racetalks

Pastors Mike Justice and Rodney Mason discuss topics like white privilege and systemic racism during a Facebook Live video series on the ‘Common Unity in the Community’ Facebook page.

Tensions around the country have sparked conversations about understanding race and relationships. 

Pastors Mike Justice and Rodney Mason recently sat down to discuss what can be done to understand racial differences and bridge the gap. 

Topics include white privilege, systemic racism, education, resources and more. 

Mason said these conversations are important to have right now because society is on the precipice of going forward or backward.

“There have been some hard, even awkward conversations at times because, I mean I’m asking questions and you know, we’re talking about stuff that, I mean, honestly we need to talk about,” said Justice. “But it’s like our society says we shouldn’t talk about this.” 

Mason believes it is important to educate yourself on these topics. 

“The first thing I would say to any individual is, first, begin to educate yourself,” Mason said in one of the videos shared on his Facebook page. “Begin to look at systems and see them for what they are or what they aren’t.”

Mason suggests watching movies like, ‘Just Mercy,’ and reading books such as “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo, “How to be Antiracist” by Ibram X and “The Cross and The Lynching Tree” by James Cone.

As a white pastor, Justice says it is comfortable in America, but in order for there to be change you have to be uncomfortable. 

“If you’re comfortable, why change,” Justice asked. “And then I realize, I have white privilege. White privilege is something I never even really even considered in my life until the last six months, when all this started happening — four months.” 

After realizing white privilege, Justice said he can’t just sit on it. There is a responsibility as a human being to use that position for the betterment of all. 

Though the first few conversations are just between Mason and Justice, Mason said there are other people they want to invite to the table. 

“Our goal is to say, ‘This is Scott County,’” Mason said. “‘Now, this is what Scott County could become.’” 

Both Mason and Justice would like to hear from city council members and others in the community, they said. 

“We’ve got to have more diversity at the top levels,” Justice said in the Facebook video. 

 Mason says when a community has diversity the voice of the community is heard. 

The two pastors plan to continue the video series, as they have already begun to hear some responses. And they say it won’t all be about race, but rather how to help the community as it is hurting. 

“What we’re trying to do is, we’re trying to bring racism (to light) but, there are other ills in our community that you will hear us talk about,” Mason said. 

Videos, broken down into 30-minute segments, can be viewed on Facebook.

 

James Scogin can be reached at jscogin@news-graphic.com.

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