Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Group 3 Introduction

Well Hi , this is a slightly delayed introduction to Group 3, but it’s totally worth the wait. Group 3 is made up of some very different people who have very different views on the world .Our entries will explain , what we think and who we are. To help you understand us a little better we’ll give you our stats so that you can understand our perspectives and why we feel the way we do.

Ashley Anderson: Caucasian, 20, Female, Colorado
Chris Clark: Caucasian, 20, Male, Texas
Sonja Davidson: Caucasian, 20, Female, California
Chipo Hamukoma: Black, 18, Female, South Africa
Joseph Hawkins: Caucasian, 20, Male, Tennessee
Brittany Thomas: African American, 21, Female, Texas

Day 1 -Little Rock Arkansas
Little Rock Central High School was our introduction to the Civil Rights. Having travelled since around 6 am we arrived in Little Rock rather tired, but excited. One thing that struck most of us was just how beautiful the High School was and that was really juxtaposed with the ugliness of the things that happened there.

Our group discussions that day were a little stilted and we really didn’t get as involved as we could have because we didn’t know each other well and were being far too polite and politically correct. One of the issues that came up was whether or not it really is the government’s responsibility to bring about economic equality or whether we should leave it to private sector to sort out? We’re still unsure as to what would be best. We then got onto segregation and who it truly benefited and Chris said “I can’t find any argument for de facto segregation.” But that then left us with the question, should we force integration now?

We then got on to the topic of whether race relations are any better in the North than they are in the South in present day and we concluded that we didn’t know . Because both Ashley and Sonja said, they’d never seen or experienced racism, but then I (Chipo) pointed out how it’s possible to be oblivious to racism if it’s something you’ve never experienced yourself. Joe then told us how the Obama election had removed any glaze he’d put over racism in his own environment, revealing how he knew a lot more people with racist views than he thought he did.

The day wasn’t all intense conversation and serious discussion and we had a lovely, light-hearted evening at the house of Matt Schnaar, another student on the trip. Thank you so much Mr. and Mrs. Schnaar, we had a great night!

Day 2 - Memphis Tennessee
Day 2 started with a church service at Memphis Boulevard Community Church, a historically black church in inner-city Memphis. It was an experience. For many of us it was our first taste of African American church culture. The congregation was really warm and welcoming and that led us to question why there were no white families in the church? Brittany explained to us that ever since the days of slavery, the African American Church had acted as a basis for African American culture, a place were people would go to for both spiritual and cultural growth. How the church is often the epicenter of people’s lives and helps us to focus on the things which affect our community. So if you lived in an all white/all black community, the chances would be that your spiritual life would be segregated too. However, the question that still lingered was how can we claim to be one body of Christ, if we’re still segregated on colour lines and have no idea of the greater church body outside our racial group or denomination.

Our afternoon was spent at the National Civil Rights museum where we had a phenomenal tour guide who led us through the unremitting fight for freedom. We all really enjoyed it and felt it was a good ‘taster’ of the places we were going to go .We felt like the actions of the freedom fighters inspired us to question what issues we needed to fight for today and whether we were willing to give up some of our rights to do so.

Again, the evening ended on much lighter note where we were given free time to explore Beale St and enjoy Memphis’s wonderful music culture.

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