In August 2015, lay missioner Annemarie Barrett wrote a five-part series on how her time on mission in Latin America has shaped her understanding of racism and privilege.  Readers expressed gratitude and called the series “challenging,” “honest,” “insightful,” and “real.” 

In addition to sharing personal experiences (often through video), Annemarie provides external resources in her posts for further reading.

About the title, “Through the Eye of the Needle”

“The image of the camel passing through the eye of the needle is one that is familiar to many Catholics and is used often in reflections about material wealth. The Bible verse references material wealth as being the barrier that keeps us from entering the kingdom of heaven. As we reflect today on the injustices that exist in society, racism is at the root of the suffering of many of our sisters and brothers. As a white person, my white privilege is one of the barriers that keeps me from participating in the kingdom of heaven today: it blinds me to the suffering of others and allows the suffering to continue. My apathy toward racial injustice makes me complicit in racial injustice. In order to pass through the eye of the needle, I must start to deconstruct the blinders of my white privilege and engage the journey towards racial reconciliation.” -Annemarie Barrett

Read the Series

Part 1: Unpacking White Privilege in the Journey to Racial Reconciliation – In the series opener, Annemarie shares the experiences that inspired her to write about racial reconciliation and how it has affected her during her time in Bolivia.

Part 2: I Am Not a Saint – In the second part of the series, Annemarie explains her discomfort when she is given praise or special treatment simply because of her skin color.

Part 3: Acknowledging Affluence and Structural Racism – The third installment of the series focuses on how racism is a structural problem that extends beyond the personal level to the societal level all over the world.

Part 4: Realities of Cultural Imperialism – In the fourth part of the series, Annemarie discusses the realities of globalization and how the prevalence of American culture overseas can lead to prejudice and marginalization.

Part 5: Putting it into Practice – In the series conclusion, Annemarie shares a short list of concrete steps that she tries to take in her own journey of living in solidarity with people of color as a white person.

Group photo with the women in Santa Rosa after the annual seed exchange

Group photo with the women in Santa Rosa after the annual seed exchange