Some White Christians Did the Right Thing. And also . . .

“Growing up in the South was a both/and not an either/or. My story here is told from a young white person’s experience within a mean, segregated culture. My family was very racist. Their job was to brainwash kids into as much hatred and white supremacy as possible.” Filmmaker Carolyn Crowder

[Note: This is a post for my White Siblings in Christ.]

Please watch the trailer here of Carolyn Crowder’s new film about white pastors who did the right thing when they served Southern Presbyterian Churches in the mid-late 20th Century.

Rev. Wallace Alston being interviewed by Carolyn Crowder.

Southern Presbyterians will recognize several of the men interviewed: John Kuykendall, Lee Carroll, Lamar Williamson, Willie Thompson. Their story is so moving and most of us in the Southern Presbyterian Church have not heard it. But I hope you’ll take the opportunity this summer and find a place to watch and discuss it.

If you happen to live in or near Charlotte, NC: The documentary will be shown 8/23 at 6:00 pm at Covenant Presbyterian Church (1000 E. Morehead) in the Fellowship Hall and will include dialogue following with the Director and Co-Director. Other screenings have been scheduled for Auburn, AL, Spartanburg, SC, New Orleans, LA, Dothan, AL, Mobile, AL, Dallas-Fort Worth, TX, McKinney, TX, Chapel Hill, NC, Asheville, NC, Birmingham, AL. Details here.

These are important stories, but I have two important points to reiterate here:

1. Just because a handful of pastors did the right thing in the past, doesn’t excuse us from doing the right thing now or exempt us from doing the right thing in the future. Sometimes when discussing White Supremacy with my White Christian siblings, I’ll hear comments like these:

  • My grandfather served on an all-White jury in 1962 and they found the Black man accused of robbery not guilty.
  • My father built the first community swimming pool for the Blacks.
  • I have Black friends.

Congratulations.

Anecdotes like these gloss over the fact that most all-White juries have found Black defendants guilty, recreational services in minority neighborhoods continue to be substandard, and when was the last time a Person of Color spent the night at your home or ate dinner around your table?

We have a lot of work to do in changing both our awareness of White Supremacy and our civic actions.

2. Doing the right thing can get you killed, kicked out of school, excused from the country club and shunned from the community. (No need to remind you what happened to Jesus.) And yet through the generations there have been people who took their faith seriously enough to defend the vulnerable for the sake of Loving Their Neighbors.

Princess Alice of Battenburg, Leokadia Jaromirska, Raoul Laporterie and Derviš Korkut were all Christians who have been recognized at Yad Vashem for saving Jewish children and adults during the Holocaust. Obviously they risked everything to do the right thing.

Most of us are too afraid of losing friends – much less our lives. Doing the right thing can mean giving up our life for what’s right, but it’s usually more about speaking up when we hear lies and hate. Doing the right thing means ensuring that what we want for our own children is available to all children.

Some say that our nation is on the cusp of another civil war fomented by lies and the demonization of those whose politics differ from our own. A time might come – and surely will – when we will have the opportunity to do the easy thing or the right thing.

If that time comes, I hope we will be as brave as the pastors in this documentary.

4 responses to “Some White Christians Did the Right Thing. And also . . .

  1. Patricia Brannon

    As a person of color this sounds like a documentary I need to see. On the other hand I say to myself I can’t sit through another discussion with no real intention of change. I am reminded of the recent message by Kate Murphy at Presbytery meeting when she reminded us of all the excess of the large White churches while the small churches of color are dying from lack of resources

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Do you need a reservation to attend the screening on Tuesday?

    Like

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