The Churches, The West and the Fight Against Racism
Could Our Assumptions be Racist? Transforming our Fight into a Quest for Values
Publisher: Ecumenical Forum, Toronto, Canada
Year Published: 1980
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX2045
Abstract: Robert Vachon delivered the address, The Churches, the West and the Fight Against Racism at the Consultation on Racism in Winnipeg on April 10-13, 1980. Vachon's stated purpose is to look at western churches and western society and its assumptions, from a cross-cultural and complementary perspective.
Despite many struggles made by Canadians against racism, Vachon thinks that there is something negative about these struggles. He points to such things as "cultural indiffernce to the original cultural values of other people." Thus we are culturally racist. He says we are also spiritually racist, juridically racist and politically racist.
Vachon makes these statements on the basis of the use of terms like "Third World", "oppressed", and "poor", which we use for non-western, non-Christian peoples. He illustrates our racist assumptions futher by saying that our fight for the rights of those whom we call poor is often a "fight for their rights to be waht we are and to do what we do."
Vachon suggests "that we complement our programs for christianizing, civilizing, developing and modernizing the Third World with programs aimed at paganizing, indigenizing, primitivizing, and naturalizing the Churches and the West." He calls for a conversion of Western assumptions concerning non-western peoples, suggesting that "we discover the place of all religions and cultures in the cross-cultural and inter-religious circle of life".