(By Carla Hinton, NewsOK). A preacher isn’t sure what he’ll find when he opens the doors of his Oklahoma City church on Wednesday evening. That’s when the first “Racism & Racists Anonymous” meeting will take place at Trinity Presbyterian Church, in Oklahoma City, OK.
How many people are going to be willing to admit in front of a group of strangers that they are racist?
The Rev. Richard Mize, Trinity’s pastor, said he has no idea.
“I don’t know what to expect — maybe nobody will show or maybe there will be a crowd,” he said.
Mize said actually, the premise of the gatherings isn’t to get people to embarrass themselves or draw negative attention to their innermost thoughts.
He said that’s why he tweaked the local format so that it differs a bit from the small-group program called “Racists Anonymous” that it is patterned after.
“Racists Anonymous” was started by a black pastor in California. Mize, who is white, said he was intrigued when he talked to the Rev. Ron Buford about the program at Buford’s Congregational Community Church of Sunnyvale.
Trinity’s meetings will be based loosely on Buford’s program, but Mize said the Oklahoma City gatherings are not only for people who wish to examine the racism within themselves but also for individuals who wish to learn how to deal with other people’s racism.
He said each of the meetings will start with a speaker who will discuss his or her own personal challenges with racism and the challenges of living with and around racism and racists. Several people from the community-at-large have been invited to speak, including a law enforcement officer, small business owner and a doctor.
Mize said at some point, he plans to share his own testimony as a “former Confederate flag-waver” who gave up “embedded racist thinking because I couldn’t square it with the Gospel.”