‘Confronting Whiteness’ conference hopes to inspire change in community

CHARLOTTE — A conversation about racial justice that started at a Charlotte church has reached more than 300 people across the country since the death of George Floyd.

Rev. Ben Boswell created a course called, “What Does it Mean to be White?” where participants who are white met locally in small groups over video calls.

[PAST COVERAGE: Church conducts course called ‘What Does it Mean to be White?’]

Myers Park Baptist Church is now hosting an extension of the course at a conference called “Confronting Whiteness,” for anyone who wants to attend.

“Everybody is welcome to come who is interested in anti-racist work,” Boswell said. “Whiteness and race are a lie that we created. Europeans created to steal things, to steal land, to steal labor and people even. And now, we have to look back at our history. We will never be able to go forward unless we look at our past.”

Boswell hopes others will join so they can make a difference.

“It’s a place for people to come together and say, ‘How can we join together as Black, white, Latinx, Asian?,’ and say, ‘Let’s come together to build a movement against racism, together.’”

Karen Taylor, who teaches the course, was once a participant.

The course includes reading books written by Black authors.

“There are a lot of people who, white people or people classified as white, that don’t realize that whiteness is a construct,” Taylor said. “They don’t realize that they had advantages that other people don’t have and so they make assumptions from that about themselves and about people of color.”

Taylor believes what she’s learned changes views of current events, laws and the justice system.

>> Remember, you can watch our radar/newscasts anytime at home on Roku, Amazon Fire and Apple TV

“What areas do you have privilege or power in that you might be able to raise your voice and people will listen?” she asked.

“Confronting Whiteness” will be held Friday and Saturday at Myers Park Baptist Church.

[ALSO READ: ‘Today we are able to breathe again’: George Floyd’s family reacts to Chauvin’s conviction]

There will be a mixer and jazz concert Friday night in the sanctuary.

Virtual and in-person options are available for attendees.

>>CLICK HERE for more information on the “Confronting Whiteness”

(Watch the video below: Minister discusses program ‘What Does it Mean to be White’)