Monday, May 14, 2018

Ways We Make Minorities Invisible

I've had a good response to my previous post, 'No Room At The Inn' So I'll write more, trying to answer questions I've been sent. For now, here's some ways that we sadly make minorities visible yet invisible:

1. Photography:
We (conservative evangelicals in the UK) have a tendency of taking photos that suggest we have diversity in groups, whilst not at the same time allowing minorities to have influence. We make them visible in our photos, but in terms of influence, invisible.

2. Name dropping:
We mention the four black people, or council estate church plants we have, in a way that suggests we are diverse. But we don't let the same mentioned people have influence on how we do things. We make them visible in conversation, but invisible in policy making and planning.

3. Type Casting:
We ask a white working class pastor to speak on reaching the working classes, or the Indian pastor to speak on reaching Hindus. But we don't ask them to preach on Justification by Faith, or teach on Exegesis. We make them visible on stage for practical ministry tips, but invisible for contributing to doctrine.

4. Ignoring:
In meetings, we show deferential treatment to the majority culture boys, whilst often ignoring or downplaying the views of the minorities. Sometimes its even cringeworthy hearing majority culture leaders say how understanding they are of minorities, when you've been sitting there for an hour feeling talked down to. We are almost visible in terms of having a seat, but its a kiddie seat, we're invisible in terms of being considered an equal.

5. Training:
We recruit minorities on our training options, whilst not catering to the issues they are facing. When minorities speak up, they are often corrected and put in their place. On paper, the diversity is more visible, but in class, the student feels invisible as their community is ignored. Furthermore, the faculty is usually all white. Then, when minorities start their own training programs, we rarely support and promote these, making those programs invisible.

6. Poster-boying:
This ones a play on words for those who know what 'you're boying me' means. We poster-boy when we write articles about minorities in a way that demonstrates our patronage. This makes the minority visible, but its intended to make the patron even more visible. I've personally not had a problem with being a poster-boy at times, because I hope it will make council estate ministry more visible. But sadly, organisations that do this, often do not give their poster boys a seat at the table in terms of influence. We are used to recruit, but not to influence, thus invisible again.

I've now accidentally hit post instead of save, so here it is!!!!!!!