A Story from Cumbria

community, faith and morality

the story

Unlike the other films in Made of Stories, this is not one person’s story but the story of people who feel passionately about anti-racism and their work through an organisation. The film invites us to put our convictions into action through joining with others to help transform communities and organisations.

the film

talking points

elusive examples

Where are the people who are driving humanity forward…

…trying to bridge the gap between rich and poor and black and white?

So where are those people?

In government, in the churches, in our circle of friends?

cultural challenge

You don’t need black and brown people to be there for society to be anti-racism.

Their work in Cumbria (which is 98% white people) is not about multiculturalism:

It’s about looking at your organisation and culture through an anti-racist lens.

Do you identify with this challenge in your culture and the organisations to which you belong?

problematic backgrounds

John (at the Whitehaven museum) speaks openly about having been born in a background which was inherently racist.

What experiences are we willing to share about the racist attitudes in our own backgrounds?

institutional racism

Sarah (a Chief Superintendent in Cumbria police) is asking people to think for themselves about racism in an organisation (the police) which she says is hierarchical.

Is this possible?

Alongside the police which other organisations in your experience need to be challenged to be anti-racist? In which ways could this happen?

not me

but I’m not a racist… I’ve got black friends.

How endemic do you think racism is in our society and in ourselves and how good are we at convincing ourselves that we are not racist?

Can you think of an occasion or situation when you realised you were being racist?

christian reflection

Although there are no explicit references to faith in this story, when Janette says she is not looking for Utopia, are progressive Christians working hard enough to build the kingdom of God on earth so that all people live equitably together?

How well are the churches working to be anti-racist?

wider questions for the church

Churches exist in the context of evolving, ever changing, societies. How well do we respond to these changes? Does our theology allow us to respond positively, or are there ways of theological thinking which are fundamentally opposed to us engaging with the changing views in the world around us?

According to Nelson Mandela "to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others…" What other examples are you/we aware of, that showcase people working for the freedom of others? What prevents us from getting involved with these things personally?

According to the Bible there are 'fruits of the spirit' in other words where 'the spirit' is at work, that work is evidenced by things like peace, love, patience and so on. What might or what should this mean for the way that we look at the work of charities, groups and movements who have no identification with Christianity as a religion, but nevertheless evidence these kind of 'fruits'?

Talk about race and racism is part of the ongoing culture wars of our time. How do/can/should we respond to these wider issues, sometimes characterised as "the woke agenda" that have become so divisive in both the church, and wider society?

resources

Anti-Racist Cumbria Full information about the work of the organisation which is the subject of our film.

The Runnymede Trust is a leading UK think tank on race equality and has many publications.

Show Racism the Red Card is a leading educational charity.

Kick It Out is English football’s equality and inclusion.

Stand Up To Racism encourages and informs about demonstrations in the UK.

Racism and the Church is a non-denominational social justice movement challenging racism and celebrating diversity in our churches.

The British Red Cross has some useful help in talking to young children about racism.

Kings College London has a very useful list of films, books and other resources dealing with anti racism.

reading

'We Need To Talk About Race' by Ben Lindsay

'Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race' by Renni Eddo-Lodge

'White Fragility: Why It's So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism' by Robin Di Angelo

Also books by Toni Morrison, Zadie Smith, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, James Baldwin

films

Selma (2014) Martin Luther King’s epic march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965

Harriet (2019) set in Maryland in 1849, the story of an enslaved woman who makes a miraculous journey to freedom

Just Mercy (2020) the true story of lawyer Bryan Stevenson defending innocent death row prisoners in Alabama