White People, Butch Up

That is the not so subtle message from Brandi Miller:

When situations arise where race and privilege are questioned and criticized, often times white people free fall into fear, anger, silence, denial or guilt. These emotions, while understandable and not bad in their own right, typically derail and recenter race conversations around the feelings of the privileged white person instead of on the lived oppressive reality of people of color.

White Evangelical Christians are particularly fragile, with whiteness being normalized and pandered to in society and theologized in the church. Evangelicalism at large cannot even identify with its inherent Christian privilege, let alone with the sexism or racism within the church. It is wholly unsurprising that if Evangelicals can claim to be persecuted even as 83 percent of Americans identify as Christian, they will almost certainly interpret the suggestion that their whiteness has negative meaning as an attack on the very core of who they are.

A white evangelical could possibly take this as a compliment. At a time when we award participation trophies to child athletes and issue trigger warnings for sensitive college students (for starters), the idea that some sectors of the population should be tough enough to take criticism is a welcome one, and may indicate a backhanded compliment. The people against whom Ms. Miller thunders are those who don’t need safe spaces.

Advertisements