Living our testimony on equality : a white Friend's experience

by Patience A. Schenck

Pamphlet, 2011



Call number

CP 415


Wallingford, PA : Pendle Hill Publications, 2011.

User reviews

LibraryThing member kaulsu
Well, it is certainly a thought-provoking topic. I hope it raises someone's level of racial awareness, but I doubt it. It is so generalized and finger-pointing, that I think it will only "speak to the choir."

I find that in general I don't like generalities. Pat views the world through her own lens, and while it may work for some, it certainly does not--CANNOT--work for all.

For a few specific critiques, I will offer her chagrin (embarrassment?) when she discovered that "...I often chatted with a somewhat overweight, dark-complected black woman while waiting for the bus. I was pretty sure she was a secretary. Then one day I asked her what she did. It turned out that she was a statistician. A statistician!"

Once, in the mid-to late-70s I asked a woman I knew what she did (I knew she was able to take 2 months leave in the summer but that she wasn't a teacher)--and then before she answered I supplied my guess: secretary. Not a bad guess considering women were overwhelmingly secretaries, nurses, or teachers. I was mortified when she answered "chemical engineer." I think Pat should be more embarrassed by her characterization of the woman as "somewhat overweight." Pat, by-the-way, is NOT overweight. Oh dear, she must be judgmental of those of us who are.

This pamphlet makes many assumptions of how the rest of the world reacts to people. No doubt she is absolutely correct in many cases. The old saw about even a stopped clock is correct twice a day is something she might think about. When she sees a "white" person she is seeing a person who is inherently biased. She cannot know that. Perhaps they are multi-racial and only appear white. Perhaps (as I am) they are married into a family "of color."

I would not call her pamphlet "preachy" (a statement someone made once that hurt her), but I do call it judgmental, arrogant, and over-generalized. I am reminded of a story I once read in _Friends Journal_. An African American woman wrote of approaching a building at Pendle Hill. A white woman was leaving the building and said to her, "there is no toilet paper in the restroom." I would automatically assume she was warning her. She, however, assumed that the woman thought she was the maid and would correct the problem. Since Pendle Hill does not hire maids, why would she think that? The students and residents there assume all housekeeping responsibilities, I wonder which one of us more accurately reflects the intention of the woman leaving the building.
… (more)
LibraryThing member QuakerReviews
This excellent pamphlet is very important, as it helps white Americans understand not only conscious racism but also the unconscious racism that we have all absorbed just by growing up in a racist culture, and that we may be blind to. This is a good introduction to the work we have to do to understand and liberate ourselves from our unconscious attitudes and behavior. It situates this work in the Quaker Way, and offers suggestions for individuals and meetings. It includes useful book recommendations.… (more)


087574415X / 9780875744155

Local notes

Pendle Hill Pamphlet 415

Similar in this library

Call number

CP 415


Page: 0.2401 seconds