The Global Mom Show Podcast: Talking to Your Kids About Race with Lucretia Berry

For our family, it seems ridiculous to pretend that we don’t see differences in our skin tone. In fact, we celebrate the diversity of our beautiful hues that make up the tapestry of our and the ‘hue-man’ family. Also, it seems odd that we would not talk about race with our young children, considering that we live in a society obsessed with ‘racial’ distinctions–even to the extent of pretending not to see them. Our conscientious approach to raising informed, instead of ‘colorblind,’ children evolved into Brownicity: The Art and Beauty of Living and Loving Beyond Race.

On The Global Mom Show, I had the opportunity to share more on the heart and story behind Brownicity and the creation of the series and book, What LIES Between Us Journal & Guide: Fostering First Steps Toward Racial Healing. To get updates about when this series and others are offered, subscribe to our mailing list (website of fb page).

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Brownicity 2016 Highlights

Brownicity 2016 Highlights

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We entered 2016 knowing that we were to continue to disrupt the race narrative and send a dismantling ripple effect to expose the racial legacy of lies and injustice. Without knowing exactly how we would do this, we aligned with the disruption!

2016 seems to have been the year to shape and catapult us into who we are becoming. 2016 invited us into spaces where families gathered — homes, retreats, churches, schools — where moms and grandmothers were asking “how do we raise our children to do better than we did?” — where caring folks wanted to address race, but didn’t know quite how to do it well — where people wanted understanding — where the sincere concern was for the children.

In these spaces, we were able to foster liberation and healing for those who wanted to move forward with a renewed mind. Here are a few highlights!


WINTER

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Children aren’t afraid to talk about skin tone…Why are their parents?


The Annual Montreat Family Retreat by First Presbyterian Church of Lincolnton, NC 

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I’m Not Racist…Am I? review & reflections

Moms’ field trip

with Andre Robert Lee, film maker
with Andre Robert Lee, film maker

SPRING

Pioneer Springs Community School (CLT) Holistic Tea/Discussion. Mom’s don’t want to be told not to talk about race. Turns out, they want to empower children to be conscious, caring and courageous.

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Introducing our 21-Day Race Ideology Detox!

A traditionally White Southern Baptist church and an AME Zion church came together to learn and detox. 

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National Nanny Training Day Conference: When children have questions about skin tone, how will you respond?

And yes, nannies want in on the conversation, as well. 

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#WOKE

Mom’s are expanding the message into their art.


SUMMER

Hair is not a race! Hair is not ethnic!

To celebrate Loving Day, we decided to break a few beauty barriers. 

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Cornerstone Family Church, Des Moines, IA.

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icuTalks inaugural annual conference break-out session 

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Race: Are We So Different? FIELD TRIP

Family field trip

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What are kids learning… when we are not teaching…?

A Professional Development session for teachers and staff at a local charter school. 


Mosaic Church Charlotte ‘Stay and Play Date’ with moms and their precious littles.

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FALL

 

‘What LIES Between Us’ — What Does Love Sound Like?

Fostering self-reflection, introspection and healing as we address the lies that race/ism has told us about each other.

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Two Weeks!

A collaboration with icuTalks following the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott, by CMPD and subsequent protests.


The team is growing and gearing up to make more righteous noise in 2017.

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Reading, Writing, Arithmetic and Overt Racism—The new normal school day?

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2016 let us know that what we initially thought would be a casual conversation between friends, a resonating tribe vibe, is actually the righteous declaration of an identity reformation! 2016 told us that empowering the children is systemic change! 2016 sharpened us for the work of 2017 and beyond. We are looking forward to more!! You are welcome to join us. (Subscribe or email)

How do we get people to want to know the truth? Reflections from a Ta-Nehisi Coates lecture

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‘How do we get the truth—the knowledge about race/ism—to people?’

This was the question posed by a college student following the lecture given by Ta-Nehisi Coates at Davidson College (November 16. 2015). This particular student, a young man, was excited about what he’d uncovered in his college course regarding anti-racist education. I could tell that he was excited about knowing the true history of how race/ism was intentionally designed and implemented. He was excited to be enlightened and clear. He was clear about how the division, inequality, hate and fear were not an organic, natural occurrence and that people groups are not biologically predisposed for a social economic hierarchy. With clarity in place, he began to hope. Implied in his question, tone and demeanor, was that if we all new the truth, we could all be free and end all this race/ism nonsense.

‘The truth is available. The information is clear. It is written in the constitution. The cause for the Civil War is clearly written in the war document. The laws that secured inequality have been documented. The truth is not hidden. It is available for all who want to know. But people don’t want to know. They benefit from believing the lies.’ 

This was the gist of the lecturer’s response to the young man’s question. So the question is not ‘how do we get the truth to people and make them aware of the true history’ Perhaps the question is…’How do we get people to want to know the truth?’

Dear people who believe that you benefit from believing the lie,

By accepting the false narratives that you have been force-fed and digested, you are pawns in a game rigged for everyone’s demise. Yes, even your own demise. While refusing to deconstruct the lie of race/ism, you continue to be exploited, raped, used, and abused, and taken advantage of. For over 300 years, this system (of race ideology, narratives and discrimination) has counted on your ignorance to perpetuate fear so that it can thrive.  While this system gives you the illusion of benefitting—status, material gain, comfort, self-righteousness—your loss is so much greater.

Unfortunately, your soul suffers a severe loss in believing others less worthy of love than you. You forfeit your right to be fully human as you continue to deprive others of humanity and human rights. By sustaining this nonsense, you lose your opportunity to tap into the divine creative power we all possess to rise up and overcome the weak principality of race. And by allowing yourself to be governed by such a weak principality, you allow yourself to live as a slave. (Ironic, isn’t it?)

Our desire is for you to be FREE, empowered and living in the full capacity for which you were created. We love you and are anxiously awaiting your arrival to the border of Freedom Land. We can’t fully enter without you. In the meantime, let us know how we can help you want to know the truth?

Looking forward to seeing you soon.

Shalom,

Brownicity: The Art & Beauty of Living & Loving Beyond Race  12342793_1659421017676481_8349281181690331825_n

What does the ‘art and beauty of living and loving beyond race’ mean?

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Yes, it is a rich descriptive—a poetic tag line, but what does it actually mean?

It describes those of us who have recognized the destructive force rendered through race ideology and have decided to deny it leverage in our lives—to the best of our abilities. We know that in its very conception, race ideology was and remains divisive— designed to corrupt humanity to an unrecognizable, irrefutable, inconsolable and irreconcilable broken mess.

BUT we are a people empowered by the DIVINE with love, hope, faith and creativity!

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Jefferson and his wife.

Jefferson (a white guy) described his father as a southern, Civil War enthusiast. Jefferson’s facial expressions gave us, his audience, permission to deduct that his father was an overt, proud racist. Post high school life experience left Jefferson with his own impressions about race that were different than those of his father. While attending a predominantly white university in Georgia, he joined a white fraternity and shared a brotherhood with young men who reflected his father’s perspective. BUT then Jefferson did something artful, beautiful and most of all intentional. He joined the African-American Student Association (AASA). He gave himself permission to be uncomfortable. He learned a lot. He forged relationships. He initiated a clothing drive for the homeless that created an opportunity for the brothers in his white fraternity to serve along side his brothers and sisters of AASA. Long after Jefferson graduated, the collaboration between the two groups occurs annually.

Jill and her family
Jill and her family

For almost twenty years, Jill (a black woman) has been a part of the white church she married into.  It was the church that her husband’s family had attended for generations. It sincerely reflected the socially and racially segregated community in which it was established in 1872. As the only black parishioner, most likely, Jill’s was the only heart longing for her church to be a hospitable and inclusive place for all people–not just white people. Jill prayed. Jill tried to leave. As if supernaturally anchored, Jill was compelled to stay. She continued to pray. Following the Charleston Nine massacre, Jill prompted, pushed and strongly encouraged her pastor to move forward differently and contribute to healing where race had secured such a cavernous breach among churches. Since then, Jill, her pastor and their church hold monthly reconciliation parties with a local African Methodist Episcopal church. As one, they assemble, break bread, worship, share, listen and talk about racial reconciliation. To witness the sights, sounds, feelings, and fragrance of these gatherings is to partake in the art and beauty of a finely crafted masterpiece.

Like so many of us in our Brownicity community, Jefferson and Jill intentionally do the hard work of tearing down walls, forging new paths, creating new stories, engaging in change—however uncomfortable and inconvenient.  The ‘art and beauty of living and loving beyond race’ integrates love, hope, creativity, passion, and commitment. We dare to believe that we can craft a more beautiful world for our children and then we do the work — in ourselves, in our families, in our communities, wherever we have access and influence. 

As you move forward, consider how you will partake in the art and beauty of living and loving beyond race. How will you or how do you commit, engage, and advocate? Please share your stories.

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Church Reconciliation Party
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Church Reconciliation Party
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Church Reconciliation Party
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Church Reconciliation Party
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Church Reconciliation Party

Tribe Vibe: Makers of Safe Spaces

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Our ‘Tribe Vibe’ was melodious, complimentary, harmonious and groovy. Our instruments were our hums, our hands tapping on our chests and tables, our words and our laughter all set to syncopation. Honestly, I believe we were surprised at how well we flowed together as ONE unified choir while maintaining the unique vibe of our individual tribes (our tables). The sensation was described as sweet, happy, peaceful, smooth, helpful, hopeful and inspiring.

Then came the cacophony!—the harsh, jarring, discordant mixture of sounds from beating trash cans, lids and yelling! This invoked feelings of tension, fear, anxiety, misunderstanding, and a desire to flee.

When we talk about issues of race/sim, we don’t want to contribute to the cacophony of popular race rhetoric that seems to be the norm these days. We don’t want to fan the flames of the molotov cocktail of personal, political and religious perspectives void of historical context and full of emotional vomiting, systemically unaware news coverage of race-related events, and motives void of nurturing understanding, healing, and unity! We refuse to engage in a way that adds to the fear, anxiety, hopelessness, pain, and injustice that exhausts us all.

Before we explode on social media or deface a monument or ‘avoid talking about race so it will go away,’ we ask ourselves, Are my thoughts and actions helpful, hopeful, inspiring and encouraging? Am I contributing to healing and change? We do our homework. We do our research. We recognize RACE as the GIANT ENEMY and people as victims of it’s deception, legacy and intimidation! WE WILL NOT SLING ROCKS AT PEOPLE!

As we build our capacity to engage in courageous conversations and living in the chasm of racial division, WE WILL BE CREATORS of safe spaces where people can be transparent and vulnerable. Inspired and sustained by love, such spaces cultivate healing and change that overflow into the lives of those around us. And that’s what we are going for…because when race/ism is addressed in the context of love, it loses its power!

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’Til we meet again!

This month’s homework assignment is designed to equip you to view media and cultural representations with a more critical eye. We are looking forward to your comments.   

Nights at the Brown-tables

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Session 1

We drew self-portraits with skin-tone colored crayons and gave our skin tones wonderful names like all-spice, peanut butter cookie, peach, moca, snicker-doodle and ‘sugar cookie. Sitting at round tables, looking into each other’s faces, we told our stories of what brought us there. We agreed to SAFE SPACE Guidelines to keep the atmosphere healthy for learning and healing. We learned twenty terms, yes 20, that are essential to our participation. We were made aware of some significant information that our standard history lessons excluded. And then we signed on to do a significant amount of homework before next month’s meeting.

This was the launch of Intro to Brownicity: The Art & Beauty of Living & Loving Beyond Race. “Brownicity” is the combination of the words brownand ethnicity. The word/color brown represents melanin, the pigment that we all have—those with darker skin tones have more and those with lighter skin tones have less.

Racism has a lot of people talking right now. This is good because when we don’t talk about racism, it flourishes. However, many people find themselves tossed to and fro by the race-winds of the media, politics, social and economic perspectives, emotions and/or religious convictions. Almost daily, regarding race issues, they find themselves confused about where to stand, who to support, and what to believe, fight, vote, pray and hope for.

Even with the best hearts and well-meaning intentions, confusion gets us nowhere! That’s why Brownicity is dedicated to building the capacity of everyone to engage in courageous thinking, conversations and living that counter the lie, ideology and legacy of race. Through our ‘Brown’-tables, we offer a family-friendly, safe space for equipping and empowering participants to engage in meaningful conversations that bring about healing, change and HOPE. When race/ism is addressed in the context of love, it loses its power.

We will meet the first Tuesday of the month for six months to engage and participate in dialogue, sharing, and activities that support healing, understanding, creativity, and community building. Between meetings, we do assigned ‘homework’ (yes, homework) to foster our growth—like watching films or documentaries, doing reflective and creative writing, reading complementary material, and participating in online discussions. The sessions are sequential. So to have the best experience, participants will attend each session and do all the homework. It’s like a dynamic, experiential course in ‘race’ literacy!

Around 80 people—adults and children—attended the first session with eager hearts and open minds! Their participation is a major contribution to national healing and change. If you are local (Charlotte) and missed our first Brown-table session, but would like to join us for the remaining five sessions, please complete the homework and mark your calendars for Tuesday, August 4, 7pm at The Hope Center (Mosaic Church Charlotte).

For those who attended, we’d love to hear from you. Please respond below with feedback and questions. Did you learn anything new? What was something you experienced during this session that impacted you? 

Birth of Brownicity

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When asked to be guest contributor for Real Talk About Race for the January 2014 edition of The Tablet, Wake Forest Divinity student publication, Nathan Berry candidly revealed our family’s ideas, perspective and approach to ‘race.’ The title, Brown Like Me reflects our approach to conscious de-racing — exposing the lie and illusion of race and replacing it with the truth—particularly for our next generation.

“Brown like me, or you or her or him” empowers our children with the understanding that we are all hues of brown with different amounts of melanin. In our family, ‘daddy has light melanin, mommy has dark melanin,’ which is why our skin tones are different. Our “brown like ….” is our initial step in abolishing ‘race’ from our mindsets and from our family! As you can imagine, in a multi-ethnic family/relationship, ‘race’ is counterproductive. Actually, ‘race’ is counterproductive to all families and relationships.

From our candid and often humor-filled conversations with our children, friends, church, and whoever else asks our thoughts and opinion regarding ‘race,’ emerged a narrative, a perspective that we have been invited to share. So, we created Brownicity: The Art & Beauty of LIVING & LOVING Beyond Race—our space to talk about, promote, support, facilitate, recognize, build community around, and celebrate the elimination of ‘race!’  (for proper effect, hear it in our ‘we’re going to take over the world’ voice!!)

Join us. It will be fun….and liberating!!