Beyond recognizing white privilege
My last blog post, Tim Keller explains the systemic problem of white privilege, excerpting a commentary from the Q&A portion of March 2012 event, generated a record-breaking number of responses, mostly retweets. Now what?
Acknowledging the existence of white privilege is a huge step, yet a baby step, 1st of a thousand, towards opening the possibility of addressing the inequity and injustice of this aspect of American society. I’d venture to say that many do not yet acknowledge its existence. With it being a systemic issue, reforming an existing system is probably much more difficult than constructing a new system, or, would it take a revolution of sorts?
2 thoughts to mention. The talk recap from a Redeemer newsletter noted, “… We hope that conversations about race will continue at Redeemer, where over 50 percent of its congregants are Asian or Asian-American.” I’m wondering where was the Asian-American voice on the platform that evening, and who are the prominent Asian-Americans already engaging race conversations at Redeemer NYC if it’s already over 50% Asian?
And, Dr. Anthony Bradley, who moderated that Q&A portion, wrote in a September 2011 article:
As such, I believe racial reconciliation has largely failed for four reasons:
1. Racial reconciliation fails to interrogate white privilege. There is no denying the dominant cultural group in America is Caucasians. Being a white person in America comes with many unarticulated advantages. In 1988, Peggy McIntosh launched a national discussion by suggesting a framework to engage this discussion—a topic that evangelicals have yet to explore. White privilege has been defined this way: “A right, advantage, or immunity granted to or enjoyed by white persons beyond the common advantage of all others; an exemption in many particular cases from certain burdens or liabilities.”
2. Racial reconciliation advances according to the limitations of white social norms. Because there is little discussion of power in relation to white privilege, minorities are usually put in positions where they have to check their ethnicity at the door in order to engage.
3. Racial reconciliation does not advance nor advocate whites submitting to minorities in authority. Evangelicalism remains one of the few places in America where racial disparities in organizational structures seem no different than the era of Mad Men. But much of this is simply a consequence of scarcity.
4. Racial reconciliation misunderstands homogeneous ethnic churches as outmoded. This, in part, has much to do with many whites denying that they have cultural norms and the failure to recognize that ethnic minorities do need cultural centers for survival.