I recently wrote the article below. I suppose I got folks’ attention, and that was intentional. The comments were all over the board, which is expected with something so provocative.
White supremacy is a buzz word and it’s become the popular descriptive term for white Americans. I don’t agree with it but if it does get people’s attention. I think better said is white privilege…which denotes privileges people of color don’t enjoy. There are places in the country – probably more than we would realize – where white privilege exists. And it evolved from all of our institutions, of which the Christian church is one. A large percentage of folk alive today have been raised in that culture and still carry the biases learned from the environment they were raised in.
It is not about pointing fingers, attacking Christian churches, sinners or saints. History is history.
This has become an important topic for me lately, and one I probably would not have felt so strongly about 10 years ago. We tiptoe around sacred cows that have played a role in perpetuating white privilege/racial inequality and somehow get a free pass from any serious discussion. It is not about pointing fingers, attacking Christian churches, sinners or saints. History is history. It is about understanding that there is a reason why white privilege still persists and somehow influence a different way to think about equality. We will never change our way of thinking if we are always defending the status quo and ignoring the obvious.
I sent this to an old friend whom I have known for 40+ years. He is a southerner by birth, through the 60s…a good guy. He sent me back a note which included this comment;
I have never had the exposures discussed in the article. Largely that had to do with my family’s views toward blacks which was always very respectful and pretty much the same with friends’ family’s.
My friend’s response was thoughtful and honest, and it was from the perspective of the culture of the times. But he missed the point. He was looking at the white/black relationships through the white lens…we were respectful so they must be “ok” with how they are treated.
But is that the case when people of color look through their own lens, created by history that is different from those of us who grew up white. Were those people of color really okay with their role in society, in church, in neighborhoods? By not asking the question we can remain blissfully self-righteous. It’s time to ask the question.
I truly believe most White Americans are not racist, but we enjoy our white privilege, me included. White privilege is what it is…most of us had no idea it even existed until recently…I sure as heck didn’t and coming to terms with it is a bitter pill to swallow for some folks. We can change that mindset, but we need to think differently if we really want to level the playing field.