Race & Racialization — Discussion Questions

The following is a list of discussion questions composed for a CrossWay Community Church small group, Christ & Culture, for use throughout February 2019.


Defining terms (my best attempt):

  • Race– A grouping of persons which is (1) socially classified and perceived by certain select physical characteristics, (2) conceived of as an entity distinct from other groups of the same sort, and (3) viewed as an identity which is inherited and passed down generationally (note: a uniquely U.S. conception of race).
  • Racism– Prejudice, partiality, or mistreatment of another individual or group of people based on their race.
  • Racialization– The condition of a society in which significant disparities exist along racial lines wherein race matters profoundly with respect to life experiences such as relationships, opportunities, advantages/disadvantages, and outcomes.

Resource: “Is Black Lives Matter the New Civil Rights Movement?” by Mika Edmondson 

Discussion questions:

  • Bible & theology:
    • What does the Bible have to say about race? Does it? Racism? How does it apply to racism?
    • What might the Bible have to say about how we evaluate the concept and proposal of the existence of systemic racism (raised below)?
    • How does Christ and the gospel in particular provide a solution to racism and racialization?
  • Ideological & social-cultural analysis:
    • What is racism? Racialization? What’s the difference?
    • Does racism exist today?
    • Is our society racialized?
    • Does systemic (or structural) racism exist? What is it?
    • Is “white privilege” real? If so, what does it mean?
    • What is “reverse racism”? Is it a reality?
    • Is there a danger of emphasizing race or racism too little or too much?
    • What’s wrong with racial segregation? Is there a problem with it?
  • Intersections: How does race relate to the following subjects in our current dialogue, and how do we evaluate these connections / intersections?
    • Criminal justice?
    • Police brutality?
    • Housing?
    • Economics?
    • Education?
    • Political representation?
    • Immigration?
    • Incarceration?
  • Evaluating expressions of activism:
    • How do we evaluate current movements attempting to curtail or shed light on what they perceive to be racial injustice?
    • What do we make of contemporary activist movements such as #BlackLivesMatter? What’s good in them? What’s less than desirable, or faulty? (Or, likewise, seeming counter-movements such as #BlueLivesMatter?)
  • Ecclesiology & missiology:
    • What is the church’s role in fighting racialized- (or race-related) injustice?
    • What is the church’s role, or what should the church be doing, to help address racialization or race-related disparities and/or injustice?
    • Is there something wrong, or unhealthy, with an ethnically homogeneous church? If so, what can / should we do about it?
    • What does it look like to model racial unity in the church?
    • How does the church’s response to race and racial tensions relate to its witness?
  • Contextualization & application:
    • What issues does our particular setting/context (i.e., Milwaukee) pose with regards to issues related to race and racialization?
    • What can we do to be agents of change / difference-makers / “Christian neighbor-lovers” with respect to race-related issues — in our immediate context, or more broadly?
    • How can I resist and/or help change systems or realities that privilege me and disadvantage or discriminate against others?
    • How can I better listen to and understand those with different experiences than me on account of race?
    • Do I harbor any known or unknown racial prejudice or bias?

Jon Hanes on a Christian Approach to Environmental Concerns Such as Climate Change

I lead a small group at my church, CrossWay Community Church (Milwaukee), called “Christ & Culture,” where we examine various social and cultural issues of our day and try to consider how we might engage these things Christianly and Biblically.

Last night we had the privilege of hosting my dear friend, Jon Hanes, who delivered a talk on a Christian approach to environmental concerns with particular attention on the example of climate change.

Jon Hanes is an adjunct geography professor at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (UWM) and a deacon at Lake Drive Baptist Church on the northside of Milwaukee, where I was a member with him for approximately eight years.

Many folks who were not able to attend asked me to record his talk, which I’ve provided below. We had some additional discussion and helpful conversation after the close of this recording. But the audio below reflects the “lecture” portion of his talk.


Dr. Jon Hanes
January 16th 2019


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by Jon in this audio are his own and are not representative of his employer or church.


Books Jon mentioned in his talk: