I'm at a conference for youth ministers this week. There are supposedly about 2500 people attending the conference. I'm staffing a booth for Urban Experience. As I was sitting here today watching people walk by, I saw an African-American man walk by. It dawned on me that that was the very first Black person I had seen attending the conference and I have been here for two days now. There is an African-American girl a couple of booths over and another African-American girl across the aisle staffing a booth. But as far as people walking through, I hadn't seen anyone other than White people except for that one guy. What is all of that about? Why is it that there are 2500 people here and only a handful are anything other than White?
And people say our world isn't still segregated??? Paleese!! Let me allow the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it's just churches that are segregated...but that's even more depressing! I wonder...are there other youth ministry conferences that are primarily targeted toward Blacks? Hispanics? Asians? Maybe there are, but why can't we all come to the same one and why can't that one have something for everyone??
People say that I am too sensitive...that it's more about socioeconomics than race (even if that's true, I still have a problem with that as well, though). They tell me that middle class people are all mixed together and I just don't see it because I choose to stay in my corner of the world in the inner city. I beg to differ. This conference is obviously targeted toward an upper-middle class audience. There are flat screen tvs, multimedia presentations, and ipod, laptop, and overseas trip giveaways. Some groups have rented booths and equipment that cost thousands of dollars. Yet with all of that obvious upper-middle class marketing, there are still no people of color here.
I do agree that it seems suburban communities do oftentimes have a fairly diverse population and I probably don't see that. But if that's the case, what does a Christian conference that is primarily made up of White people say to everyone?? What message does it communicate??
Call me cynical. Maybe you have a different take on things. If so, I'd be interested in hearing.
(ok...just to make sure I'm being fair...since I started writing this I have seen one more African-American guy, one Asian guy, and an Asian couple. In fact, a lady just walked by who may have been Native American. So that's 6 people. ...out of 2500.)