I went to a diversity training this past weekend, for my lay ministry program.
Two men -- one African-American, one white -- were facilitators; very engaging, alternately entertaining and thought-provoking.
I was a late arrival -- I'd had to work that morning -- and when I breathlessly fell into a seat I looked around to find large sheets of newsprint covered in adjectives the class had used to describe various sub-groups of human beings: women; men; Lutherans; Catholics; laypeople; clergypeople; African-Americans; Latino-Americans. I noted -- and it was with, frankly, a mixture of irritation and relief -- that the Minority Group That Dare Not Speak Its Name in the ELCA was not among the groups being talked about.
And this is how it went for the rest of the afternoon. No one mentioned The Troubles. I didn't. I was quite animated during discussions of how prejudice affects those being discriminated against and how it affects the discriminators; but I wasn't in a frame of mind or at an energy level conducive to bursting into a rendition of I'm Coming Out.
My thoughts, upon driving home were: Either this is very smart -- this is how our church is going to slowly and quietly raise consciousness among the laity, starting with lay leadership, without blowing things into A Thing again -- or else it's just so much more faux-progressive window dressing: Look how enlightened we are: We offer diversity training!
I still haven't decided which scenario I think is the more accurate one.
Interestingly, one of the points I'd made during the presentation was that being in a stereotyped group tends to make the stereotyped cynical and defensive regarding the dominant culture's motives.