Sometimes I wish I were white by Osheta Moore. “When I was a little girl and couldn’t fall asleep, I would play an imaginary game where I’d have one wish, any wish granted by a magical elf. On those nights, I’d lay in my bed feeling invisible under the cloak of darkness, and whisper, “I wish were I white.”
Hidden assumptions and minorities burdens by Sam Tsang. “The surprising number of close friends who did not talk to me but quietly left the friendship circle is shocking. Whatever the reason for an abrupt breakage of friendship, they had preferred to side with their sub-group (privileged whites) over our journey as friends together. No matter what their intention is, their action showed that identity with a subgroup is more important than long-term individual relationship.”
The Asian-American Awakening: That moment when you realize you’re not white by Connie Zhou. “Being Asian-American has always been a difficult part of me. I was (and am) proud of my heritage and how far my parents have come, but I had a hard time feeling as if I belonged somewhere. Experiencing first hand segregation and racism has made me despise my race for many years. I was trapped between two worlds.”
Westbank garden of teargas cannisters in pictures. “The Palestinian residents of Bilin have come up with a novel use for the teargas canisters left over from clashes with Israeli soldiers.”
MamaHope’s video campaign to Stop the pity and unlock the potential of those living in poverty. “Build the future, not a stereotype.”
Open letter to the evangelical church: I am not your punchline by Kathy Khang. “When the Church uses bits and pieces of “my” culture – the way my parents speak English (or the way majority culture people interpret the way my parents speak English) or the way I look (or the way the majority culture would reproduce what they think I look like) – for laughs and giggles, it’s not simply a weak attempt at humor. It’s wrong. It’s hurtful.”
How to land your kid in therapy by Lori Gottlieb. “underlying all this parental angst is the hopeful belief that if we just make the right choices, that if we just do things a certain way, our kids will turn out to be not just happy adults, but adults that make us happy.”
In which identity can’t be found in the accusations – or the accolades by Sarah Bessey. “Here is the thing about standing up: some people would rather if you sat back down. People prefer status quo. Boat-rockers make us nervous. Just like people in the wilderness wearing camel hair coats and eating locusts with a side of honey disrupt us, people who think Jesus actually meant all that stuff he said don’t fit in anywhere. But I won’t sit down. I won’t back down. I won’t be silenced simply because I’m not perfect. My only prayer now is that my weakness shows the strength of Christ and his Kingdom.”
When rich westerners don’t know they’re being rich westerners by Rachel Pieh Jones. “I am not surprised by, but continue to be disappointed in, the western attitude toward the developing world. It is an attitude I see often, though not exclusively, among Christians. It is an attitude of superiority, a god-complex. An attitude that communicates an underlying assumption, intentionally or not, that the rich westerner is the one with power and authority and agency. As this is communicated, of course the opposite is communicated as well. The local person is weak, a victim, and helpless. The rich westerner must charge in to fix things, build things, challenge the status quo.”
“Don’t try to win over the haters. You are not a jackass whisperer.” – Brene Brown.
10 marriage reality checks by Rachel Held Evans. “Myth #2: Never go to bed angry. Reality Check: 3 a.m. is not the best time to sort out your feelings.”
Christopher Columbus was awful (this other guy was not) by The Oatmeal. “Christopher Columbus was awful. He discovered the New World much like a meteorite discovered the dinosaurs. And good ole’ Christopher Columbus, sex slaver, mass murdered, and champion of sociopathic imperialism has his own federal holiday.”
Malcolm Gladwell on his return to faith while writing ‘David and Goliath’ by Sarah Pulliam Bailey. “The theme of the book is that much of what is beautiful and powerful in the world comes from adversity and struggle. The other theme is that people who appear to have no material advantage are much more powerful than they appear.”
Replacing Sunday Mornings: Where we went when we stopped going to church, and why we came back by Addie Zimmerman. “So we started sleeping in on Sunday mornings. We went to the farmers market and bought good things straight from the earth. We drank our morning coffee at small café tables outside, and people walked by with their dogs at a slow, Sunday-morning pace. It felt more like rest to us than those chaotic church mornings, when we moved through the loud small talk of the church foyer and felt invisible.”
Ann Voskamp, Tim Challies, Beth Moore: Dinner and a Defense of Earnestness by Micha Boyett. “While many bloggers (myself included) tweeted angrily about Challies’s dismissive judgment of the entire Roman Catholic Church, Voskamp responded with a post of her own, defending her book and its biblical foundation. She did not back down and still she wrote with kindness and a grateful spirit. And then she sent Challies an e-mail inviting his family to dinner.”
This is sometimes called the “white savior” mentality; and it is far too prevalent and accepted in the American evangelical church. Without words, it communicates that the white people are better, smarter, more capable to hold the power strings. It is one of the tragedies built by the empire of colonialism that none of us want to face.
We didn’t do it, right?
That’s not our story.
My family didn’t own slaves.
But we still benefit. The system is set up for us, and gives us power without us even having to ask for it.
We can be white without even knowing we’re white.
Sometimes, I say things that might make you squirm a little. And other times, they seem to make you downright angry. Yours is a story of dominance, of disrespecting and denying others’ rights and conquering those who are inconvenient to you. I know you well, and imagine that it can’t be easy to carry such a heavy load on your shoulders. You are not alone in your burden. Indeed, others from a variety of cultures and races and histories have told this story sometimes even more brutally than you.
At first, I was a bit hesitant, wondering if the evil, the battle, the fear that rages in the story of good vs. evil would be too much for them. But as we read, I grew more convinced that this was more than an entertaining story, it was food for their souls.
Here was a way we could dialog over issues of evil, of injustice, of fear. Here we could explore the complex realities of relationships, emotional scars, power structures, and even political systems in ways that they could actually understand. Mention the United Nation’s peace efforts and their eyes cross, but bring up Umbridge taking over Hogwarts and they’re suddenly rabid activists for peace and justice.
Comments were so prolific this month that they get their own section. Thanks, readers, for thoughtful and engaging discussion!
“As a 40-something black woman, I just plain get pissed when white people dismiss me and treat me in the ways that they think they hide so well (ya’ll don’t, I’m just saying)…
I am Martin and I am Malcolm. There is a dichotomy in me – I am patient, kind, loving and willing to spend a few days in jail and write some letters to prove a point. There’s also the “By Any Means Necessary” Black American Patriot who expects white folks to live up to the best of American ideals- liberty, justice, freedom- and won’t accept anything less.
Ya’ll ain’t ready for me so you need to listen to her. Seriously.” – thatdeborahgirl
“I noticed something was missing, though, and it’s something important… when humility does bring up statements such as “I’m so sorry this hurts you. How can I walk alongside you in this?”, one thing that needs to be considered is that humility also prepares you for when those folks asked that question dont want to answer or dont want you present… THEY have that agency, so we’ve gotta prepare ourselves to be OK with them trying to tell us we may not be welcome in their space/they may not feel like educating us/we may be perceived by them as intruders, and that it’s OK for them to feel that way.
You give a fantastic sense of hope in this article, but without that key piece MUCH good work could be undone if people were to reach out and not understand why they may feel rebuffed at times, or if they were to react poorly should their question be answered in an unexpected way. We need to remember that while we can strive to understand, we dont have an inherent right to understand their sense of agency nor override their agency or voice in our own struggle to know where it comes from.” – Bonzafe Bon Oungan
“I am tired of this guilty conscience mentality that people are trying to push onto “white” people.” – Joseph
“Part of the problem, I think (in America, at least), is the willingness of the minorities to KEEP themselves segregated.” – Chris Pavona
Why don’t blacks integrate?
I do think that there are some black people who prefer to integrate, usually the older generation that grew up in the segregated south. Historically it was white people not black people that created this voluntary segregation (look up White Flight). I myself grew up in a neighborhood which in the late 70s was a white area but when I was growing up in the 90s was black. The segregation was caused by whites moving out in the 80s as blacks moved in, and it has continued to be a black area. A lot of blacks move into my neighborhood as its the cheapest out of the DC suburbs, and many whites prefer to pay more to live in more white areas. Personally, I sadly think this is still the racist mentality that whites are good and blacks are bad, so for a black family that moves to a white neighborhood they see as moving up but for a white family to move to a black neighborhood means that there downgrading. Then when more than one black family moved into the neighborhood, the neighborhood is going down all white people move out.
Why do we maintain HBCs? We don’t have any HWCs…
We do have HWCs we just don’t call them that, in fact that was why HBCs were created so that Blacks would be able to go college. Now if you’re next question is about the lack of diversity of HBCs, its just a common myth that you have to be black to attend one, its open to all races. I believe there are about 2 HBCs that have a predominantly white enrollment and even at the most famous HBCs (Howard, Hampton) they do have some non-black enrollment (mostly international, though). by Whitney
“Being a hipster white male in his late twenties, I can totally relate to this article. It is well put. Thank you for raising the flag…
In my youthful days though, I had concluded in my White-Christian mind that all those (passive-) aggressive Indonesians and blacks needed to repent from their anger and that me quietly ‘forgiving’ them was the way to balance out the evil in the world. I would look at my WWJD bracelet and smile, all self-indulged.
It has been not too long ago that I feel that I need to take ownership of this white heritage and your article inspired me again. Thanks.” by Jobke
“I, personally, have no problem with [the video] for two reasons: the first is that he is the man who wrote the song, and the second is that “white males” have, as you’ve specifically mentioned, been in a dominant cultural position in the United States. Therefore, by being a white male and also the man who is currently singing the song, he is representing our own dominant cultural group, as everyone else who is singing is also doing. (I also have a feeling that they’re not looking only for males, but I can’t say more than that on the male/female matter) Plus, if he weren’t leading the song, I have a feeling that a majority of the people listening to the song wouldn’t be able to connect with what was being said due to a language barrier. (I wouldn’t want them to make the individuals present speak in English, because that would exert cultural dominance over them.) I, personally, think this great video is a good example of “white humility”, because it acknowledges that other cultures are out there, interesting, important to us, and that we are concerned for their well-being.” – Jared McMillan