[Note: Ukraine was attacked after this post was written. Please join me in praying for all those in harm’s way today.]
Two years ago, a small group of Presbyterians decided that we would try to bring the National White Privilege Conference to Charlotte. It would be the 23rd of these conferences and – as we started our planning – a lot of organizations were “in.” Yes, they would support the conference. Yes, they wanted their names attached.
Things have changed in the past two years and not just because of a global pandemic.
Today, the words “White Privilege” are fighting words – now more than ever. Today . . .
- In Virginia, House Bill 781 is being considered and if passed, teachers who teach “divisive concepts” can be charged with a Class 4 misdemeanor punishable by up to $250, face termination or have their license revoked.” You can read the bill here.
- In New Hampshire, Mom’s For Liberty will pay $500 to people who report teachers in violation of their new “discrimination laws.”
- In Utah, the principal of West Jordan Middle School asked the student group “Black and Proud” to change its name to “The Black Student Alliance ” after a white student’s father had asked her if his son could start a club called “White and Proud.”***
***This very comment demonstrates why teaching about Slavery, Jim Crow Laws, Red-lining, the Tulsa Massacre, and so much of this history is essential. People with Black bodies have been taught for over 1000 years that their bodies, their minds, their souls were inferior to People with White bodies. This teaching was legislated. It was (and is) part of our culture. And subsequently, People with White bodies were taught that their bodies, minds, and souls were superior. This continues to show up in educational opportunities, law enforcement, and – sadly – church.
We who are White-skinned have been taught overtly and subtly all our lives that we can indeed be proud to be White. It’s good to be White, we’ve learned through the ages, especially in a courtroom, in a classroom, in a board room, in an upscale shopping mall, behind the wheel of a car, walking in a nice neighborhood, running for office, interviewing for a job, etc. etc. etc.
But what a difference two years makes.
Much of these differences are a result of misinformation shared for the sole purpose of causing chaos and division. (Note: Here’s a podcast on how to identify misinformation.) Our nation is terribly divided because of misinformation.
This is a time to be firm but loving with each other. Let’s learn from each other. Let’s talk with each other. Let’s not be a party to the misinformation.
An excellent way to start and/or continue the learning is to attend the National White Privilege Conference. Please join us. You can register here.