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).

One thought on “I Am Being “Unsettled”

  1. Connie T Jackson

    The reality and not the appearance of a systematic white dominance in America and around the world has always and continues to occupy thoughts, land, resources and control that don’t belong to any of us! The issues that continue to blantantly rear it’s ugly head in a manor that calls out inferiority over peoples of many nations. The question is, “How does the whiteness that possesses you become relevant in the lives of your neighbors, colleagues and associates?” Who determines the discourse and dialogue exchanges privately and publically when the power is interpreted and realized as beyond the reach of real everyday people living and many who are just trying to survive?

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