, all the white people, I guess are like, probably the Italians like the Romans. Yeah. And they’re all bad guys in the story, you know, like, it’s funny how just like people, you know, take these stories and they’re like, Oh, yeah, why people must be the good guys, because, you know, that’s sort of what I was raised to believe and kind of read that in there when, you know, in the actual story, all the wires are terrible.
Unknown Speaker 32:30
Camille Clark 32:33
I think it’s interesting. I want to ask you a clarifying question. So when you’re saying and you feel like when you give your opinion, are you finding that you’re, you’re getting this kinds of negative responses from like people of color are you talking about when you’re just kind of like putting your opinion into the atmosphere.
Cody Johnston 32:52
So there’s been a couple different scenarios and I just want to go ahead and start by saying, I do not feel like I have ever been racially discriminated against by any means. So I’m taking that off the table. I feel like because I’m a white male, people instantly expect me to try to belittle them. And I don’t know if that’s so a couple instances, I guess I can kind of give. I was in a Facebook group. It’s a rather large group for a rather famous podcast out for just not mentioned on air here. But that group specifically caters to people who are, I guess, if you the more outlier, you seem to be in terms of like, I guess social standards, like if you’re, the more further away from a white guy you are, the more your opinion is valued. And I understand how this has happened because for so long, it’s been a pyramid where people like me, you know, of my racial descent have sat on top and everyone else is below us. And I get that I know I understand colonialism. I understand. Like Jordan was saying with Racism has been sewn in through slavery and all of that. And I guess for me, someone who wants to view things more level, people ask opinions, and I would give just a general opinion like the rest of everyone that wasn’t anything. Negative doesn’t have anything to do with race or anything like that. Nothing with that. But instantly I would be attacked because I’m just a white guy trying to push my agenda. And so my voice would be sucked out. Another example is I had someone who in one of my videos for music that I do, I had mentioned as tech Indian instead of as tech Native American for an instrument my favorite instrument it’s an aka Rena, I know I’m Legend of Zelda nerd. I get all that. So, uh, but I was talking about the history of the Macarena. And I had said, as tech Indian, I grew up in a conservative Christian school and it says Indian in our textbook, the shopping center, I shop at his Indian Head shopping center. Like, it didn’t even occur to me. Yeah, and I understand. That’s a ffensive to someone who grew up as Native American, I understand that might be offensive to them. I meant no offense by it. But that’s kind of that whole unlearning some of the more I guess those those terminologies and stuff, but to me this is still actively use I live in Arkansas right down the road is the it’s Oh, it’s toltec Indian burial grounds. And you can go there, which is probably disrespectful in and of itself, but it exists and it’s right down the road for me. So I’m just using terminology that I’m used to. Well, I had someone come and make a whole video tearing me down for using this terminology even after I apologized for it, and just completely tore me a new one and tried to rally a group of people to come and attack me. And there was about 100 of them that literally just came to try to intentionally destroy what I said, which was an accident. And so I understand the realness of I guess I’m trying to play devil’s advocate here a little bit too for people who are white and grew up in white culture. How do we justify what is positive growth versus what is too far? Where does that line fall? How do we be constructive on it? Because I feel like a lot of people who are on the opposite side trying to not be racist feel like they’re attacked for smaller things, instead of being built up or trying to be taught, I guess I’m sorry, I don’t exactly know how to word this. Because honestly, this is not a topic I’m well educated on. So I really am looking to you for answers on this. So I apologize if any of my wording came across weird cuz I don’t exactly know how to word what I’m asking.
Camille Clark 36:31
Yeah, yeah. No, you’re good. I think I understand what you’re asking. And, at the core of it, what i what i hear you asking is like, Is it safe to grow in public? You know? And I think the short answer to that is yes, I think we live in kancil culture right now. So people are very sensitive because I think it’s just kind of like what I picture is kind of like a pendulum. So we’ve been on one end of the spectrum for such a long time, like you said, like were straight white men are King, you know, and in some ways, yes, we still live in that culture, you know, but we have a huge resistance. And sometimes it does take it swinging super hard to the opposite end of the spectrum. So what you might be feeling is what people of color have felt for a very long time, you know what I mean? And what you’re experiencing is a little bit of that, you know, so I think what I would encourage you to do is, is to a give yourself grace, because I know you understand your heart and I know, what you’re trying to do is be inclusive and yes, like, as far as the Native American slash, like, Indian indigenous person thing, like, just hearing from a lot of indigenous people, like it varies within that community as well, you know, and so for us that are in that community, it’s hard to know what the right word is. To say, and so if you get somebody from that community saying, like, Hey, this is the right word that we use, the easiest thing to say is, you know what, my bad, I will learn from that, you know, I think it’s okay for you to still share your heart and how you feel about things. And and, yeah, in some places, it’s not going to be a safe space for you, you know, just like, for me, there’s certain places that aren’t safe for me, you know, and that’s probably not super encouraging or helpful, but that’s just kind of where we’re at right now. You know what I mean? And the fact that you’re still continuing to try is a good thing. You know, you’re still continuing to try to educate yourself and ask these kinds of questions. But you know, not everyone is willing to educate you not everyone is willing to do that in in the kind way. And if you find something that’s not helpful to you, you we just got to move on, you know, and find what what does work and what is actually helpful.
Jordan Rhea 38:59
I was just gonna say Like, I do think it actually is, it’s really important and really valuable for our culture to elevate, you know, voices that have not been elevated in the past, you know, I think it’s really important to hear, you know, those stories and, and to value those opinions because they’ve been so valued. And actually, you know, I do think that, you know, white voices still, I mean, there are some spaces, you know, where if you’re a straight white guy, you don’t, you know, your voice isn’t as valued, but like, overall, you know, like, I think we still live in a system that’s weighted more toward benefiting, you know, straight white men than anybody else. So, you know, I think that that’s important to keep in mind. You know, I think Camille said earlier, you know, I think it’s also important to, you know, just realize that, you know, my for so long me being a straight white guy. My viewpoint was the default, you know, Shoulder stamped and approved viewpoint of no civilization, whatever. Yeah. And, and to, and to just be like, okay, you know, I grew up being told that I grew up, like learning that implicitly in a million small little ways. switching over to a, like a pattern of listening is gonna be is gonna be hard for some people. But, but that said, you know, like with the example that you gave, I don’t I really don’t think it’s, it’s valuable for us like to jump on people and attack people you know, because of like a piece of language that, you know, like, this is a big country, you know, English is a really diverse language, you know, and it takes time, you know, for for, you know, for like changes in the English language to make their way all, you know, from the east coast to the west coast to the middle, you know, and I don’t think we should I think we should be compassionate toward people who are You know, haven’t gotten to a certain point yet. I think that sometimes liberals and progressives, they’re like, Oh my god, I can’t believe you didn’t already think the thing that just happened last week. I’m so offended by that you didn’t. And, and like I get where they’re coming from, they’re, you know, they’re very passionate about, you know, this, this new thing and, you know, it’s better for culture, it’s better, you know, but like, I don’t think I don’t think we need to, you know, take an excitement for, you know, the good that that culture could become, and turn that into a reason to attack people and tear people down. And, and obviously, code you are not a giant, systematic society wide, you know, oppressed, oppressor, you know, like you, you know, so like, you’re just a guy on on YouTube, and if that’s if we’re attacking a guy on YouTube, who you know, uses a term And then apologizes for it. We are misdirecting our energy because there are actual giant systems of oppression, we can be tackling and then we can be working to, to break down into deconstruct. And, and Cody is not a system of oppression, that’s all right.
Camille Clark 42:18
Well, it’s just easier to do that because it’s so hard to like go after the whole system especially because 90% of the time, we’re just people behind our keyboard and it’s like, Okay, well, you know, what am I gonna do? So, I’m gonna let this one go. I haven’t,
Cody Johnston 42:34
you know, I was gonna say, which is I mean, that’s what I think all of us are looking to feel validated. Right. That’s what our society has done is devalued, specific groups of people. And we’re living in a time where we’re attempting to fix this. It’s not perfect by any means Far from it. But we’re attempting to fix this, at least a large bulk of people are attempting to fix this. And it’s easy because you can go into a place like that, just like I can I can sit here and talk negatively all day long about a specific pasture, you know, talking about my niche where we do. And I can have 30 people rallying behind me, and it feels nice, but it’s not constructive. It doesn’t actually fix the problem. It just talks about the problem. And talking more about a problem doesn’t fix a problem. And what I really hear through all this, I love what you said about how that is, in essence, a very small example of what different cultures have felt being political. And I think that that, like you said, the pendulum swinging back and forth, it takes a lot of that to finally land in a stable place. And I think that that’s a positive thing. And someone I can look at that and say, Hey, this is growth. This is progress, even if it’s misdirected, even in that, hey, that’s a good thing. And now, with the right words, we can open up a conversation and I can have a conversation with someone else. And with that being said, I really feel like what I’m hearing is it just it’s the heart It’s trying to look past the words to look past the misunderstanding of how to say the right thing, it’s not about saying the right thing or being politically correct in every way. It’s about really digging down to the heart of how someone is truly trying to exist.
Elaine Johnston 44:11
The reckless pursuit as a whole strives to be a safe place for people to ask unsafe questions. And I feel like the way to do that is extending grace towards people is extending education and honoring diversity without being divisive. And having these conversations, these are the conversations that are actually going to have change and power to our words instead of just bickering online back and forth over you know, minute things when we can actually be having wholesome conversations, constructive conversations and actually gearing towards the ultimate goal of loving people and actually honoring people.
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