Showing posts from November, 2020

Mayor, Native Lives Matter

To say that I am disappointed with the response of our Riverton Mayor, Richard Gard, to a reasonable request from one of the Tribes for cooperation in the response to COVID-19 in our community would be an understatement. Articles in the  Riverton Ranger  and the  Wind River News  by Katie Roenigk quotes Mayor Gard as saying at last Tuesday’s City Council meeting that a tribal representative had asked him if he would support “the closing of Riverton, like they have closed the (Wind River) Casino and other things. I had to very pointedly say no, I can’t support that,” he said. “People have the right and the ability to pursue life and liberty.” First, the Mayor misstated the Tribal request that Riverton businesses be closed; the representative was asking for cooperation that would slow down the spread of the virus that is disproportionately affecting Native Americans in Fremont County due to health disparities from historic trauma, poverty and discriminatory social environmental factors.

Self-Reflection on Implicit Bias

  This past week the Pilgrimage to the Land of Love, an on-line program through the Mountain Sky Conference of the United Methodist Church, focused on implicit bias to learn how we unknowingly perpetuate racism. I share my reflections. I define a bias against others because of the color of their skin, whether we are aware of the bias or not, to be racism. I clarify this because in a recent discussion on Facebook, a friend commented that having an implicit bias against people of color did not make them a racist. She seemed to consider only acts that were motivated by race intentionally harmful toward another person as being racist. I believe such a narrow definition fails to undo racism. We must go deeper, which means we white people need to understand and own our own biases if we are to make meaningful change. Included in Thursday’s exercise was the opportunity to take an on-line test designed to reveal implicit bias. I had taken such a test a few years ago that indicated that when it

Grace vs. Outrage

  I often feel as if I am failing in my attempts to undo racism. When I talk to some people about it, their defenses go up and I realize that no amount of explaining will change anything. I leave such conversations frustrated with only a little hope that maybe someday they will reflect further and figure out that I was right. Or I wonder had I made my points in a different way, maybe he or she would have understood. I feel anger, outrage, at the other person, the situation and myself. Why? Because I lost. I failed. That is a sign that it has become about my winning. That leaves me feeling outrage and failure. What if I come to it from a position of grace instead? What if I recognize that by God’s grace, I have insights that others may not have, not because I am better than they are, but because of life experiences God has given me? What if it is not my fault that other people are not open to hearing a message of potential transformation? I did not come to this insight on my own. It cam