Posts tagged oxford
On White Academic Spaces, Racism, and Crying Censorship

And this, ultimately, is where the discursive divide between the protesting “ideologues” and the “censored victims of an overblown controversy” exists. The problem is not as Friedersdorf proposes, an issue of one incident in which students are refusing to engage in an intellectual discussion about coddling and appropriation, but an entire lengthy history of discourse that falls on the shoulders of students of color at ivy league institutions. Yes, students at such institutions are privileged, but only insofar as they have access to this education and the resources and prestige that entails. This academic and potential class privilege does not and cannot erase the unique forms of oppression that face students of color within our ivory towers.

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The Comfort of Whiteness and the Self Surrender of Gospel: What is Required of the White Church

And as I’m doing all this introspection, I cannot help but feel the need to urge pastors and congregants of churches to engage in this same self-interrogation. Particularly in America, where the Christian church is deeply divided between black and white Protestant churches, there is much lip service given to the need for racial reconciliation, but the effort required on the part of people who believe themselves to be white is far more of a burden than many of us are willing to take.

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Searching for a New Normal

As much as we like to impugn this idea of normal – and as important it is that we do insofar as “normality” is white, heterosexual, able-bodied and cisgender – having conversations about what’s typical for a person can be life changing. For the Christian who has grown up in a fundamentalist, homeschooled household, a conversation about normal can be as simple as clarifying that consent needs to be obtained before and during sexual activity. The effort needs to be made to make open and honest conversations part of our normality.

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Privilege Insulating Itself: A Case of Traveling Abroad

Financially, studying or living abroad remains the purview of the economically privileged, which I was at the time and still kind of am. We were informed during orientation at Oxford that our identification cards represented thousands of dollars in tuition money and that we needed to respect the access that this gave us. We were considered students of the university, with access to the various faculty (subject-specific) libraries, the famous Bodleian, and lectures. We could tour almost every college for free (some charged a couple of pounds if you weren’t a student of that specific college) and we got student discounts at the local shops. We were given stipends for food each month and had food groups that ate dinner together every night of the week, with “family meal” on Wednesdays when the entire house ate together. Our stipend didn’t need to be used for just food, and I used mine to pay for tickets to plays and local improv shows and books required for my tutorials (though many of those books were accessible from the libraries).

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The Importance of Learning to Ask the Right Questions

Growing up in evangelical culture, I’ve found that there’s not much emphasis placed on asking the right questions. We learn apologetics and how to defend our faith against the common questions “opponents” may ask, but we’re not taught how to ask questions, how to dig into things. I think the current format of church services lends itself to this – Sunday mornings are passive. You go in, you sing a little, you hear a sermon or homily, and you go home.

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