Saturday, June 23, 2007

Tidbits from Portland

Tidbits from yesterday's GA experience

I had been aware that there was enslavement of Africans all through the Americas, but heard at a workshop that a full 90% of Africans taken from their homes were transported to and enslaved in Central and South America. The workshop leader was helping us understand something about racial issues among Hispanic people. Apparently they don't know this history in South and Central America either, and talk about how "we're all mixed", but in actuality have a strong racial hierarchy that is invisible. (At least to lighter-skinned people. It's a cinch that the darker-skinned people know all about it.)

Another interesting tidbit from the same workshop; There were African people in South American before the Spanish got there.

Another workshop: UU's have been growing at the rate of about .3% a year for the past 25 years. During that time most Mainline Christian denominations have shrunk by 50% and most conservative denominations have grown by 50%.

But...that drop in the mainline has not been in every single church. Some churches have done very well. The tendency is for churches which are either very conservative OR very liberal to have grown. The churches which were trying to please everyone across a huge theological spectrum have failed and declined.

Another experience; Walking by the river, I came across a garden dedicated to the Portlanders of Japanese ancestry who were deported to detention camps during World War II. This park featured the full text of the official apology for this act from 20 years ago...a text which cited racism, war-time hysteria, a failure of the courts and congress to prevent a dreadful human rights abuse.

At least there are not hundreds of thousands of people detained at Guantanamo. But it's so obviously the same failure.

That's probably it for my GA. Interviewing a couple of intern possibilities this am, then it's off to the airport (on the fabulous light rail system, I might add), and home.

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