The following is a “racial examination of conscience” put together by Mark Schmidt for the USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace & Human Development. Mark Schmidt is Director of the Office of Respect Life and Social Justice in the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa.

1. Do I interact with people who are different from me outside of work or school?

2. Do I read books or stories written by people of different ethnic or religious heritage than myself?

3. Have I taken the time to listen to the voices of others who don’t look like me or have a different background and life experience than me?

4. If in a supervisor role, have I included people of various cultural or ethnic backgrounds when developing professional guidelines and/or dress codes?

5. Have I ever said the following phrases or something similar: “she’s pretty for a black girl” or “he’d be handsome if he wasn’t so dark” or “that little girl would be cute if her mom did her hair” or other such judgments on beauty and acceptance?

6. Have I ever asked someone about their heritage or ethnicity by asking “so, what are you?”?

7. Have I ever seen someone on the street and made a judgement based on how they dress, how their hair is styled, how they walk, how they speak?

8. Have I ever participated in or laughed at jokes or comments that belittle or denigrate people who don’t look like me or practice a different faith than me?

9. Do I blame the victims who suffer poverty and/or oppression for their plight?

10. Do I try to come up with excuses for things I do or say that are perceived as racist or harmful by others?

11. Do I dismiss the concerns or observations of others as simply being “overly sensitive” or being “PC”?

12. Do I ask someone that I am an acquaintance with in social or professional settings to speak for their entire culture?

13. Do I use a friend or family member who is of a different background than my own to “prove” that I have said or done nothing wrong?

14. Have I ever said “I’m not racist, but…”?

15. Do I always speak to others from different backgrounds with respectful tone and language?

16. Do I automatically associate negative attributes to an entire group of people?

17. Do I use dehumanizing language about others, referring to people as “thugs, animals, illegals,” etc.?

18. Do I categorize other ethnicities into groups like “good” and “troublesome”?

19. When trying to show a broad ethnic representation for my community or institution, do I randomly place minorities in advertisements? Do I ask for input on how advertisements may be perceived outside of my own culture?

20. Do I take the time to learn and listen to the stories of others’ lives in order to better understand them and the challenges they may face that I do not?

21. Do I see Jesus Christ in each and every person I encounter every single time? Do I love each and every person regardless of their heritage, the choices they have made, their status in society, or the perception I may have of them?

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