By Kristie Post Wallace, Director
References compiled in connection with the BYU Contemporary Voices Reading of The Thanksgiving Play by Larissa FastHorse.
- a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.
- Also called institutional racism, structural racism, systemic racism. a policy, system of government, etc., that is associated with or originated in such a doctrine, and that favors members of the dominant racial or ethnic group, or has a neutral effect on their life experiences, while discriminating against or harming members of other groups, ultimately serving to preserve the social status, economic advantage, or political power of the dominant group.
- an individual action or behavior based upon or fostering such a doctrine; racial discrimination.
- racial or ethnic prejudice or intolerance.
A note from director Kristie Post Wallace
I am so grateful to have worked on this timely, delightful, and at times uncomfortable play. A few years ago when I began my own anti-racist research and work it was hard. It still is very difficult and I am committed to continue my efforts. I began to take a step back and ask myself “Lord, is it I” (see Lord, Is It I by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf) . You see, I was the drama teacher who at times excused casting white people in BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) roles. It was only when I had an Equity Diversity and Inclusion training a few years ago that I began to wrestle to unlearn and to change. It is still a wrestle. I hope you join me on this journey as we heed President Nelson’s call, and the Lord’s call, as we pay attention to our own speech and behavior and root out the racism that exists while we speak up and fight for a better world for all of our siblings in God.
We were so lucky to have two members of the Navajo Nation, Cheyanne and Naabaahii, meet with our cast. They answered our questions, danced for and with us, and were an important part of our process in bringing this play to the stage with a deeper understanding of the Indigenous experience. Cheyanne invited us, all of us, to know Indigenous issues are all of our issues. Please learn about them and take action to support them.
Here are a few resources including links to Church articles and talks, quotes, podcasts, blogs, and books to use on your anti-racism journey.
May we all know better and do better. May we be guided by our Heavenly Parents to see the mote in our own eyes, remove it, and fight to make this earthly existence better for all.
Recommended Books and Plays
How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibrim X Kendi
Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You (for youth) by Jason Reynolds and Ibrim X Kendi
Casting a Movement: The Welcome Table Initiative edited by Claire Syler and Daniel Banks
PLAYS to Read/See
Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
Recommended Podcasts and Videos
Please listen to the following podcast discussing Green Flake, Brad Wilcox, and the Path to Zion–A Conversation with Mauli Bonner
“We invited Mauli Bonner to our podcast studio this week to address this timely topic, and also to tell us about his remarkable new film His Name is Green Flake. We felt like Mauli showed how to confront difficult issues like race with realism, but also with an abundance of faith, hope and charity. His honest and moving response to this recent incident shows the way to create a path forward toward Zion.”
“Andrea Hales (Navajo), the host of Tribe of Testimonies, interviews faithful Native American Latter-day Saints of tribes across the U.S. to learn how the Gospel of Jesus Christ has influenced their lives. Everyone’s story is different—conversions, families, missions, educations, careers, talents, achievements, failures, trials. As we share our stories, maybe we can strengthen each other. May we all walk in beauty. // This podcast is not affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, we support the Church. For further information on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please visit ComeUntoChrist.org.”
If you find yourself feeling defensive, we invite you to take a step back and ask “Lord, is it I?” We invite you to interrogate your discomfort and learn. For grounding, please refer to this quote on defensiveness:
From Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown
“At its core, defensiveness is a way to protect our ego and a fragile self-esteem. Our research team member Ellen Alley explains that our self-esteem is considered fragile when our failures, mistakes, and imperfections decrease our self-worth. In our work, the opposite of a fragile self-esteem is grounded confidence. With grounded confidence, we accept our imperfections and they don’t diminish our self-worth. It makes sense that defensiveness occurs in areas of our lives where we have fragile self-esteem, or across several areas of our lives if the fragility is more general. Any perceived callout of our weakness is experienced as an attack on our worth, so we fight hard to defend ourselves against it.
“In order to try to limit our exposure to information that differs from how we think of ourselves, we get defensive and over justify, make excuses, minimize blame, discredit, refute, and reinterpret. Defensiveness blocks us from hearing feedback and evaluating if we want to make meaningful changes in our thinking or behavior based on input from others.”
RESOURCES FOR YOUR INTERACTIONS AT CHURCH
“Today, I call upon our members everywhere to lead out in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice…I plead with you to promote respect for all of God’s children.” (President Russell M. Nelson, October 2020)
“As citizens and as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we must do better to help root out racism.” He said knowing that “we are all children of God gives us a divine vision of the worth of all others and the will and ability to rise above prejudice and racism.” (President Dallin H. Oaks)
Another resource on how to address racism in the church, By Common Consent
Muslims and Latter-day Saints, Pamphlets:
By Emma Rollins, Dramaturg
Recently the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint Church has been promoting unity and understanding between different churches and different cultures. In many talks spoken in general conferences and many recent outreaches, leaders have been trying to help many members around the world to be more understanding and accepting of people who may have different beliefs from one’s own.
That being said, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been striving to be more open. So as part of this push to be more accepting, and loving as the Savior is, the church has released new pamphlets urging a better understanding between Muslims and Latter-day Saints. So with this, these pamphlets have been released for many members to better connect with the Muslim brothers and sisters.
Click here to learn more.
This is just one idea of how the church is striving to better make amends and relationships with members of other faiths, denominations, races, etc. With the church’s racist past that people can’t deny had its own types of issues, modern leadership sees the problems of the past and is striving to learn from them. We the modern and rising generation need to be more accepting and strive to be more understanding of others when they might be different from us.
Because of our past, let’s learn and grow and know that Christ wouldn’t have wanted us to feel better than others because of our skin tone, or to judge others because they live differently. I hope that in your seeing this play and knowing that we can’t have all the answers or experiences and we need to open our hearts and minds to any and all people, that you will do so with whomever it may be in your circle that you wish to learn from and grow to become more like Christ himself.