My Facebook discussion, bringing it here - Why Can't I Celebrate being White?
October 31, 2017 6:20am CST
Firstly let me explain. I am not racist. I'm a Minister in an organisation where most people are black. I take part in Black History events and so on. I was also once the only teacher of crèche work in Oxford and most of my students were black. I have taught multicultural issues time out of number. However, the whole point of church is it accepts us all on an equal footing whatever race we are. Jesus died for all of us. God is not going to stand there at the day of judgment saying "you get in you are black," or "you get in, you are white." He will be looking at the heart. Over the years, I have learned that prejudice cuts all ways. Every culture on earth has its prejudices and stereotypes about just about every other culture and often people are guilty of what can be called "unconscious prejudice." Black people might for example, be really unaware they are marginalising the white people in their church because they insist on always having rice and chicken and turn down the idea of potatoes. White people might never think of including rice in the church pot luck and so on. Occasionally, I "must" be a visitor because I am white and therefore likely to be "unsaved." Sometimes even among people who are fellow ministers or pastors I kind of feel the distance. They would say they didn't but they just don't realise how their reaction comes across. I am even at times "unspiritual" to people in cultures where it is considered suspect to own a cat. It is all par for the course. White people can also have all sorts of prejudices against each other. My parents were considered "less than" by ,my parents in law because they come from a different social class. Every day, on a million ways, we consciously or unconsciously pass on our prejudices and non of us can wear labels saying what our ancestry is. Most of us will not even know our prejudices are prejudices. I have for example, had Nigerians run down Nigerians without even realising this is a stereotype. Write down what you actually think about any other race than your own and you will be surprised how much prejudice is in you. Just start "all Italians are" and go through the list of countries in the world. Now ask yourself, would I like it if my daughter or son married someone from there? You will discover you are not as into equality as you thought. You too are guilty of prejudice. Now to my point. There was this conference. It was to celebrate black women. I think that is great, BUT: Please can someone tell me why I cannot hold a conference to celebrate white women? Why is that racist? Why is one racist and not the other? Why can I not go to Africa and say "This country" about Africa and yet have to accept my African friend saying "This country" in a derogatory way about mine? Why am I held responsible for a slave trade I was never part of? My ancestors were probably Yeomen. They may have even been lower down on the social scale. It was a small part of English society who propagated the English slave trade. Most ordinary people did not get a say in what the Empire did. They were working for a pittance for the Gentry who would do things to them like say if they were in service they could not have a relationship with the opposite sex. Their time too was owned, even if we have to concede they got a wage. There was no vote for ordinary people, and without people like the English Thomas Carlisle there would still be a slave trade operating. Lately I hear of more and more stories of people who have come to England and then tricked people into working as slaves for them. I hear of white girls and black girls who are sold into sex slavery and it was taking place right around the corner to where I lived. My own daughter narrowly escaped. Then we need to consider that black people have enslaved black people. Some freed slaves then bought slaves themselves. Some tribes, historically, have captured people from other tribes and made them slaves. If we go on saying "you cannot celebrate who you are because of history," then we deny almost every race the permission to celebrate who they are. So for today, I, the Grandmother of a child with a Jamaican heritage am celebrating that I am a white girl and enjoying my culture. I like our English roses, Morris dancing, The village pub and the way I worship. I like English music and English composers and English artists. What other nation has a Constable? I like my long straight hair and my white skin and even at times the English cold and Christmas and most of all I like being me. I like the kind of services in church English people have and the kind of sermons some English preachers preach and I am proud of those who did take the gospel to the nations who now need to bring the gospel to us. John Wesley was English. The Bible was translated first, by an Englishman. Many legal systems have their root in English law and many great things have been done by the English. That does not mean one or my heroes is not the woman who stood up for equality before Rosa Parks. (Claudette Colvin.) It doesn't mean I won't gladly wolf down and enjoy Jolloff rice or happily sing all the choruses in church mega loud with my black brothers and sisters. I does not mean I would have supported the Empire or slavery or put up a notice in my café saying "No Irish and then no Blacks." I suspect, like many of my white friends, if we had been born centuries ago we would have been force fed in prisons for the vote, attended the anti-slavery rallies and thrown out of churches for our pro-female views. I am descended from a martyr (Thomas Ridley.) Disagreement with the establishment is in my bones. I challenge every white and every black woman to look at where we all came from. If you believe the Bible we were ALL created in the image of God and don't tell me Eve was totally responsible for eating an apple. Adam had a brain and conscience too. So today I lay on the cross my right to be BOTHERED by what other people of any colour say unless it is to the detriment of another person, race or culture. Let the black sisters have a time to celebrate. Let the white sisters celebrate, then let's mix it up, let's just celebrate the wonderful amazing truth that a wonderful God made US and had fun with a pretty amazing pallette of colours. I put the question on Facebook and only white people answered which was rather disappointing.
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• Cambridge, England
Yes, I am discriminatory (rather than discriminating) in many ways. I tend to be preferential towards my own family, for example, and sometimes involuntarily put people I see in different categories to myself purely depending on their mannerisms or style of dress and, sometimes, skin colour. The word 'worship' originally meant 'the act or state of according something or someone its proper worth or value', so one may 'worship' other things besides God (as long as one 'has no other gods before' Him, of course, meaning that no other thing should be considered of higher worth). My cat is discriminatory, too. He has categories of, for example, 'friend human, feed me', 'friend human, let stroke', 'not know human, no trust', 'dog person live here', 'not know dog person, scary', 'other cat people, not friend' and so on. I think that being discriminatory is innate and part of our being but that, to humans, it matters (or should matter) whether the way we do it is negative or positive, obstructive or constructive, hurtful or beneficial. Herenow, I'm not sure where I was going with this ....
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The leftists' white-supremacists kerfuffle Are accusations, baseless debacle Bizzare liberal meltdown confusion To them, everything's a racist intrusion. Tell you what, wonderful white pal Love your snowy, milky whiteness as a gal No guilt hunting you 'cuz you're white So long as your happiness 's at peace with everyone in sight Who seeks to walk the mile with you in sunshine or rain For God made you white, and others black or brown It's really that pretty simple and plain. Thanks for your insightful post
It always seems odd to me. The more we bang on about such things as Black History or whatnot, the more we're just creating a divide. Why don't we have a Pakistani History month, or an Eastern European? Why have those cultures been marginalised and forgotten? I used to have a student who's response to any punishment - however well deserved - was It's because I'm black, innit? That used to rile me so much!