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This online course will help you to learn and understand the beginning of the racial division between white and non-white peoples. We will discuss how people of different ethnicities interacted before this division and how the situation changed after this turning point.

What prompted the House of Burgesses to draw a racial line between people in the 1600s? 

As we together go to Chesapeake Bay to learn about the beginnings of the history of race in the United States, we’ll find that the concept of whiteness was intentionally created and has been maintained by laws and acts throughout the years.

Note: We strongly recommend that participants take part in another in-person antiracism workshop, such as Racism: Looking Back, Moving Forward or the Blanket Exercise, before taking this individual online course.

Cost: $35 per person

Capacity: unlimited! DIY, online course

At the end of the presentation you will have learned: 

  • What prompted the racial division of white and non-white peoples
  • In what ways the racial division has been reaffirmed and perpetuated until the present day
  • Why the classification of white people and people of color dehumanizes us all
  • What Scripture has to say about this racial classification

Workshop overview

This online course is a historical presentation utilizing historical documents.

How long does it take?

4-5 hours

If you have questions about this workshop

Contact Viviana Cornejo, Office of Race Relations advocate, at [email protected] or 616-224-0809.

Get More Information, Register and Begin the course

Comments from Participants:

"[This was] A course that helped me understand the history of how whiteness was created and how this construct exists today in a way that supports the Babel-like tendency of human culture; and in so doing impedes the church's mission of surrendering to the Kingdom of God."

"This course really laid bare some of the forces of greed and power that led to the oppression of many people groups toward the goal of establishing the US colonies and how ideologies, like that of whiteness being superior, were created to strengthen hierarchies that benefited those in power."

"This course has taken me one step further on my anti-racism journey by providing an opportunity to relearn history."



"Why the classification of white people and people of color dehumanizes us all"

What happens when it is the institutional church that continues to classify people based on skin color?   The solution to malevolent classification based on skin color is not benevolent classification based on skin color.   The church must model a better way forward than the world, and that better way forward is not to proliferate the same unbiblical classifications/separations only with good intentions.  Physician, heal thyself.

What caught my eye in reading this was the bulleted point (under "What you will learn") of:

    - Why the classification of white people and people of color dehumanizes us all

I've wondered for many years why we (including in CRC publications) continue to write as if we should classify people into "white" and "people of color" (or by some other color).  See, for example: and and (and there are many more).

"Race," strictly (and accurately) defined, has no significant genetic basis--not to mention no significant meaning in general about a person--so why do we keep referring to people as "white" or "black" or "brown" or "POC," etc?

Could it be that if we actually stopped talking as if "race" was a meaningful characteristic of people that it would be less regarded as a meaningful characteristic of a person?  I for one think so.


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