I did not vote for the president-elect. However, I’ve benefited from a system and a mindset that did elect him. With campaign promises to be tough on crime, deport illegal immigrants, and bring an end to Muslim religion-inspired terrorism, our president-elect has committed to targeting people of color in the United States, and those promises resonate with millions of Americans — some of whom are members of our churches.
Did it take this election for me to wake up to the church’s complicity in the current racial realities within our nation? Did it take this election for me to finally acknowledge the full extent of white power and how I, and the church to which I belong, have benefited and been complicit? Perhaps so.
Whites must take responsibility for addressing white power — its existence, the death and destruction to human life it has perpetrated over the centuries, and the atrocities it continues to inflict on persons of color in the U.S. today. An end to segregation, resisted by many in the church, was just a beginning. We must also address white privilege acknowledging our sin while opening ourselves to pain and suffering — something which white privilege has allowed me to escape.
As a leader in an ecclesial body that is predominately white, and that values justice and equality, I call us to examine our whiteness, the historical roots of U.S. racial oppression and how it is manifest in our lives and in the church today. My soul, and the soul of the church, depend on it.