Addressing ethnocentricity; practical steps

This is part of a presentation we did as a PhD cohort here:

Two key questions.

  1. What practical changes can we make in our churches and organizations?
  2. What practical changes can we make personally or as families?

Three Steps: Awareness, Action (personal and organizational), and Accountability (Assessment)

Awareness [Education]:

  • Watch for ethnic injustice everywhere and educate yourself about it.
  • Assume that you are part of the problem
  • Learn everything you can about history and culture from a perspective other than your own.
  • Learn the dynamics of social identity
  • How systems preserve power and privilege
  • How systems exclude or marginalize others
  • Beware of “us-them” thinking and speech
  • Put yourselves in the position of the other group
  • Churches should teach about ethnicity and justice

Action (personal)

  • Make ethnic peace, justice and reconciliation a priority
  • Be intentional and proactive (reach out)
  • Actively give up comfort, power & privilege
  • Be incarnational/relational
  • Seek out people from other groups and develop deep relationships with them
  • Speak out on their behalf among your own
  • LOVE

Action (organizational)

  • Team up with others
  • Focus on systems (Good individuals will fail in bad systems)
  • Strategically organize
  • Study and analyze institutions
  • Make short range, mid-range & long-range goals
  • Work towards making systems more equitable
  • Celebrate and encourage diversity

Assessment & Accountability

  • Be intentional about forming relationships with those who are not like you
    • Keeps us honest & helps us avoid blind-spots
    • Helps us effect real change rather than things that simply make us feel better about ourselves
  • Focus first on listening and learning
  • Requires self-sacrifice, humility, flexibility and sustained effort
  • Create a safe environment where criticism and suggestions are warmly welcomed and appreciated
  • Make your goals for change measurable and verifiable.
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3 thoughts on “Addressing ethnocentricity; practical steps

  1. brad wright says:

    Given the location and composition of your cohort, I imagine that you can speak on this issue with more authority than most. Thanks for the thoughts.

  2. Ben says:

    Brad,
    Ironically, a lot of these draw from good racial justice work done in the US. The location and composition of the cohort has definitely helped us develop, refine, expand, and apply them directly here.

  3. […] 2: Questions to ask yourself and your organization? In a post last week, I highlighted some practical ways to begin addressing ethnocentrism that we have worked on together here. Here are some personal and organizational questions to help […]

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