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Resistance and Accommodation to Racism Among Early Adventist Missionaries in the American South

Resistance and Accommodation to Racism Among Early Adventist Missionaries in the American South

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My masters thesis. Basically: how did Seventh-day Adventist missionaries relate to the racism of the South? and what can that teach us for doing missions now? Early Adventist missionaries first resisted the racist beliefs and practices of the South. Then, pressured by custom and escalating violence, they began to accommodate the racism by racially segregating, yet continuing to resist the oppression of Blacks. Over time, however, the segregation which began as accommodation was normalized and institutionalized. In effect, it became part of the Adventist culture in America. This history has been instructive for understanding how to relate to oppressive cultural practices in missions, and two recommendations are made for preventing the adoption of the oppression in the larger culture when some accommodation is necessary. First, the accommodation must be accompanied with regular internal communication of right principles. Second, the accommodation must be regularly and intentionally re-examined. These strategies are designed to resist the internalization of the wrong principles which underlie the oppressive practices which are being accommodated.

My masters thesis. Basically: how did Seventh-day Adventist missionaries relate to the racism of the South? and what can that teach us for doing missions now? Early Adventist missionaries first resisted the racist beliefs and practices of the South. Then, pressured by custom and escalating violence, they began to accommodate the racism by racially segregating, yet continuing to resist the oppression of Blacks. Over time, however, the segregation which began as accommodation was normalized and institutionalized. In effect, it became part of the Adventist culture in America. This history has been instructive for understanding how to relate to oppressive cultural practices in missions, and two recommendations are made for preventing the adoption of the oppression in the larger culture when some accommodation is necessary. First, the accommodation must be accompanied with regular internal communication of right principles. Second, the accommodation must be regularly and intentionally re-examined. These strategies are designed to resist the internalization of the wrong principles which underlie the oppressive practices which are being accommodated.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Kessia Reyne Bennett on May 04, 2011
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07/19/2015

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RELATING TO 
RACISM
 
Resistance and Accomodation to Racism Among Early Seventh-day AdventistMissionaries in the American South: A Case Study in Relating to CulturalOppression in Missionsby Kessia Reyne Bennett
 
ABSTRACTRESISTANCE AND ACCOMMODATION TO RACISM AMONGEARLY SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST MISSIONARIESIN THE AMERICAN SOUTH: A CASE STUDY ONRELATING TO OPPRESSIVE CULTURALPRACTICES IN MISSIONS byKessia Reyne BennettAdviser: Bruce L. Bauer 
 
ABSTRACT OF GRADUATE STUDENT RESEARCHThesisAndrews UniversitySeventh-day Adventist Theological SeminaryTitle: RESISTANCE AND ACCOMMODATION TO RACISMAMONG EARLY SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST MISSIONARIES INTHE AMERICAN SOUTH: A CASE STUDY ON RELATING TOOPPRESSIVE CULTURAL PRACTICES IN MISSIONSName of researcher: Kessia Reyne BennettName and degree of faculty adviser: Bruce L. Bauer, D.Miss.Date completed: April 2011Topic and MethodA basic task of the missionary is to negotiate the complex social codes of theforeign territory; for early Seventh-day Adventist missionaries in the American Souththis meant negotiating a culture of racism which oppressed the Black population.The present study investigated how early Adventist missionaries to the South relatedto the racism they encountered. Using data drawn from books, periodical literature,personal letters, and denominational minutes, the expressions and recorded actionsof the missionaries were analyzed to determine how the missionaries’ attitudes and behaviors were related to the cultural racism. Three categories of 

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