I like to think that I have a reasonable knowledge of my own biases and that I am to some extent able to put them aside, but I have found myself challenged over the last few weeks. At seminary I have found it unfortunate that the seminarians seem to be very negatively critical of each other and as a result people are reluctant to preach or share in front of the group. I can't fully understand what is happening because somehow I am on the outside - I hear about this second hand. There are 77 seminarians at the moment. Of these, 66 are black, 9 are white and 2 are coloured. My instinct is to ask 'why are black people so critical of each other', but I am realising that even though it is a 'black thing' - which is why I am on the outside - my observation may well have been the same if the racial composition of the seminary was different.
So as I struggle with cultural differences and sensitivity, I also need to struggle with determining what are cultural issues and what are people issues. Are black people critical or are people critical? It's too easy in a situation like this to see it in terms of race. But - white people are definitely also critical. Me too, sometimes.