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Why Are We Only Focused on White People?

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Whether you are white, black or brown, the Gospel tells us we are all sinners in need of a savior. [1] So of course an individual black or brown person may be as prejudiced as any white individual.

In addition, anyone can be discriminated against for any number of reasons. Some people are discriminated against because of their poverty, gender or sexual orientation. Others are treated as less than equal because of a physical or mental disability. Still others are discriminated against because of their body shape, age, religion or nationality. The idea of “white privilege” doesn’t mean that white people never experience discrimination, only that they never experience the effects of systemic discrimination based on their whiteness (although they may experience individual acts of race-based prejudice). Something like poverty is devastating no matter who you are, but living in poverty while also facing systemic racism is a unique type of suffering that white people simply do not have to deal with.

The unjust use of force by police officers against any ethnicity is tragic, but police brutality against black men is disproportionately high, but the killing of black men also fits an ugly historical pattern of white authorities treating blacks as less-than-equal. Black lives and black bodies have been dehumanized and brutalized since the founding of America, and police violence is just a symptom of that larger problem.

Chattel slavery, medical experimentation, inhumane work environments and more have built into the American psyche the idea that black lives and bodies are not worthy of protection or care. So, unjust policing is only one area among many where society treats black and brown bodies with disdain. And when a video comes to light of a white police officer casually suffocating to death an unarmed black man (and one shudders to think how many similar incidents were never caught on tape), this is not an isolated act of grotesque injustice, but part of the pattern of racist injustice that has plagued our nation from the start.

[1] Romans 3:21-24, John 3:16

4 thoughts on “Why Are We Only Focused on White People?

  1. brother wayne says:

    If you dont look at the amount of melanin on my facebook page,would you recieve the video teaching of Pastor Voddie Baucham on Race and Reconciliation from March 27,2019?…Im not one to expect a reply…just doing what I believe God is wanting me to do…….plant and water…He brings the harvest…Yes, I have had Repent from Religion book for about 8yrs….reading it and buying other ones to plant….but I have been challenged to return once again to the foot of THE CROSS!…Its like we are all as Christians at the foot of THE CROSS choosing to grabhold of His right foot or left foot………..neglecting the fact that the same nail held both feet to The Same Cross….God Bless…not black nor white but CRIMSON RED!!…thank you

  2. Jesse says:

    “The idea of “white privilege” doesn’t mean that white people never experience discrimination, only that they never experience discrimination based on their whiteness.”

    — This is completely untrue if you are asserting that white people ever experience discrimination based on merely the fact that they are white. Greg Boyd in a recent podcast recounted an experience in which a glass bottle was thrown at him as he jogged through a black community. He was assaulted because he’s white. Many other white people growing up through the 60’s had similar experiences.

    I posted it on another thread but I’ll mention it again, Martin Luther Jr, perhaps the greatest civil rights leader in history, in his Freedom Rally speech in 1963 stated, “Black Supremecy is just as dangerous as White Supremecy.” But you all are silent on this. Why?

    Black Panters vs. KKK. Black Lives Matter has a very black supremacist ideology. But you are silent on that. Why?

    “The unjust use of force by police officers against any ethnicity is tragic, but the killing of black men carries special significance.”

    — This is an incredibly insensative statement to anyone of a different ethnicity who has experience police brutality including the killing of a loved one by police. Are you saying the mere fact that they’re black makes it more significant than if they were white?

    You go on to say,

    “Police brutality against black men is disproportionately high, but the killing of black men also fits an ugly historical pattern of white authorities treating blacks as less-than-equal. Black lives and black bodies have been dehumanized and brutalized since the founding of America, and police violence is just a symptom of that larger problem.”

    — This is an incredibly judgmental and condemning statement against the character of police officers you’ve never met or will ever meet. Why are you assuming in broad strokes that the motivation for action is a conviction that blacks are less-than-equal?

    “Chattel slavery, medical experimentation, inhumane work environments and more have built into the American psyche the idea that black lives and bodies are not worthy of protection or care.”

    — This is also incredibly judgmental and condemning. How could you possibly make this character assumption so broadly? I can tell you that you’re wrong about me, for one. And I’d imagine countless others. What led you to this overarching assumption? Where is the balance??

    “And when a video comes to light of a white police officer casually suffocating to death an unarmed black man (and one shudders to think how many similar incidents were never caught on tape), this is not an isolated act of grotesque injustice, but part of the pattern of racist injustice that has plagued our nation from the start.”

    — This is an incredibly judgmental and grotesque statement about the character of Chauvin whom you’ve never met. Could Chauvin have been racially motivated? Sure. But you don’t know that. Furthermore, the autopsy revealed that Floyd did *NOT* die of asphyxiation. Also, recently release body cam footage revealed that Floyd was intoxicated and was stating “I can’t breathe” from the back of the squad car long before he was on the ground. Chauvin was negligent but in light of new information, your statements here should be revised.

    Where is your balance??

    1. Emily says:

      Hi Jesse,
      You are correct that this wording about discrimination against whites is confusing and inaccurate. As such we are adjusting the language. Thank you for helping us correct this lack of clarity. Our point was not that white people cannot experience discrimination individually, but that they do not experience large-scale discrimination as a group. For instance, it was wrong that Greg was assaulted because he was white. But if Greg were to apply for a mortgage, seek educational advancement, send a resume in for a job or need access to healthcare, his race would not factor into these instances in the same way as it would for a person of color. As an example of this, one study showed that on resumes, “white-sounding” names received fifty percent more interview callbacks than “black-sounding names.” And it just so happens that the “white-sounding” names they used were “Greg” and “Emily” (my name)!

      Another phrase you pointed out that is not clear is the “special significance” of police brutality against blacks and we have revisited that phrasing as well. We do not mean that violence against white people is not significant. What we are saying is that the distinguishing factor between police brutality toward a white person versus a black person is that the treatment of black people is part of a large-scale pattern loaded with the weight of a history that is not shared by white people. And this history of degradation of black and brown bodies contributes to a widespread belief (even if it is subconscious) that these bodies are “less than.” There is no comparable history of such a perspective toward white bodies.

      This treatment of black bodies does not speak to the individual character of police officers or others involved, but speaks rather to a history and pattern of brutality against black and brown bodies that is not common to white bodies. The disparity between treatment of white people and people of color by police in Minneapolis is well documented, and thus an incident like this is part of a recurring pattern whether or not this one officer was acting out of racist motives.
      —Emily from the Communications Team

  3. Emily says:

    Thank you all for your comments and feedback! We believe this conversation is worth continuing, but are closing the comment section for now as we hope to engage individually with those of you who would like to discuss these topics in more detail. If you have further thoughts, please email us at info@whchurch.org.

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