Friday, July 10, 2015

Things I've Learned About My Whiteness This Summer

1. I'm fragile. Because of this, I tend to make discussions of race about me and my feelings. John Metta writes, in a powerful sermon delivered to an all White congregation in White Salmon, Washington: "The entire discussion of race in America centers around the protection of White feelings." He's right. So you can imagine how tired the Black community is of talking about race, since all the white people around them start making it about White feelings.

2. I think it is other peoples' job to teach me how to address or repair racism. As if systemic racism hasn't put enough of the onus on minority communities as it is, when I finally get around to working on my own complicity in racism, one of my first reactions is to try and get minority communities to do some of the work for me of teaching me how to not be racist. Nobody has written about this with greater clarity than Jennifer Harvey in Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation (Prophetic Christianity)

3. I have the privilege to think of myself as an individual rather than part of a group or demographic.

4. I keep asking, "What can I do?" as a way of avoiding actually doing anything.

5. My denomination, and most mainline Protestant denominations, are the worst.

6. I think white means "normal" and I fear the day not-white is the new normal. And since the world isn't actually white, that day is today. So I'm scared all the time.

7. Issues of race are at the heart of my own religious tradition, inextricably woven into the fabric of what we believe about Christ and the cross and the church and our lives.

8. I never existentially fully comprehend the theological focus on Black bodies, because as a white person, I forget that I have a body.

9. It takes daily intentionality to code switch and experience the world from a minority perspective. #blacktwitter

10. When I do "theology" without attending to race, I do "white" theology. Nobody has pointed this out with more clarity than James Cone in The Cross and the Lynching Tree. But you can tell, reading him, that he is exhausted having to be the one to point it out. Why haven't whites done this work? Why haven't I?

* All the hyperlinks in this blog post point to the best things I've read on the web about race, whiteness, and Christianity.


  1. What total rubbish. Another stupid dissertation embracing white guilt. When does it end? I refuse to read such absolute garbage.