Archives For white privilege

I was on a panel this week at an event entitled Uprooting Racism from the Church, sponsored by the Michigan State University student group MSU Project 1:17. In addition to the live panel, they took anonymous questions from the audience for the speakers to answer online.  I’ve realized recently that I haven’t posted about racism / racial reconciliation in a while.  Somewhat because I’ve been busy with posts about sexual purity, lust, porn, marriage, etc. that go along with my recent book release.  But to my discredit, it’s also because some white Christians who would be interested in buying my book about sexual purity would also be upset about what I write about race.  So in my fear of man, I have backed down from speaking the truth (the same temptation I face as a pastor with the topic of race, Lord help me).  How quickly and easy it is to fall into this trap!  I had also become fatigued with debates and fatigued with people being upset with me, so had taken the easy road.  I apologize for that to anyone reading this, especially my friends of color.

I thought posting a blog with my answers to these Q&A questions would be helpful because I’ve already written them, and because I’ve previously articles on these subjects, which you can find at the bottom of each post.  There will be 3 of these, with the questions having been anonymously submitted from the crowd at the event earlier this week.  The original format for these was on a Facebook event page, which I’ve just copied and pasted here.  I’ll post one each day over the next three days, this is day #2 of 3:

The Question: What would you say to someone experiencing “white guilt”?

My Answer: Continue Reading…

Like many, I am still staggering from the fact that the President of the United States blamed “both sides” of the recent Charlottesville white supremacy rally and subsequent attack without openly condemning the white nationalists, let alone doing anything about their actions.

His statements have the white supremacists raving Trump’s praises:

Newsweek just ran an article that “White Nationalism is Now ‘State-Sanctioned’ Under Donald Trump, Experts Say,” which included this video: Continue Reading…

I did a sermon last Sunday (at bottom) that looked at how to apply the many biblical texts about oppression and injustice to a 2017 American context.  At Crossroads, we are making intentional steps to become a multi-ethnic church. I’ve been immersed in the multi-ethnic and racial reconciliation conversation since 2008 (when I first read Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America by Michael Emerson and Christian Smith).  Many think there aren’t more multi-ethnic churches because of worship style, preaching style, cultural differences, and the general human inclination to clump with people who are like us.  In my observation, these are not the real reasons.  The primary reason there are not more multi-ethnic churches is because white Christians can’t typically be trusted with the experiences of people of color.  What I mean is, church is community.  The evangelical church is humorously known for overusing cliche words like “authentic” and “real” and their many synonyms.  This is what community is supposed to be.  But when a person of color shares their authentic and real experience–the daily racial micro-aggressions they endure, the history of our nation that created the disadvantages they face daily and have to strain to overcome, and so much more–white brothers and sisters in Christ either have no category for these things and are just confused, or at worst, deny these experiences and disadvantages all together.  If you can’t be real and authentic about your life experience in your Christian community, then you aren’t going to stay in that community.

Historically, the reason we have black denominations, seminaries, and churches is because the white churches and organizations did not let black people in…so they had to go and start their own.  And what we have today is the recent-byproduct. Continue Reading…

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…