Racism and White Supremacy in America
Racism and white supremacy are a cancer in America. A common misconception is that just having a discussion about them is agitating for trouble and attempting to revive issues from our country’s dark past. To the contrary, these issues are not confined to our past, and acknowledging them is not agitating for trouble. Rather, it moves us toward healing. Much like a disease, one must acknowledge its presence and seek treatment in order to be made whole. Avoidance and denial will only serve to further the illness.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/views/2019/racism-amidst-remnant
Pastor, I applaud you for your candor and your consecration. It is no easy thing to condemn wickedness that is so interwoven into a culture that it is looked upon as virtue.
As a Elder within this denomination, having worshipped within White, Black, Latino and Mixed congregations I have seen the beauty of unity and the ugliness of Tribalism within our pews.
My greatest fear for many of my American white brothers and sisters in Adventism is that just like the Adventists in Germany during the Nazi Era and some of the Hutu Adventist Leaders in Rwanda, when faced with advocating for or agitating against atrocities, their “tribe” will “Trump” their “faith”. It already has for many of them.
I prophesy that The “mark of the beast” will be a eternally fatal trap for many White American Adventists not because they don’t know the Truth, but because the Political Alliance and Movement that will push it will be their “tribal” ally. Their current “Politics” already foreshadow their future decisions if their conviction upon this faith is not transformed to conversion.
America has successfully exported its White Supremacy and its Racism to Canada, the UK, and Australia, and while nobody does it better than the US, Racism has been used to successfully bring feckless Leaders to power in America, Australia, the UK, and nations in Eastern Europe. Solomon wrote under inspiration that the Wicked walk on Every Side when the vilest of men are exalted.
I do not believe that the American brand of racism will be removed from our Church until the current “shaking” culminates with the final crisis. It is then that our numbers will be purged of those who have not allowed the spirit of God to dwell within them as they flee the church for their Tribal alliances, safety or for convenience.
James 2:9 makes it clear that many White Adventists who now sleep will not be resurrected in the first resurrection. The sin of racism will bar many who now sleep in the faith of the Three Angels message from the resurrection of the Just…BUT for those who are STILL alive now who harbor this sin…there is a chance for restoration and reconciliation. I pray that God will give us wisdom on how to reach them, and open their eyes to their nakedness, blindness and poverty even as he still works upon us - before it is eternally too late.
If the the gospel is not working for us at the interpersonal level, we have no business recommending it to others. Racism in the Adventist church is endemic and systemic. We have institutionalised it to a point that it has become the new normal. You need to come to Africa to see the psychological damage it has done to both the educated and uneducated black church member. There is no unity in this church, its just on our lips and our actions are saying something else both at the organisational and personal levels. I wish you can come to South Africa to see how divided and full of hate we have become with the blessing of the General Conference!!
I’m jumping in head first in here. I didn’t finish the entire article - heard it before, so I’m responding to the first introduction.
I am white and I can’t help it. Talking about racial differences is not the same as healing racial differences. No one in North America can forget about the issue, as it’s front and center as a political issue; so there’s no denial.
Yes, the founding fathers were racist as was the entire western world. When I was a kid in Europe, I had not seen an actual black person until I was 9. I can just imagine that no one in Europe (from where our founding fathers came from) had very little knowledge and less interaction with black people.
Did white people mistreat non-white people - yes. We can’t judge 16, 17, 18th century people based on our cultural norms present today. Jesus himself, never advocated for racial equality. Does that mean we don’t? Society, as a whole, has grown beyond the norms present several hundred years ago, even from the time Jesus spoke of God’s kingdom. Slavery was world wide - still is. It’s wrong, but it won’t go away. Even the black cultures in Africa were engaging in a slave trade long before white men showed up on their shores. Why not trade with these guys.
American society has gone far beyond accepting racism as a norm. If anything, the pendulum has swung the other way as many cultural manifestations are more black than white - ie: the music industry. The entertainment industry is at least equal, and the sports arena his dominated by black athletes. It’s even beneficial not to be white if you want to attend Ivy-league schools.
There most certainly are pockets of white supremacy; as there are neighbourhoods whites should never enter. Is there work to be done - yes. But, when it comes to social organizations, I’d say that if the US elected a black president twice, we have come a long way; and need to acknowledge that. Political entities have a hard time letting go of the issue because it has garnered votes. Now that the illegal immigration is in full swing, they can get their votes there and might leave the black among us alone.
Brother Sirje - You are beating around the bush. Instead of seeking self justification or tribal exoneration, how about just acknowledging the problem, and seeking a solution?
“Our intent is one thing, but the impact of our actions is another. And the barometer of whether or not we are racist and have white supremacy coursing through our veins, is not based on our intent. The metric of whether or not we are a racist is the impact our words and actions have on others. Racism and white supremacy are much broader that we think, they are broader than just the KKK. Racism and white supremacy are knit into the fabric of American society so much so that we white people don’t even think about it.”
“In order to not be racist, you have to be anti-racist — actively and intentionally working to dismantle the current corrupt conditions we find ourselves in.”
Your very act of denying, deflecting, obfuscating and dismissing is an unintentional act of perpetuating the continuance of racism.
While teaching at Loma Linda I had a Black Graduate student. I helped him with his research project that included a Four day trip to central California. we rode together, we roomed together. while off the project I suggested that we visit local real estate offices since I had a long range thought of a private practice and living on a small acre ranch so my children could have horses etc. We visited three offices each said they had no such listing. As we left the third office, I commented how strange… He laughed and said, What to try again with out me?
That would be “sister” - and why don’t you just tell me what you want me to actually do? I’m not carrying placards, nor am I going to shoot police. Is there anything else? I’m not going to list all the nice things I’ve done for the black people I have met. Just to be aware that you’re actually dealing with a black person is in itself racist. So, while I’m aware of anyone’s blackness it doesn’t matter to me in the least. I was not born with an IOU clenched in my little first in case the nurse was black.
Sirje you stated in your post “I am white and I can’t help it.” you later said “When I was a kid in Europe, I had not seen an actual [b]lack person until I was 9” Now you are claiming to be black. Ok. Your moniker began with Sir, and you have no picture nor have you spoken in a manner or in inferential remarks that would identify you as a female…nor do you have a pre existing picture to substantiate such a claim.
You stated: “I’m jumping in head first in here. I didn’t finish the entire article - heard it before, so I’m responding to the first introduction.”
The bible declares: in Proverbs 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it , it is folly and shame unto him.
Your remarks seem convoluted, disjointed and non germane to the article.
You can claim to be “black” “female” or anything you like on the internet.
I have judged your initial words and am confident that you are bearing false witness as to your race and I am 99% sure I am dealing with a white male based upon this your follow up.
You would do well to read what is addressed to you. You ask what I would have you do? My opening remarks to you began with it. I will repeat: “Instead of seeking self justification or tribal exoneration, how about just acknowledging the problem, and seeking a solution!”
You need less Breitbart and more Bible. Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord brother. And you need not lie about your race or sex as it bears no weight upon the validity of your arguments. What you initially said, and what you have followed it with disgraces you if you proclaim being a follower of Christ and cheapens the discourse in this discussion thread. At no point in your rambling second response did you make a cogent remark that could edify or enrich the discourse. All of us who have read it are dismayed at your displayed lack of integrity.
I do not credit your remarks with honesty nor good intent. May God have mercy on your soul.
Where do you get the idea I said I’m black. You called me “brother” and I’m telling you I’m not a brother but a sister - meaning female and I am white. Is that clear enough? And yes, I stopped reading about a third of the way through once I had the gist of what you were about. I only responded to the portion I had read.
How about responding to what I said instead obsessing about whether I’m black, white or whatever. Did you miss the part where I said I was 9 before meeting a black person. That might be a clue as to my race. The female part you’re going to have take my word for. And my actual name starts with S, I, R, and continues with a J and an E as printed. If you have nothing further to respond to, I guess we’re done.
What you said implied you… no matter. If you are maintaining I misunderstood you then I retract my condemnation of what appeared to be blatant dishonesty on your part and apologize for that misunderstanding.
I did respond to what you said. I said you were beating around the bush. I said your very act of denying, deflecting, obfuscating and dismissing is an unintentional act of perpetuating the continuance of racism.
You asked what I would ask you to do?
Here it is: Instead of seeking self justification or tribal exoneration, how about just acknowledging the problem, and seeking a solution!” or better yet, just acknowledge the problem and if you have nothing to add to the solution…just keep it moving.
Honestly, I’m speechless after reading this post.
You seriously don’t know what you are talking about in regards to Sirje. Then you go on to accuse her of lying. This was a disgraceful post.
cfowler Her words speak for themselves. What is actually disgraceful is Sirje’s attempt to gaslight, obfuscate, and dismiss the issues raised in this salient and apropos article.
But don’t miss the forest for the trees. The issue is not Sirje’s attempt to deny realities and experiences in her forays into ultracrepidarianism.
The real issue is the matters highlighted in this article. For instance
when a Adventist Pastor proclaims in a Adventist Church that he was not ok with the KKK, and church members walked out of the sanctuary… How do you feel about that? or is that not important nor indicative of a crisis of morality within the family of faith?
You are most likely right. The root is fear, resentment, and immersion in a dominant cultural narrative 6 days a week. Then, on Sabbath, one day of reflection and study does not negate the words and ideas that have taken root during the rest of the days.
Prophetic lament involves grieving and sadness about the state of one’s societal group. Anger, resentment, and blame will be the clues that one is on the wrong track.
I don’t think anyone should be okay with the KKK. It’s deplorable.
Sadly, I’m not surprised by any of the examples the author cited. I think the “family of faith” has a lot of issues and problems to deal with.
The most abandoned poor in the US are millions of white people in the Appalachian’s
Racism exists without a doubt as does white supremacy but it’s far from the main problem, one which has always seen the Christian US stand apart from other “Christian” countries ie a public policy attitude that oxygenates individual selfishness. People of color are disproportionately impacted but it doesn’t make the “system” inherently racist.
You don’t have to create a completely socialist state to create a more equal resourcing of health, education and other needs. As an outsider who has lived in the US, the apparent view seemed to be a complete contentment with the fact that the school in the next door county looked third world as long as my children were getting a fabulous education.
You asked what we would have you do. I’ll quote from the article (I presume this is from the section you didn’t care enough to continue on and find for yourself. I would hope you’d learn a lesson from this, but you probably won’t.) -
No, if we truly do not want to be racist, we need to put in the work to reverse what the last four hundred years of racism and white supremacy have created. Putting in the work means that those of us who are white need to educate ourselves about the privileges that we experience on a daily basis. These are privileges that are so common to us that we take them for granted. They do not register in our brain as privilege, they feel like normal life. Take for instance the privilege of not being followed in a store, or the privilege of seeing images of people that look like you portrayed as heroic in books, on TV, in movies, in the classroom, etc. There is also the privilege of never considering that we did not get a job or a loan because of our skin color…
Putting in the work means advocating for those who do not have the same privilege we do. Putting in the work means educating ourselves to the reality we are in: reading articles, stories, and books on the subject. Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving is a good place to start. And most importantly, putting in the work means believing the lived experience of our black brothers and sisters when they say something doesn’t feel right, when they share stories of how they have been hurt.
There’s so much more you can do. But what the author said is a good place to start.
Thank you for the tutorial. As it is, I did get to read this part as well; but I still don’t see any specific things I can do to change 400 years of racism. You call it “work” to “educate ourselves about the privileges I experience as a white person.” OK, I’ve done that; and admit no one follows me in a store. Does that realization affect, in a positive way, any black person… As for TV and Hollywood, there is plenty of black representation.
Can you be specific as to how exactly I can “advocate for those who do not have the privilege of being white.” You could also be more specific about how to “educate ourselves to the reality we are in”. Let’s say I have read all those books - does that help the black plight? It helps me to know the problem; how specifically does that help the problem? I am here to tell you I absolutely believe black people have suffered at the hands of whites - and the other way around as well. Yes, black history is sad - my saying that doesn’t change anything. It’ not enough to keep wringing our hands, and keep picking on the scabs that are forming on the hurts of the black population.
Oh, and by the way, what’s the crack about me “learning a lesson from this, BUT I PROBABLY WON’T”. How do you know what I’ve done?
Some people never see racism, like some never see war, but it doesn’t mean that those stuff doesn’t exist or that it never existed. We look at history, those book kids use at school, and we never read about slaves who fought with the British in the American War of Independence, nor the Native American people, who live on homelands not out their own free will. We have to admit that racism exist, like discrimination against women exist. Because when we negate the one, we automatically negate the other.
And some conjure racism everywhere, and see nothing else whatsoever, disbelieving that anyone who is not their color can understand. Seems like just another color of, ahem, racism.
In other news, male supremacy and it’s attendant genderism has enslaved women for many thousands of years (and despite advances, it still exists, and is thriving in Ted Wilsons adventism)-and it was not their own kind that sold their sisters into slavery.
Sadly, articles with this central premise do not help.
We owe it to women to correct the older ism first. But I suspect the author, and at least one of the respondents here, will not apprehend the older insult to humanity.
Hint: it’s not about race, at all.
This conversation is already tired. I rarely have the stomach for it anymore. I wish we would break some new ground. But I’ll start here and hope that this will be enough to make you think of this in a new way. First, if you don’t believe that reading about the problem is a specific help to solving the problem, then it makes me seriously doubt that you’ve done any actual reading about the problem. Second, part of the problem is that you, at least here, speak of racism and the suffering of Black people at the hands of Whites as a thing of the past, and I find it fascinating that you think the “suffering” of White people at the hands of Blacks is in any way equal to the reverse. Examining why you think those things are valid thoughts and constructions of our racial past and present, changing that thought process, and then advocating that other White people in your sphere of influence would also change their thinking would be a good start to helping us end this oppression.