So, I’ve seriously considered, “Do I have privilege as a white person?” As a child, all of my toys matched my experience; I never had to special order a doll that looked more like me. One of my schoolmates, however, wasn’t quite as fortunate. As an adult, I have never once been told to go back to where I came from, and I’ve never had someone follow me around a store, or move to the opposite side of the street when they saw me coming out of fear that I might hurt them. And I know, having listened to story after story, that many others haven’t experienced these same luxuries. As a soon-to-be adoptive mom, I’m hyper-aware that my child won’t really fit in as a superhero, because the common superheroes are white. Pay attention to TV commercials and notice how seldom you see people of color. We don’t notice these things because they don’t affect us. Imagine though, being a young black child that see’s nothing but white people represented in the world. I imagine it’s isolating.
There’s no way around it, our nation is built on white privilege, which means one group is catered to over and above the others. It’s okay to admit that. In fact, it’s of grave importance that we admit our privilege. By admitting it…we can change it. If we insist on denying that white people have it any better than others, we haven’t yet humbled ourselves to the realities of the world. Just because we haven’t seen it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. That’s actually part of our brain development. At two years of age we think that if we cover our face with our hands no one will be able to see us because we can’t see them. At this age we’re incapable of comprehending that others can see something we don’t. But our brains develop over time, as adults we are capable of much more. We have to look beyond our own experience. The world is much bigger than our little corner of contentment.
As Christians, we need to talk about racial diversity—even when it’s uncomfortable—because our God is the God of a magnificently diverse humanity. It’s commonly accepted among scholars that the Apostle Paul wrote the letter to the Galatians (some Biblical letters attributed to him are disputed based on date and literary style discrepancies). Much of the reason for his letter was an intra-Christian dispute over the marks of Jewish identity (many Jews were converting to Christianity at this time) and whether those marks should be mandatory for gentile/non-Jewish converts. Paul’s argument is that once we are baptized, we are one people; there are no qualifying separations, so we must not allow our differences to divide us. “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).” Our society has a lot of divisions to consider. It’s high time we get busy. In fact, I would argue that as Christians, we are mandated to diligently put an end to the injustices of racial discrimination.