Not So Fast

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Dear Editor: I want to thank Kat Northrup for her article, “Race and Quakerism,” in May/June 2018 Western Friend. She has articulated very well my own observations and concerns. I was struck by this comment: “[The] uncomfortable feeling of disingenuous tokenism . . . is a hard feeling to avoid, unless one is already familiar with how highly the Quaker community values honesty.” I think in this case, Northrup is letting Quakers off the hook too easily. Valuing honesty is not the same as being honest. My range of Quaker experience is limited, but I have observed many who are quick to find the mote in another’s eye and maybe slower to examine their own (sometimes unconscious) biases and motivations. I wonder sometimes if, when we speak of “diversity,” we mean we want to be with people just like us, only with different color skins. Those of us who have found a spiritual home in a Quaker faith community want to share it. But can we share it with those who do not have the same social and political concerns that we have? Can those of us who identify as Christians, as followers of the teachings of Jesus, feel comfortable talking about our relationship with God and Scripture?

– Kate McClellan, Palo Alto Meeting (PYM)