This week, Shoulder to the Wheel was mentioned in an Associated Press report on General Conference:
With concerns about rising tides of white supremacy in the U.S., many Mormons will be listening to hear if church leaders once again denounce racism. . . .
A Mormon group formed this summer to advocate for the church and its members to do more to eradicate racism and white supremacy. The group, called Shoulder to the Wheel, wants to break the silence and make church members who espouse racist views feel uncomfortable.
The religion still deals with questions about their views on race, in part because the faith banned men of African descent from the lay clergy until 1978.
We received this comment on our blog:
Are you kidding me? “White Mormons” African-American Mormons….? I just thought we were all “Latter Day Saints” not “White”, “African-American” Mormons or any other segment. You want to bring identity politics into the church? Go find something productive to do with your lives.
The fact is that we as LDS people have a history of discrimination against Black people that continues to play a role in our faith and in our lives.
Most of us who are white do not have to think about racial discrimination every day. We do not have to steel ourselves up to face the possibility of insensitivity, stereotype, insult, and misunderstanding–large and small–every time we leave the house, even to go to church. If our children are also white, we do not have to give them “the talk” about the hazards and cautions of interactions with law enforcement. These are forms of privilege.
The fact that white LDS people do not have to think about these things but our Black LDS brothers and sisters do sows deep, quiet divisions among us, the burden of which falls largely on our brothers and sisters of color.
It can feel uncomfortable, difficult, and divisive for those of us who have the privilege of not thinking about race to start doing so. But we have a responsibility to understand how segregation and discrimination came into our faith, and how we can help uproot and eliminate it. That is why we created this downloadable resource guide.
Can we be in unity if we have not done the work of learning humbly about histories and realities of racism in our faith and the large world?