I Am Being “Unsettled”

perkinsonA excerpt from Dr. James Perkinson’s “Unsettling Whiteness: Refocusing Christian Theology on Its Own Indigenous Roots” in Wrongs to Rights: How Churches Can Engage the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2016): 

What is this thing called “Whiteness” as a force of history?  A hidden Power that inhabits institutions, influences policies, whispers in psyches, and colors perceptions without itself appearing, except in shadows and at the edge of vision.  I have only become aware of how profoundly this Power has moved my will, shaped my desire, and birthed my thought, as black and native people in my life have called out its nearly invisible Presence that is so obvious to them.  I am married to a Filipina, from a country colonized by my own for half a century, so the scrutiny is relentless–but also very healing, in the midst of the “trouble” it occasions.  I am, year-by-year, deepening my understanding that I am a Settler on someone else’s land, and enjoy access to unjust amounts of “resources” and goods because of someone else’s labour.  I am being “unsettled.” Or more precisely, what is being unsettled within and around me is White Power (I am actually more than just the Whiteness that “possesses” me).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s