Conversations about the religious and spiritual life on the other side of fundamentalism
167:  Racism, Mormonism, the US Presidential Election and Women of Color

167: Racism, Mormonism, the US Presidential Election and Women of Color

From top to bottom: Kalani Tonga, Mica McGriggs, Fatimah Salleh
From top to bottom: Kalani Tonga, Mica McGriggs, Fatimah Salleh

The campaign run by Donald Trump during the 2016 United States Presidential election season leveraged the racism that to this day still divides America.   The outcome has been frightening for people of colour who have either experienced or witnessed an outpouring of seemingly sanctioned hate against them.

Kalani Tonga, Fatimah Salleh and Mica McGriggs discuss the history of racism in the United States that made Trump’s vulgar racial politics possible.  They consider the effects that the results have had on their children and they talk about their disappointment in a church that has done little excise the racism that has become stuck in their religious community.

Surprisingly, their answer to the identity politics that prevailed during the election was not Hillary Clinton.



    I haven’t even listened to the podcast. I just read the outline. I’m so frustrated! I am a white middle aged male non believing mormon and I am so G#D DA@#ED tired of being called racist! Yes I voted for Trump but don’t forget I’m the same guy who voted TWICE for Obama!
    Why is it that xmos go from hardcore right to extreme left in one feld swoop and then practise the same narrow minded religiosity on the left? What about “moderation in all things”?

      1. defacto racist

        I’m sorry Gina. I have very much enjoyed your podcasts. You are intelligent, well spoken and profound in your commentary of all things mormon and also in a broader sense in the wider world. (Plus I just googled your image and you’re not so bad looking😊). I’m sorry if that is somehow misogynistic but I’m tired of running everything through the politically correct machine before I say it.

        I’m not a very well spoken person but I want to try. Over the years the progressive left has almost convinced me that I am what’s wrong with the world and I feel like I can’t take it anymore! I don’t even know how to express my frustration!

      2. Anita


        Why would you be surprised? Read the introduction to the podcast.

        I will not be listening to the podcast given the blatantly partisan introduction. It is time to move on from the election season lies and negativity.

      3. Aja Malaysia

        Mr. Defacto Racist. Where to begin? If u didn’t listen to the podcast, how do u know any of the ppl participating in it called u a racist? Feeling guilty?? I didn’t even know they knew u personally.
        No wait, did u mean Trump Voted forers? Did they say all people that voted for Trump are racist? In the podcast synopses? Feeling guilty?? Cuz u didn’t bother listening to the podcast at all. Why not? Why didn’t u? Listen to any of the podcast? Feeling guilty??
        So yeah they didn’t say that u personally were a racist. They also didnt say that everyone that voted for Trump was racist. In the synopses and I dont beleive they said it in the podcast. So again, feeling guilty? Are u a racist? That “Im not racist cuz I voted for Obama!!” Sounds a whole lot like “I’m not racist. I’ve had 3 black ppl over my house.”, or “I have black friends”, or “I dont see color”. Everyone knows u racist as a motherfucker when u say shit like that. See, Im not racist cuz its wrong, and its hateful, and its ignorant and Im better than that and u should be too.

  2. Randall Brower

    Defacto racist. You were spot on in your assumption. I was totally irritated as I listened to exactly what you mentioned. I also voted for Obama. I typed my feelings and responses as I listened to the podcast on the A Thoughtful Faith public facebook page. I reread them again this morning with a fresh new brain and still feel the same. You articulated my frustrations well. I have said what you have said for the past few years…’Why is it that ex-mormons / “progressive” mormons and liberal mormons go from hardcore right to extreme left in one fell swoop and then practice the same narrow minded religiosity on the left? What about “moderation in all things”?’ I am sick of being told ” It’s a black thing. You wouldn’t understand.” But at the same time being told by that black person how I think and feel and how racist I am. I can sort of understand the frustration of blacks stating you don’t know what it’s like to be targeted, profiled and labeled. But blacks who say that then do the exact same thing to me as a white person by telling me how I feel, telling me that I am privileged and racist (labels they hate being heaped upon them). Super frustrating.

        1. Gina Colvin

          From wikipedia:
          Systems thinking involves the use of various techniques to study systems of many kinds. In nature, examples of the objects of systems thinking include living systems in which various levels interact (cell, organ, individual, group, organization, community, earth). In organizations, systems consist of inputs, transformations, outputs, feedback loops, goals, stakeholders, and external influences that operate together to make an organization healthy or unhealthy.

  3. Nancy Melendez

    I am only 15 minutes in and must get to the grocery store – I’ll get back to it but I have some questions. About the doll study. If kids are presented with dolls of differing races and asked “which is the pretty one? which is good and which is bad?” – don’t the kids then assume that one is bad and one is good – what a terrible choice to make. One is pretty and one is not? Isn’t that leading? I do not know which mommy was talking about her daughter wanting to choose the white baby doll at Toys R Us but she said that the older brothers told younger sister that the whites ones weren’t pretty, trying to persuade her to choose the black baby doll. WTH? I am frustrated that we can’t seem to find a way to lift each other – ascend together! When raising one side up – why does that have to push another down? This happens with race, gender, and everything else that divides us humans. ALL are pretty. ALL are good. ALL are divine and valuable. That’s what I teach my kids.

  4. At the 94:00 mark, one of your guests was discussing getting diapers from the storehouse but was told that she had to ask all her family members for help first. This happened to us. We were living on less than $10,000/year. We got help from the church, no questions asked, the first time, and that meeting alone was very hard for me to set up and attend. The second time, we were given help but told we need to ask family for help. That was devastating. I never asked the church for help again. In fact, I had to drop out of school so I could work full time to pay our bills and feed my young family. It’s a ridiculous policy.

    I listened to the entire podcast, and I never found it racists at all. If anything it enlightened me to some race issues I hadn’t considered before. And, for what it’s worth, I’m a white male.

  5. Wendy

    I found this podcast to be extremely educational, enlightening, and eye-opening. Thank you to all the participants and to Gina for being willing to do this most important, difficult work in the current political climate. Hats off to you all! I hope you will continue so speak up. There are thousands of listeners standing with you. I am just one.

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  7. Great episode with lots of truth. One correction, though. The discussion of the Sanders/Clinton primary failed to acknowledge the fact that these panelists were unusual in their support of Bernie over Hillary. Hillary beat Bernie by fifty points among African-American voters nationally. That was true in New York City; it was true in Arkansas. White Democrats split almost evenly; it was people of color who made the difference for Hillary.

    This is not to say that the panelists’ personal support of Bernie is less valid or merits less of our attention. But it’s their own story, not what happened politically. The implied narrative that women of color nationally were telling the Democrats that they wanted Bernie and had to make do when Hillary was foisted on them instead…that just isn’t true.

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