What Is & Isn’t Being Said: 4. “Privilege”; A Parable of Smith & Emerson

Divided by Faith rev

We concluded our last post, “What Is & Isn’t Being Said: 3. ‘White Privilege’,” by stating the importance of recognizing, not only the 400 years long history of racialization in the United States, but also the privilege that white Americans enjoy even today, particularly in relation to black Americans. When one refuses to acknowledge this history and privilege—or simply does not understand it—one tends to propose explanations for current disparities by ahistorical means, illicitly assuming a neutral historical starting point for discussion. Given that the average white person in America does not feel himself to be personally prejudiced, thinks that racism is the sin of a rare few, and believes that all barriers to entry have been removed by Civil Rights legislation, white Americans tend to believe that something must be wrong with the black community itself. If all is thought to be equal (in terms of “access” and privilege), what else is available to explain the vast inequities cited in the previous posts? (Even popular theologians can be found offering explanations such as greater sexual sin in the black community, a persistent “victim mentality,” a tendency to see the world through “the lens of race” rather than “the lens of the gospel,” and a lack of will to work hard and succeed because of welfare.)

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What Is & Isn’t Being Said: 3. “White Privilege”

White Privilege

As there has been much discussion over the topic of Racial Reconciliation in recent months, I thought I might do my best to clarify what is and isn’t being said by RR advocates such as myself. Of course, I cannot speak on behalf of everyone pressing the case, but I hope to at least clarify some of the terms, phrases, and assumptions being debated. This might constitute a lengthy series, but if it proves to be beneficial to any interested in this discussion, I will indeed continueTopics will include “race,” “white privilege,” “color-blind,” “institutional racism,” and more. Feedback is welcome. 

[Please see the previous post, “What Is & Isn’t Being Said: 2. ‘Race’ and the Racialized Society,” for the necessary historical context.]


“Privilege” can be generally defined as,

A special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.

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