I'm going to throw out here an explanation of "white privilege" as I have come to understand it. Automatically, when I say that, people from both sides of this term get all shook up. I'm going to try to explain it differently than maybe you have heard it before. Maybe you think I have it all wrong, but maybe, just maybe I understand it better than most. All I know, is I used to think I understood what this meant and even took offense to the term and I have come to understand there's much more to it than we typically take the time to learn.
I honestly want to run and hide from these conversations because I feel inadequate and uneducated on most political type conversations, and I hate confrontation and conflict, but I have also been challenged in my own heart to speak up on things that God has put in my life, to advocate for others, or at the very least speak truth and shed light into some darkness. I have had blinders on before, so I speak from experience.
I have 2 teen boys one black and one white, so I have a front row seat to know a few things that maybe the media doesn't report, and history didn't teach. I don't listen to the news, but I do listen to people and I happen to have a close relationship with black and white people, of different ages and backgrounds, and I love to hear their stories, not what I hear on the news, that is reported from a slanted view, or just from history books that has been written from a white point of view.
|These boys are brothers in every sense of the word, and they have had, and continue to have, very different experiences in life|
To be fair if we are going to call news, fake and one sided, in a day and age when we have so much access to news and information, let's not get all defensive when I say history was written from one-sided white point of view, because it was. The black people were slaves and not given the opportunity to learn to read and write for the most part, but they have rich and deep history passed down from generation to generation, but this is not the history that is taught to kids in school.
I have heard people say, and I have honestly probably said it before, "Why can’t we move on and quit talking about race, they are just stirring things up, and they aren't slaves anymore, and we aren't slave owners so why can't we all just move forward?
WELL!!!!!! God help us when we feel like this.
God himself obviously thinks history of people and genealogy is very important. He told his people many many times to remember and he also has records of genealogy in the Bible and often talks about people's history and where they came from and how they got there and how they were treated in the process. He has chosen only so many written words (the Bible) to publish and share, and part of it is genealogy throughout the Old and New Testament. God must think it's a pretty big deal to keep talking about people's history and genealogy, and how they got to where they are and how they lived in the process. So if it's a big deal to God, it better be a big deal to us, and we better remember and grieve over wrongs done by people and to people all throughout history and praise our God for grace and forgiveness and restoration.
A simple explanation of white privilege is: Life is smoother, and there is more opportunity, for a person of white skin than those of darker skin.
Privilege in itself is not good or bad or right or wrong; it’s what we do with that privilege.
You can argue this several ways, but I know black people and I know white people and I can tell you across the board, life has been smoother with much more opportunity for the white people than the black people. You can give me 100 reasons why you think this is so, but I don't think anyone can argue that the black and white facts of the matter, is life has been smoother with more opportunity in many ways, even in current times, for the white people you know than the black people (if you know any).
There will be flaws in these examples, but it could give a closer description than what most people think of when they hear the term "white privilege." For just a minute, let's not talk about skin color and just read the 2 following examples and see if there's a glimpse of fresh understanding.
There are twin girls born. They are born same time, same family, same household. One twin is born with cerebral palsy and one is not. These twins are both sweet and cute and shy and have a lot of the same personality traits and both are equally loved and provided for by all the family around them. One twin needs a wheelchair to get around, and the other does not. One twin needs help with everything in life for her entire life, the other does not. One can walk into a crowd unnoticed one can never enter a room unnoticed. One is always identified by her CP (physical), and the other is identified by her name, and what she does. People love these two once they get to know them both, but one is easier to get to know because people feel more at ease with her, and they can relate to her better, and they don’t have to go out of their own way to connect with her, she has more in common with the majority of the people that surround her daily. The non-CP twin just has more opportunities and smoother; dare we say more privileged life, due to her physical advantages, that she was born with. Neither twin has to be mad at the fact that life is smoother for one and not so smooth for the other. It would be a slap in the face and a tragic LIE if the non-CP twin did not acknowledge that her life had certain privileges or certain advantages that her twin with CP did not experience. It would also be tragic if this privilege or advantage was screamed at the privileged twin to make her feel guilty or bad about her advantages or privilege. The able-bodied twin gladly gives her life to do whatever she can with all her opportunities and advantages to help her twin that has been born into a very different situation.
*I am not implying that there are physical disadvantages to being dark skinned, I'm simply trying to give a perspective of being born into privilege, and being born into challenges.*
Let me give one more example and then I will let you decide if I just don't get it, or maybe I do, and you can learn a different way of looking at "white privilege."
Let's just pretend there's a neighbor that was born into a LOT of money. We are same age and, same general community, educated in same school. It would be a flat out lie if she stated that she knows exactly what it feels like to work your hardest every day and not be able to make ends meet. It would be a lie if she said she knew how it felt to lose her house because she couldn't make the mortgage payments. It would be demeaning if she told me that if I would have just worked as hard as her, then I would be in the same place financially, as her.
When people say that dark skinned people have been given more advantages because of their African American or Native American status, it's like saying the twin with CP, only gets a wheelchair because she doesn't walk, and it's not fair because we don't get a wheelchair. Or let's use the second example and say the one with inherited money says I have more advantages than her because there are programs in place to help me and not her, programs like Housing Modification Loans and Short-Sale programs and such.
As Christians we aren’t only called to acknowledge or even speak up, but also lay down our life for our brothers and sisters.
1 John 3:16-17English Standard Version (ESV)
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?
Maybe, just maybe, the Christians in the country should take the lead on this issue lay down our pride and begin to truly unite and feel compassion for the people that are telling us they are feeling pain. May we quit telling them how they should feel and not feel and listen, and quit telling them to forget about it and move on.
May we pray for God to open our eyes and break our hearts for the things that break His.
May we not dilute anything that God has told us, but compromise our political views in order to gain unity as brothers and sisters that are called to love God and love people. When we get so crazy stuck and hang our identity on anything other than Christ we invite hardness into our hearts. God doesn't care if we are good American Christians...He wants us to be Christian, that is Christ-like.
Christ came from a place of privilege. He was in heaven living in perfect unity and relationship with his Father, and he laid it all down for us. Jesus laid down all his privilege and his very life so we could share in all the privilege and perfection that was His. He didn’t tell us if we just work harder we can do better, he just stepped in and took all our pain and shame on himself. He didn’t give us a hand up, he traded places with us.
Psalm 146English Standard Version (ESV)
Put Not Your Trust in Princes
146 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
2 I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
3 Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
4 When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.
5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
6 who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
7 who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
10 The Lord will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the Lord!
I think it's so important to fight for things that are in line with the heart of God. His heart is for people and justice and taking care of the widow and orphan and prisoner, and the oppressed. His heart is for Him and His Kingdom, He is God. God cares how we love Him and love our neighbor, He cares for the things that we stand for, and the things we kneel to. He wants us to lay down our pride and sometimes shut up about things that hurt us and speak up about things that may have hurt someone else.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
This passage also says to pray for your enemies, so if you see someone that has a different political view or stance as an enemy, maybe you ought to pray for them. If you are offended by how they treat something sacred to you maybe you should invite them over for dinner. I know it's totally crazy talk...but I didn't come up with it.