Racism In The Organization

by Hunyadi 35 Replies latest jw friends

  • Hunyadi

    On the surface, racism is not suppose to exist in the org. I have a different experience . . .

    I use to work for a brother who was also a general contractor. Most of his crew were JW's from various trades. I was very young, newly married, and I was working as a general laborer. About six months into my job with this brother, he hired on a former Bethelite named Leo. Leo was living with his Carribean bride, also a former Bethelite, in Tijuana, BC, and commuted each day across the border to the very rich San Diego town of Fairbanks Ranch, CA. My wife at the time was hispanic, and during lunches Leo and I got to know eachother and he graciously invited my wife and I down to his house in Las Playas, Tijuana for a meal and some socializing.

    We arrived around noon one Saturday looking forward to meeting Leo's wife. We waited a long time in their dining room, about 20 minutes and were mostly left alone. Finally Leo emerged from the hallway to announce that his wife was on her way out to meet us. It was just weird . . . the wait, the silence, the formal annoucement of his wife about to appear . . .

    She entered the dining room, a beautiful dark skinned woman, tall and graceful. She took my breath away. We were introduced and I felt their eyes upon us at all times, scrutinizing, looking for some sort of disapproval that Leo was white and she was black. I only expected her to be Hispanic. It only intrigued me that this white ex-Bethelite brother, also a former elder, and his black Caribean wife were living in Baja California sort of detached from the mainstream it seemed . . . I was 20 years old, did not know or care about shit and I certainly cared not that a white man was married to a black woman. This was Jehovah's organization after all and racism was not even a thought.

    The woman was delightful, yet reserved. She spoke a few languages, including spanish, as did Leo, and my curiousity about them living in Baja was satisfied once I understood they were perfectly at home there. Cool. We had what seemed to be a nice visit, then departed for the US that evening.

    The rest of the weekend past, then it was back to work. One brother, Greg, asked me what I did over the weekend; just cordial chat amond workmates. I told him that my wife and me went downt to TJ to visit Leo and his wife. He asked, "oh, so Leo's wife is Mexican . . . ?"

    Dumbass that I was, I took the bait and said, "Um no, she is from the Caribean . . . ", and left it at that.

    Later that day, I was putting tools back into the shed with Leo for lockup when Greg and the son of a north county elder, Grant, stood behind me. I did not hear this, but Grant said audibly in front of Leo, "So, Leo's wife is a nigger, huh?" Again, I did not hear this . . .

    The next day, while hanging some heavy-ass stone molding on the eves of the house, Leo attacked me verbally in front of the other brothers and accused me of telling everyone his wife was a nigger. I was floored. I had no idea where his assertions were coming from. He got totally evil on me and I became angry and felt like throwing him off the roof where we were working at the time. Instead, I took him off to the side and asked what the hell was going on. He told me what Grant had said the day before and I was again floored. I fervantly and pleadingly tried to explain what had really happened and he would not believe me no matter what I said. He kept telling me that I was a racist and that I had a big problem. In desperation, I pointed out the my own wife was hispanic, and therefore could not possibly be racist. I was so distressed to think that I could have offended this nice man and his wonderful wife. His response was, "she is just closer to lilly-white than my wife is . . . ". Again, I could have hurt him. I was on the verge of tears.

    He finally calmed down enough to tell me that the reason he and his wife left Bethel was because the GB and many of the the other brothers at Bethel were very openly racist. He said that they openly discouraged him from marrying the woman he loved because she was black and it would cause too many problems for everyone. I could not believe him. He said they left Bethel together and moved to Baja where he became an elder in a local congregation where they were more accepted. I could, therefore, see why he was so hyper-sensative, why he had no problem believing I was a racist when Grant, the evil son of an elder, set me up to look like a racist to the man. Leo said it was pretty typical of what he and his wife had experienced while serving together in the org.

    Does anyone have any similar stories or experiences about racism in the org . . . ?


  • Mary
    Grant said audibly in front of Leo, "So, Leo's wife is a nigger, huh?"

    Good Lord, are you serious?? Grant should have his face smashed in; rotten pig. I hope you told Leo that it was Grant who made this comment, and not you. He should be forced to apologize to both Leo and his wife. If he doesn't approve of inter-racial marriages, then perhaps he should just keep his thoughts to himself. After all, doesn't the bible say "there is neither Jew nor Greek" when it comes to those who have God's approval? We've got 3 inter-racial couples in our Hall, but I've never heard anyone make any negative comments about them.

  • Golf

    Hunyadi, yes, there is racial prejudice within the org. Like you, I personally knew of such experiences and it never has left my memory. It does exist but then again, it's not longer shocking to me.

    Guest 77

  • ColdRedRain

    2 years ago, I was talking to a ladyfriend of mine when suddenly, a guy that I wouldn't even stand next to at a bus stop white brother from Navar, MN a buisnessman from Brooklyn brother from Bethel grabbed me and told me "I don't want a guy like you talking to my daughter." I happen to be of African decent.

    You add 2+2 together to see what he meant.

  • itsallgoodnow

    There's all kinds of "isms" with this group, including prejudice against, people of different racial or national backgrounds, gender, etc.

    It doesn't matter if you're white black or green, you're going to be on somebody's not favorite list in the org. That was hard for me to deal with, given they are always sounding their fat trumpet about being a spiritual paradise and all...

  • minimus

    This quite an experience! I was raised in a "city Hall", and there were many blacks, whites and Hispanics. My experience was that many minorities "deal" with what they know they'll get in life---inside and outside the org. I remember a truly BEAUTIFUL black sister that married the whitest looking Berhelite I've ever seen. They've been together for 40 years and have some of the most beautiful children I've ever seen. What kept him unruffled was that he never really cared what people thought of him. For years, as an elder, he had a beard. (Skin problem)...

  • KKLUV155

    When I was in my late teens a young white girl married a young black guy. I thought they made a very cute couple. Both very sweet and out going but you should have heard the gossip fly among the older people. And when they had a baby, my stars you would have thought they had created the biggest sin. There is so much racism in the org. it makes me sick.

  • Farkel

    : He finally calmed down enough to tell me that the reason he and his wife left Bethel was because the GB and many of the the other brothers at Bethel were very openly racist.

    It's interesting to note that JWs were among the last of religions to de-segregate their Kingdom Halls in the USA South. While they never openly preached segregation, Rutherford liked to have black members sell his books as he considered them to be docile and below average in intellect, i.e. "easily teachable." The WTS even published an article about a black man who, after become a cult member, gradually began to turn white! The article treated this change as if it was an improvement for him! Now, if that isn't racism, then what is?

    After decades of pressure, the WTS a few years ago appointed Sam Herd to the GB, no doubt as a "token" black member.

    The "Spiritual Paradise(tm)" has many, many racist bigots.


  • Gopher

    One congregation in Minnesota was a mix of "urban" and "suburban" people, meaning a racial mix. When that congregation was dissolved to disunity (perhaps race was an issue), our 99% Caucasian congregation absorbed the JW's of color from the old hall. For the longest time, the people of color sat on one side, while the Caucasians sat on the other. Only after a special-needs part from an elder (who happened to be a man of color) did the congregation even begin to integrate. This was in the early 1980's.

    About nine years ago, when I (a Caucasian) was considering marrying a non-Caucasian, my parents, both JW's for over 4 decades, opposed it. My dad, a JW elder, said "there is a reason Jehovah created the races," clearly implying that they should stay separate rather than intermix. I pointed out, to no avail, that some of the children of these racially-mixed marriages are among the most beautiful children I had ever seen. If "Jehovah" had not meant for this possibility, such children would be impossible or deformed.

    I don't think their attitude is uncommon among the older JW's. The younger JW's these days may tend to be a little more tolerant and liberal regarding association, friendship and even marriage with people of differing backgrounds.

  • shamus

    Lurkers may wonder why we harp on these topics.

    It's becaue the WTBTS sets themselves above every other person, religion, and man on earth. They feel as if they are "special", LOL!

    They're not.

    In fact, they are full of horrible people who do horrible things. Racism being one of them. It's quite disturbing and disgusting.

    Farkel, thanks for the info on Kingdumb halls. I had no idea until now.

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