The Arise Podcast

Season 1, Episode 18: Wendell Moss, Dan Taylor and Danielle chat about how the coronavirus exposes underlying racism

Episode Summary

This episode starts with Danielle and Maggie talking about how they have been impacted by the coronavirus and introduces Wendell Moss of the Allender Center and Coach Dan Taylor who chatted with Danielle about how the coronavirus exposes underlying racism and white supremacy.

Episode Notes

[Intro with Danielle and Maggie]

Wendell starts by naming  how the coronavirus given racism and white supremacy back more daylight. The attack on Asian culture is brought to the forefront with mimes and racist jokes circulating on social media and even physical violence and attacks on Asian people. 

Dan says it's a lot like "judging books by it's color," assuming someone is sick because of their race.  Any race can get diseases, as shown throughout history. In fact, dominate culture has spread disease as was the case when Europeans came to this continent and decimated the Natives. Disease, when it originates in another culture, can be demonized... But that same narrative has not been told when the dominate culture brings the disease. 

The Northwest and the West Coast  appear to be tolerant and accepting of different cultures and races, "a melting pot." Wendell came to discover that it takes an event [like this] to expose the racism that is present. The coronavirus is exposing the underbelly of racism that is still residing in people. At what point do we stop and say, "Wait a minute, this isn't about the coronavirus."

This isn't just adults, racism is still being passed down to our kids as seen by kids telling racist jokes at school about Asians. 

Dan says our relationships with people who are different than us need to be transformational relationships not transactional relationships. We can not use others for products, resources and entertainment. He challenges us, "what are you doing for them now that they are hurting, how can you be transformative in their lives?" Even more, what are we doing as a body of believes to step up and bring healing between races?

Dan wonders if the coronavirus has some underlying theme; "Is God not waking us up from something?" Slow down. Stop chasing the almighty dollar. Reach out to those in need. Exposes racism. 

Wendell believes folks want to hold on to their own narrative. It's hard to deal with racism without acknowledging the narrative you hold.  The dominate culture often tries and even decides the narrative for people of color. With Dan's invitation to education is to actually have to learn the narrative. You have to do some of your own work. And Danielle adds that it's not just inside yourself but a commitment to work in your family,  your spouse, your children. You have to be humble enough to admit places you'd got it wrong and then talk about how you're going to do it differently.  It's starts to home with your own heart. 

In situations like this (pandemic) ethnicities are being pitted against one another

Dan is Korean and Black but people mostly see his Black features. And when he thinks about the trauma that people who look Asian are going through, he thinks they don't even want to go out out in public for fear of what people will say. The coronavirus has amplified this causing people to stereotype others. 

Racist jokes prove that there is a belief in a racial hierarchy; that some races are better than others.  

What we are seeing is that "the bandaid is off and the wound [of racism] is still festering."

Wendell says that times like these show that racial trauma is continuing to be lived out as an collective experience. This coronavirus is not just showing an individual wound but a collective wound that is manifesting itself in different cultures and different ways. If we need to pay attention and tend to this wound, it will repeat again and again.

Wendell believe that God is trying to expose the church's silence. The church often fails to address this issue around the racial jokes and racial rhetoric. God is clearly after us for how to love justice:

Micah 6:8 
He has shown you, O man, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

Where is God called us to honor what Godly justice look like?

We need to be honest about our history otherwise racial injustice will continue to happen over and over again. Wendell says, "That's what trauma does: trauma continues until it's addressed. We continue to reenact and relive."

Dan admits, this feels like we're living in a movie. It's so wild. He believes we need to keep on our knees praying, be with our families and stop chasing meaningless other gods. He hopes and prays that there can be healing brought to the Asian community. He says, "reconciliation starts with repairing relationships... Taking the time to lament for the Asian community."  

Dan is brutally honest (and appalled) at how many people of all ethnicities don't wash their hands in the bathrooms! Seeing all the videos and reminders that are out now about hand washing it's like, "Shouldn't we have been washing our hands all this time?!" It's alarming!

Wendell talked about how people are in a panic. It starts because someone seeing or hearing one person panicking to get TOILET PAPER. Coronavirus is not an intestinal issue! But people will follow suit buying up toilet paper because someone else is. "And then you know what happens, stores are out of toilet paper and have plenty of kleenex! Huh?!" 

Danielle said they have keto bread at home for the first time because there's no bread or milk at the stores. It's a pandemonium of anxiety

Wendell honors the threat of the coronavirus--a lot of organizations are taking precautions and it is impacting what he does. He is feeling it; He's had to face a lot of cancellations. But ultimately what counts? Family. Any loss of life makes you think about mortality. What if a close family member dies?

Dan says with all the cancelations of events his mind goes to church. Many churches are more than 250 people so they can't meet. 
Schools are shut down, sports are cancelled. Elderly are encouraged to not come out. We want to lament for the families that are impacted and hurting and then you add on to that all those who are affected by cancellations. It's just all getting real.  The school he works for has moved to online classrooms. There is also the equity piece--not all who attend public schools don't have wifi or computers. Kids who count on school lunches. Parents who can't get child care. There's so many different layers. 

Danielle asks us how can we practically apply love to those around us? Do the thing that is closest to us. It can look like taking your elderly neighbors trash to the street for pick up and bringing it in. It can help with feeding the neighbor kid who is on free school lunches. Maybe you buy Chinese take-out. Asian businesses are taking huge hit. "You can't do everything but you can do something little." 

Wendell agrees, "Let's care for people really well and not minimize their experience."  

We can be aware of the position that people are in--Dan said there's a lot anxiety for teacher about going to online learning. Teachers will not be able to see the kids they are teaching or ask answer their questions. Some colleges are telling their students if they go to certain areas, including Seattle, that they can not return to school. The choice it then between their family and their school. Everyone is having to make hard decisions. 

The cost of precaution is good but are these decisions being made with a sensitivity to people's socioeconomic status? Not everyone is on the same playing field of resources. Including homeless students who's home is at school; They will not have food or water. Is this a call for churches to step up? Shelters are already full. There are no more beds even before the coronavirus. How can we chip in? How can we contribute?

Wendell says that sometimes we feel like we can't possibly do enough, but we need to not underestimate what ONE PERSON can do. The economy of God is not the same as our economy. 

Dan says, Let's not forget the fundamentals: We have to be in prayer. Get in the word. Be in communion with the body of believers. The gospel challenges us to be ACTIVE: whether it be preaching the word, healing, restoration, reconciliation, finding resources, love on those who need to be loved, take a stand for what's right, help the marginalized, help those who have been dehumanized...

We've had black lives matter, issues with the border, the coronavirus.. Danielle says "It's time to do something!" We need to be there for our neighbor. 

Wendell says "When folks hear racist jokes, don't let it slide!" It's not helpful and it's not fair. Point out racism. Speak up. 

Keeping talking about these things online and with your families. 


Wendell Moss Bio

Wendell Moss is a therapist, minister, educator, and speaker. Wendell serves as a part of the instructional staff at The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology in Seattle, WA where he received his Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology in 2007. Wendell has also been a core member of The Allender Center at The Seattle School’s executive leadership team and Teaching Staff since its creation in 2010. Alongside his work with The Seattle School and The Allender Center, Wendell practices as a therapist in the Seattle area.

Wendell is fiercely committed to engaging the impact of sexual abuse and trauma, including racial trauma. He courageously and compassionately follows Jesus into realms of healing in the most wounded places, especially the places where people are bound by relational heartache, addictions, shame, and contempt. Although he is privileged and delighted to work with both men and women, Wendell loves to create contexts of healing for men, especially African American men.

Wendell started his ministry career with Inter-varsity in Chicago where he served college students for almost a decade. He is an unapologetic Bears fan, so even when it’s not game day one can expect to find Wendell proudly sporting a jersey from his rotating collection of Tommie Harris, Brian Urlacher, Walter Payton, and Jay Cutler.

Dan Taylor 

Coach Dan Taylor has twenty years of coaching boys and girls in the sports of basketball, football, soccer, and track and field.  

Currently he is the varsity head girl’s basketball coach at King’s.  He teaches PE, Health and Faith and Justice at King's High school.  He helps lead the King's C.A.R.E. team (Community, Action, Reconciliation, and Equity) and has done Race, Culture, Diversity and Equity work in the public and private schools.  

Since 2012, Coach Taylor has been the Washington State Girls Basketball Coaches Association President.  He has been an ASB Advisor, Link Crew Advisor, Black Student Union Advisor, Fellowship of Christian Athletes Advisor, and Social Justice Club Advisor.  

He has a Master's in School Counseling From Seattle Pacific University and has led workshops on Culturally Responsive Coaching, Team Leadership, College Recruiting, Team Building, and sport-specific sessions.  He is Black and Korean and loves working with students of bi-racial backgrounds by helping them find strength in their identity through their cultural background and academic journeys.