Dr. Willie Jennings. After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging (2020).
By Rev. Margaret Anne Ernst
The seventeen year old Kyle Rittenhouse, who has been charged with killing two protesters in a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, could have been my cousin or little brother. Raised in the far north suburbs of Chicago, his life proves that it is not Southern rural people who are the foot soldiers of white supremacist violence, like I was often raised to believe as someone who grew up in the North, but white people everywhere, including and especially in tree-lined suburbs just like where my own people came from.
I woke up last week to news of Rittenhouse’s murders of two protestors who were in the streets raising their voices for justice for Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and to the defenses of these murders from amidst the Right’s flanks like Tucker Carlson and Ann Coulter. Ann Coulter said she would want someone like Rittenhouse as president. Tucker Carlson said that Rittenhouse was right in “maintaining order” on the streets of Kenosha, echoing the law and order talking points that have become front and center in the Republic National Convention. Continue reading “Kyle Rittenhouse, Whiteness, and The Responsibility of White Faith Leaders: Notes from Conversations with Ruby Sales”
By Tommy Airey
Note: this piece has been edited after it was originally posted.
“At stake is not just a new cognitive awareness and objectivity about the situation of race, but a new passionate posture and subjectivity founded on a new spiritual interiority.”—James W. Perkinson, White Theology: Outing Supremacy in Modernity (2004)
A year ago, Ruby Sales invited white men to email her if they were interested in convening a conversation about breaking rank from what James Baldwin called “a pantheon of the relentlessly mediocre.” We organized a gathering that she called “The Council on the Way.” I joined her and 22 other white men from New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, California and Oregon for a spiritual conversation centered on a redemptive white male liberation theology. We gathered on Capitol Hill, a stone’s throw from the Supreme Court. We hoped it would be a mustard seed for a movement breaking rank from white male mediocrity. Continue reading “Casting Out Whiteness”
By Erika Fox, shared on facebook June 16.
Shared with permission
Social media is not my platform (flip phone user here) so I have not mastered the art of articulating myself with fewer words. But the words keep rising up and waking me in the middle of the night, calling me back from a decade-long break from writing I was sure was permanent, and this seems a place to share some of them despite their length.
As a trauma therapist, there is so much I could say about this moment in history, about the relationship between trauma and oppression and the intergenerational transmission of trauma. And while I will continue to hold space for the trauma (and resilience and brilliance!) of Black bodies, Indigenous bodies, and bodies of color, those are not my words to share. My deep love compels me to share these words with white bodies – because addressing our unconscious racial conditioning and patterned responses from our unhealed traumas is necessary for the work of racial justice and restoring our humanity. Continue reading “This moment in history- from a trauma therapist”
By Jim Perkinson, a sermon for St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (Detroit, MI)
Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. (Paul, heading off to Rome and ultimately, his death, in II Cor 13:11)
Farewell. The entirety of the message for today. Farewell to the world you thought you knew. Farewell to the country. To certainty. To your identity. To the expectation of progress, well-being, comfort, a good end. And maybe, most important of all, farewell to the story we have been living in. We live inside stories—a whole mess of stories—origins stories, initiation stories, trickster stories. Leslie Marmon Silko says at the end of the day, when the dominators come, when the colonists come, when the supremacists come, when the humans come (if you are a fish or plant or mountain top) all we have are our stories (yes, even non-human creatures probably have stories they live). But if we are the ones who have been doing the dominating, the colonizing, the reducing, being the “human masters over” everything else as the Psalmist unfortunately says—then what our responsibility comes down to is narrating—and embracing—an “ending.” How do we end and end well? Continue reading “Apocalypse of Whiteness”
From a recent Ruby Sales “Front Porch” post to America (May 25, 2018)–in response to a report that federal agencies lost track of almost 1,500 migrant children:
We are in the midst of radical evil and spiritual malformation and social pathology that live in the fabric of a socially constructed diseases called Whiteness.
Whiteness is evil and distorts the human soul. We are in the grip of radical White evil. And our silence makes us co participants. People have you allowed yourselves to become numb? Continue reading “This Travesty of Whiteness”
By Kateri Boucher
Last year for my Sociology senior thesis, I chose to research the interactions between two environmental justice (EJ) organizations in a majority-Black city with a rich and complicated history of EJ work. I had made connections with folks in the EJ movement when I had lived there for a few weeks the previous summer, and I figured that studying these two organizations would be a perfect way to both learn more and get involved in work that I was drawn to. I did some background research, and then traveled to the city for a week to do interviews with members of both organizations. After documenting my findings, I submitted the paper and got a near-perfect grade on the first draft. I was proud of my work, and I was rewarded and praised for it. Continue reading “Telling my own story”
A [re]post from Ijeoma Oluo’s speech at “Interrupting Whiteness,” an event held on June 1, 2017 at the Central Library in Seattle, co-hosted by KUOW Public Radio.
Hi, I am Ijeoma Oluo, and I am a mixed race black woman who was raised by a white mother in this very white city.
I have a Ph.D. in whiteness, and I was raised in “Seattle nice.” I was steeped in the good intentions of this city and I hate it. I love this city. I love you guys. Also, I hate it. I really do.
And I’m going to talk a little bit about why. I write about race, and I’m regularly reached out to by really well-meaning white people who want to explain to me what my work is like to them as a white person and the white perspective that I’m missing.
And the only part of the white perspective I’m missing is the ability to be unaware of the white perspective. Continue reading “Drowning in Whiteness”
An excerpt from Bayo Akomolafe’s “Homo Icarus: The Depreciating Value of Whiteness and the Place of Healing.” Dr. Akomalafe is globally recognized for his poetic, unconventional, counterintuitive, and indigenous take on global crisis, civic action and social change. He is the author of the about to be published These Wilds Beyond Our Fences.
To address Charlottesville is to meet the implosion of white order and normativity. It is to go by way of a prevalent distrust in the political order, a coming to terms with the real limits to the power of neoliberalism to cater to our basic needs and yearnings as an ever-emerging co-species. It is to touch upon the silent racialized class war that is still being fought – only under other names and so invisibly as to now be expected. It is to exorcise the demons of fruitless wanderings and search for land. It is to meet those who are broken, who – like the rest of us who might claim some sanity or goodness to ourselves, who might consider ourselves on the right side of history, who might think of ourselves as progressive and welcoming to diversity – are not yet at home. Continue reading “Decommissioning Whiteness”
Let me just say something before we have a question. I really think that one of the things that we’ve got to deal with is that how is it that we develop a theology or theologies in a 21st-century capitalist technocracy where only a few lives matter? How do we raise people up from disposability to essentiality? And this goes beyond the question of race. What is it that public theology can say to the white person in Massachusetts who’s heroin-addicted because they feel that their lives have no meaning, because of the trickle-down impact of whiteness in the world today? What do you say to someone who has been told that their whole essence is whiteness and power and domination? And when that no longer exists, then they feel as if they are dying or they get caught up in the throes of death, whether it’s heroin addiction. Continue reading “Where is the theology that redefines to them what it means to be fully human?”