Discussion Questions for Forward and Introduction of No Innocent Bystanders

Craigo-Snell, Shannon and Christopher Doucot. No Innocent Bystanders: Becoming an Ally in the Struggle for Justice. Louisville, Presbyterian Publishing: 2017.

January 11, 2017—Forward and Introduction

1. When the Young Men’s Leadership Group from Hillhouse High School speaks at nearby Yale University, “What can Yale students to do help you?” is the first question they receive. How did you feel when the question was met with “stone faced” silence? How did you feel when the Hillhouse students began to respond?

2. How did you feel when Shriver reported that “Some of those leadership group young men went on to college, and some finished high school. But some ended up in jail too: the odds against them didn’t change much because of our group”? Were you expecting a happy ending? Why or why not?

3. Craigo-Snell and Doucot remark that:

many white people in the United States—particularly those who are middle-class—have found that stepping into the role of ally in the movement for LGBTQ liberation is easier than stepping into a similar role in the movement for racial justice. (3)

Has that fit your own experience here in the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana? When have you found yourself tempted into “appalling silence” with regard to either issue?

4. How helpful is the privilege of car ownership as a lens through which to view systemic racism?

5. What was your reaction to encountering a discussion of grace in the midst of a conversation about systemic racism?

6. A number of the activists advising on this project expressed concern about the term “ally,” particularly because “the ally has the option to step out of companionship with the minoritized person.” How might we use the problematic nature of the term “ally” as a way of acknowledging our privilege rather than denying it?