Archives For white privilege

Discussing white privilege in an effort to bring unity and reconciliation is like walking on a high wire coated with random landmines.  You say the wrong thing, the wrong trigger word, and BOOM: end of conversation.

I’m going to try my best to navigate this wire, please bear with me with grace.

Why this is important

Imagine a population of color, who has always been the numerical minority, who feels that those in the dominant majority (in this case: white skin) relieves a person of certain stressors and thus provides them with certain advantages.

But, that white population who is the majority doesn’t see a difference.

The minority feels there is a difference.

The majority doesn’t.

Off the bat, can you crystallize the conflict and tension on both sides?

The majority thinks the minority needs to stop complaining, or to stop making things up, or to take responsibility.  The majority thinks that the very conversation about the minority having more stress and resistance in life is an excuse to blame someone else for their problems and not try, and the conversation gets categorized accordingly.  In addition, the majority often feels like they are being accused or attacked.

Meanwhile, the minority Continue Reading…

I’m white.airbnb-a8707ed9_original

I can use AirBnB instead of hotels when I travel.

I can drive around wherever I want without fear of getting pulled over for no reason.

I can shop in stores without being followed by employees or security.

My culture is always the dominant culture surrounding me.

I never have to assimilate to or accommodate another culture.

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 2.28.37 PMAlmost all movie characters look like me.

Almost all of the Disney characters look like me.

Almost all of the characters in the kids’ books I read my children look like us.

My skin tone and culture are normal.

It’s great to be white.


My point to this list is not to point out every aspect of white privilege (you can find that list here if you’re interested).  It’s to point out: Continue Reading…

at a crossroads behind the curtain ministry podcast noah filipiakNoah Filipiak interviews Pastor Tyler St. Clair about his upcoming church plant on the NW side of Detroit, the neighborhood Tyler and his wife both grew up in.  Tyler’s target location is one of the “bad parts” of Detroit, with all of the symptoms of urban poverty ever-present.  After being guided to plant in other more financially viable areas, Tyler discusses why he is staying committed to this needy area.  Noah and Tyler discuss white privilege and the challenge of ministry fundraising as a black man.  They also discuss the lost emphasis Scripture puts on loving and ministering to the poor and the need for the Church to be the body and not hoard all of the resources in suburban areas.  They also discuss how a lot of church planting movements want to make it look like they are ministering in the poor parts of Detroit, when they really aren’t.  Tyler also shares about a season of his life where he rejected black preaching and theologians, and how God brought him back to his roots and ethnic identity by introducing him to many spiritual giants of the Christian faith who come from the African-American Church.

Subscribe to all “Behind the Curtain” Ministry Podcast episodes on iTunes

Listen to the Tyler St. Clair podcast episode here:


Connect with Tyler:

Tyler on Twitter

Tyler on Facebook

Tyler on Instagram

Tyler’s Blog

Email Tyler ( about joining his fundraising team (tax-deductible)

Click for Tyler’s Prayer Newsletter, with link at the bottom to subscribe to future Prayer Newsletters (click “Forward” at the very bottom of the Newsletter and enter your email in both email lines)

Resources mentioned in the interview:

Tyler’s Blog Post “Forgetting Giants” about great black theologians of the past

Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America by Michael Emerson and Christian Smith

African American theologians and preachers of the past:

Phillis Wheatley.

Lemuel Haynes

Richard Allen

Gardner C. Taylor

E.K. Bailey

A. Louis Patterson

African American theologians and preachers of the present:

John Perkins

Eric Mason

Tony Evans

Crawford Lorrits

Bryan Lorrits

H.B. Charles Jr. – On Preaching book – H.B. Charles Jr.’s Podcast

Charlie Dates

Robert Smith Jr. – Doctrine that Dances book

James Earl Massey


I attended The Justice Conference in Chicago this past weekend–two days packed with biblical teaching on helping the poor, racial justice, human trafficking, and much more.  You can get a good snapshot of the conference by perusing #Justice15 on Twitter.  With the gravity of the topics discussed, I found my mind brimming with subjects I wanted to blog about upon returning home.  I will certainly get to some of those soon, but first need to shed some light on an ironic and tragic injustice some of the black presenters of the Justice Conference experienced at the nearby conference hotel, Congress Plaza.

One of my favorite presenters at the conference was Rahiel Tesfamariam, who taught one of the workshops at the Race & Reconciliation pre-conference track I attended.  My favorite thing about Rahiel’s presentation was how clear she was that she loves Jesus and how that is her motivation to do justice work, and then how boldly and effectively she pursued her work.  Rahiel is the founder and publisher of the online magazine Urban Cusp and is a leader on race in America and dismantling racism.

While I was reading through the #Justice15 tweets on my Twitter feed Saturday, I saw the following tweet being retweeted: Continue Reading…

I’m 32 years old and I grew up white.

suburbia-lawn-mower-white-raceI was raised in a suburban town of Dayton, OH where nearly everyone was white.  The Dayton area follows the pattern of most metropolitan cities in America: urban core made up predominantly of people of color, particularly African-Americans, where the most recorded crime and the worst schools exist.  You then move a circle out to find the “white flight” suburbs, “safe” towns and communities created by white people who wanted to get away from black people and the “danger” they brought.

My graduating class of ~350 people had 5 or 6 black kids in it.

My church of ~350 people had 0 black people in it.

I was never taught by a black teacher in school and was never preached to by a black preacher in church.

The Christian college I attended in Grand Rapids, MI was also predominantly white, the very small smattering of black students heavily outweighed by the (estimating) 98% white on-campus student population.  I never had a black professor.

The seminary attended in Grand Rapids had a slight uptick in black students, still vastly dominated by white students though, and I still only sat under white professors and white senior leadership.

I never noticed or cared. Continue Reading…