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Author Topic: Christianity Today Magazine - August 2020  (Read 1180 times)

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patrick jane

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Christianity Today Magazine - August 2020
« on: August 01, 2020, 05:52:40 am »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2020/july/promise-keepers-virtual-event-global-tony-evans-michael-w-s.html








Promise Keepers’ Comeback Event Goes Virtual


















Tony Evans and Michael W. Smith on the lineup for the first major program of the men’s movement in nearly a decade.


Thirty years ago, a Christian men’s movement began as a meeting of dozens of men with a prominent former football coach. Its biggest moment was a gathering of hundreds of thousands on the National Mall in 1997.

Now, Promise Keepers is attempting to make a comeback, but not in the way it had planned.

Starting Friday, the organization will hold a free two-day virtual event, bringing together men from more than 65 countries to hear from former sports figures, Christian musicians, and famous pastors and authors. Organizers originally hoped to draw 80,000 men to a stadium outside Dallas for their first major arena-based event in close to a decade.

“We’re showing this to a huge conglomeration of churches in India—it’s going to be translated into Hindi—and all over South America, translated into Spanish, and it’s also being translated into Polish,” said Ken Harrison, the organization’s unpaid CEO for the last two and a half years. “What seemed like a huge disappointment ended up being a huge blessing.”

He said about 500 churches in the US are planning to host public simulcasts of the virtual event, with others choosing to keep their plans private in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The virtual event—prerecorded mostly in Nashville, Tennessee—will feature messages from Dallas megachurch pastor Tony Evans and Indiana-based Christian counselor Steve Arterburn and the music of contemporary Christian artist Michael W. Smith and American Idol finalist Danny Gokey.

Harrison said he expects some women who are “curious” will watch and be able to see for themselves what Promise Keepers is about. But the official response to registrants—estimated at more than 1 million—discourages men from initially watching with the women in their lives.

“We encourage men to participate in the event in a mens-only setting initially,” it said, citing the merits of women-centered events. “There is a different dynamic when men hear these messages together versus in a setting with women/wives/daughters/friends. We encourage men to invite their wives and other ladies to watch in a second session after the men have been able to watch together.”

Asked if the Promise Keepers’ longtime emphasis on men’s leadership might be seen by some as a threat to women’s rights, Harrison said his organization is telling men, not women, how to behave.

“We’re really calling men to be humble, proactive leaders in their homes,” he said. “I don’t feel like it’s my role to tell women how they should be. That is for their pastor and other people.”

Harrison said Promise Keepers continues to focus on reconciliation across races and denominations as one of its “seven promises,” though he said he prefers to use the term “racial unity.”

Brenda Salter McNeil, associate professor of reconciliation studies at Seattle Pacific University, said the focus on racial diversity could have harmed the men’s organization in the past because some were not attracted to that cause.

“In the evangelical world there seems to be a big dichotomy between what people think is spiritual and what people perceive as being social or political and when people cross that line,” she said. “Eventually I thought Promise Keepers died because they tried to push that issue.”

The organization, founded by former University of Colorado coach Bill McCartney—now diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and unable to participate in the virtual event—once had a national staff of 345 and now has 28. Its budget, not including events, is $2 million, compared to about $30 million 20 years ago. Its postponed in-person ticketed event in Texas, now planned for next year, will cost $6 million, but Harrison said they still need to raise $500,000 to pay for it.

Harrison said there are many reasons for his organization’s disappearance from the public eye.

“I’ve gotten some complaints from some people that they felt like we got too distracted,” he said, “down too many roads, and one of those roads was that we were too much about racial reconciliation. I don’t agree with that.”

The schedule for the event includes a moment from My Faith Votes, a group whose honorary co-chairmen include US Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and former Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Asked if Promise Keepers’ leaders will be encouraging supporters to vote Republican at the virtual event or beyond it, Harrison said they will not.

“We are not going to take on politics in any way, shape or form,” he insisted. “But some of the things we do, talking about justice, standing up for justice, people will come to their own political conclusion."

Harrison cited abortion as an example, saying his organization will encourage a man who “sins” by fathering a child while having sex outside of a heterosexual marriage to support the mother and not abandon their child.

Promise Keepers also plans to turn its attention to global issues of poverty and sex trafficking by featuring speakers from World Vision and International Justice Mission.

“You cannot be a man of God and not stand up for justice—they just go together—and so we really want to call men out to be active, standing up for what’s right,” he said. “I don’t think most men, American evangelical men, have any idea of the wickedness going on across the world in sex trafficking, the absolute horrors that are going on to women and children across the globe.”
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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patrick jane

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Re: Christianity Today Magazine - August 2020
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2020, 09:51:00 am »


https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/july/obeying-god-rather-than-men.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+christianitytoday%2Fctmag+%28CT+Magazine%29







Obeying God Rather than Men? What’s Really a Religious Liberty Issue?








John Inazu on religious liberty and loving one other during the pandemic.


Ed: How should we be thinking about restrictions on worship during the pandemic?

John: The details of restrictions will vary by locality and by our understanding of the virus and how it spreads. But as Christians, we should frame our assessments of restrictions within a broader ethic of love of God and love of neighbor.

To be sure, gathering for worship is a core Christian practice: the early church was known as the ecclesia (assembly), many Christian practices depend upon community, and the writer of Hebrews admonishes us not to give up meeting together (Hebrews 10:25). Limits on religious worship are serious matters for Christians.

At the same time, Christians through the ages have adjusted corporate gatherings in challenging circumstances. For centuries, missionaries, soldiers, and relief workers have improvised worship practices and forgone physical gatherings in extraordinary times. Today, churches in China and Iran do not often gather openly, but they are no less faithful to the Gospel because of their inability to do so.

Christians are also called to love our neighbors and care for the most vulnerable among us. We can live out these commitments even in uncertain times and even with imperfect knowledge. The nature of this virus means that health experts and government officials are constantly making judgments based on limited data, and necessarily speaking about risks rather than certainties. So we won’t always know with complete confidence what the right decision should be. But if there is a reasonable risk that in-person gatherings or other activities will harm our neighbors, then that risk should weigh heavily in the decisions we make.

Ed: How do I know if a risk is reasonable?

John: For starters, if you have limited your news sources to a particular partisan variety—if you are either a “Fox person” or an “MSNBC person”—then my hunch is you won’t know what is reasonable in this public health crisis. Your first step is to break out of your news bubble and realize that what is reasonable may not be what your favorite television or social media personality happens to be championing.

Step two is to pay attention to experts. We are in a cultural moment when experts and the institutions that credential them are viewed skeptically. Some of this is deserved. For example, I felt a bit of whiplash when some public health experts who had vehemently opposed protests by conservatives skeptical of shutdown orders quickly endorsed protests for racial justice. The virus doesn’t make political distinctions. Participating in a socially distanced protest is either safe or it’s not, and experts who changed their public health guidance based on the politics of the protest at issue deeply undermined their credibility. But we can’t afford to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Push back on inconsistencies, keep experts in their lanes, and recognize what Jennifer Frey has called “the limits of expertise.” But don’t give up on expertise altogether.

Ed: What about the inalienable right to religious liberty?

John: Regardless of one’s views about the nature of rights (or what we might call their ontological status), it is a fact of the world that no right is absolute. There is no absolute right to free speech: if you shout fire in a crowded theatre (assuming the theatre is not on fire), or say words that perjure yourself in court, or form a criminal conspiracy, you go to jail. There is no absolute right to the free exercise of religion: if you engage in human sacrifice in the name of religion, you go to jail.

Ed: If no right is absolute, then how do we protect religious freedom during the pandemic?

John: Like many people, I believe in the importance of religious freedom as a fundamental right recognized under the First Amendment. I also think the Supreme Court greatly damaged that right in its 1990 decision, Employment Division v. Smith. That decision held that “neutral” and “generally applicable” governmental restrictions against religious activity did not trigger heightened constitutional protection. Because most restrictions against religious activity are neutral and generally applicable, free exercise claims after Smith receives almost no special constitutional protection. There are various state and federal statutory protections, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), but RFRA does not apply to state or local laws and regulations. And absent federally mandated COVID orders, most restrictions are occurring at the state and local level.

In light of the constitutional frame imposed by Smith, the key to protecting religious freedom during the pandemic is to ensure that religion is not treated less favorably than comparable non-religious activities. But the word “comparable” is extremely important. By now, we have a good sense from health experts that this virus spreads dangerously in high-density indoor spaces when people are exhaling with some intensity. That’s very bad news for most indoor church services: they are close to the perfect storm. Pastors and ministry leaders should recognize that traditional religious services are high-risk activities, and they should expect to be treated similarly to other high-risk activities involving groups of people meeting indoors.

That doesn’t mean that all group activities are high risk. An outdoor gathering with everyone wearing masks and spacing themselves six feet apart is lower risk than a church of 25 people meeting indoors and singing together without masks. So it’s not accurate to conclude that if some similarly sized activities are permitted, indoor worship services must also be permitted. The key legal, policy, and epidemiological question is whether the activities pose similar risks to indoor corporate worship.

This is what makes the Supreme Court’s recent refusal to address Nevada’s restrictions so egregious. Restricting religious worship to fewer than 50 people, while allowing casinos and other businesses to operate at 50% capacity regardless of size seems plainly unconstitutional. I am astounded that five justices of the Supreme Court thought otherwise. That doesn’t mean that churches in Nevada should open their doors like casinos. But it matters that we get the law right.

We might also helpfully contrast the Nevada case to an earlier one from California, which the Court also refused to review. The California restrictions, unlike those in Nevada, plausibly treated religious worship comparably to similar non-religious activities. Chief Justice Roberts’ brief concurrence in the denial of injunctive relief suggests the kinds of reasonable distinctions that policymakers and judges need to make in these cases.

Ed: Should churches and religious organizations be treated more favorably than similarly situated non-religious activities?

John: No. As I mentioned above, I think the Supreme Court was wrong to lower the protections for the free exercise of religion in its 1990 Smith decision. And it was wrong last week to deny review of the Nevada regulations. But even under a more robust understanding of the free exercise of religion—one in which a free exercise claim would trigger what courts refer to as “strict scrutiny” and would require the government to have a “compelling interest”—the government would very likely meet its burden if it treated religious activities like similarly situated non-religious activities. For example, if a city or county determines that opening secondary schools for in-person instruction is simply too great of a public health risk, then there is no plausible reason to exempt only religious schools based on the free exercise of religion. If anything, as I argued in a March 2020 essay in The Atlantic, the government’s interest in shutting down schools, including religious schools, only increases because it exempts a limited number of non-religious activities like hospitals and grocery stores. The more that religious gatherings compromise the ability for hospitals to remain open, the greater the state’s interest in restricting those gatherings.

I don’t say this lightly. My wife and I have three young kids, and two of them attend a Christian school. We are finding it incredibly difficult to assess the tradeoffs between the mental health and well-being of our kids who would greatly benefit from in-person learning (to say nothing of the benefits to us of getting them out of the house once in a while) against the risks of exposing them or others to the virus. But there is no plausible argument for exempting only religious schools if the government shuts down other schools. And if a local government allows in-person school, then Christians and Christian schools should do everything they can to mitigate the risks of spreading the virus in those circumstances.

Ed: What about Home Depot?

John: I’ve heard the Home Depot comparison come up quite a bit: if a city or county allows Home Depot to open, then how could it possibly keep churches closed? Generally speaking, the claim that Home Depot in any way resembles corporate worship strikes me as highly implausible. I was in Home Depot (with a mask and lots of hand sanitizer) just last week. The store (and others like it) has wide aisles, relatively few people, and nobody singing or hugging. There may well be churches that are small enough or empty enough to approximate the conditions in Home Depot. But my church—and I suspect many of your churches—doesn’t come close.

Ed: Do states and localities that allow Home Depot to open have any increased obligation to facilitate religious worship?

Maybe. If your church has 75 people and you meet in a 50,000 square-foot building and your state allows 75 people to shop in Home Depot with masks but doesn’t allow you to meet in your enormous building with masks, then you may well have a plausible constitutional free exercise claim. On the other hand, it would be perfectly reasonable for your state to allow Home Depot to remain open and still prevent your 5,000-person megachurch from meeting for in-person worship.

Ed: How do you balance what the law requires with the discretion exercised by policymakers?

John: State and local governments are scrambling to keep up with the best possible public-health guidance, and this inevitably leads to confusing and sometimes contradictory regulations.

Many of the public-health regulations reflect discretionary policy judgments by elected officials (or their appointees), and those judgments don’t violate constitutional rights even if we don’t like them. Some of the regulations have overreached, and they are properly being challenged in court. As I mentioned above, the Supreme Court’s failure to invalidate Nevada’s decision is hard to understand.

At the same time, many discretionary judgments that limit religious worship or religious education during the pandemic are perfectly constitutional. Some grandstanding lawyers and public officials are making matters worse by sacrificing nuance about these issues for the sake of political expediency. Nothing about this is easy or generalizable.

Ed: What advice would you offer Christians as they seek to understand the issues underlying the virus and religious freedom?

John: Be people of hope who are known for putting the interests of others above your own. Lament the costs of this virus to human life, mental health, and material well-being. Lament our inability to gather for worship. Pray for the end of this virus. But in the meantime, love your neighbors and seek the peace of the city, even if it feels costly.









Ed Stetzer is executive director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center, serves as a dean at Wheaton College, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group. The Exchange Team contributed to this article.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


Copyright Disclaimer: All audio and music belongs to the owner/creator. This is a non-profit. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.

Chaplain Mark Schmidt

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Re: Christianity Today Magazine - August 2020
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2020, 10:47:11 am »
Excellent article/interview.  The one statement that hit me that maybe we all should take to heart in some fashion as Christians is:    if you have limited your news sources to a particular partisan variety—if you are either a “Fox person” or an “MSNBC person”—then my hunch is you won’t know what is reasonable in this public health crisis. Your first step is to break out of your news bubble and realize that what is reasonable may not be what your favorite television or social media personality happens to be championing.

It strikes me that this is excellent advice during this very divisive time in our history.  Just a humble thought on my part.
People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

George Orwell
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patrick jane

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Re: Christianity Today Magazine - August 2020
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2020, 08:11:27 am »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/july/white-fragility-conversation-on-race-and-racism.html








White Fragility: A Conversation on Race and Racism










Introducing a new series discussing ‘White Fragility’ with perspectives from various Christian leaders.



What comes to mind when you hear the term "White Fragility?"

The term is striking, unnerving to some degree. Maybe intimidating. What response does such a term stir? Anger, defensiveness, denial?

This is what inspired Robin DiAngelo, who wrote the book White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. She is a scholar who has studied diversity and racism for many years, but has more recently become influential in evangelical circles and that is part of why we are hosting this conversation.

White Fragility has to do with how quickly white people respond with anger and defensiveness in conversations about race. DiAngelo has found in years of diversity training and research that white people respond to these discussions with strikingly similar responses, like the white man who pounded his fist at one seminar, exclaiming out loud, "A white person can't get a job anymore!" (p. 1). Yet, he is completely oblivious to the fact that 38 of the 40 employees gathered were white. “Why,” DiAngelo asks, “is he being so careless about the impact of his anger? Why doesn’t he notice the effect this outburst is having on the people of color in the room?” (p. 1)

From the author's introduction--a perspective on history:

"The United States was founded on the principle that all people are created equal. Yet the nation began with the attempted genocide of Indigenous people and the theft of their land. American wealth was built on the labor of kidnapped and enslaved Africans and their descendants. Women were denied the right to vote until 1920, and black women were denied access to that right until 1965." (p. xiii)

Chapter 1: The Challenges of Talking to White People About Racism

DiAngelo argues two big ideologies help foster racism:

Individualism: "Individualism is a story line that creates, communicates, reproduces, and reinforces the concept that each of us is a unique individual and that our group memberships, such as race, class, or gender, are irrelevant to our opportunities." (p. 10)

"We are taught to think about racism only as discrete acts committed by individual people, rather than as a complex, interconnected system." (p. 3)

“For many white people, the mere title of this book will cause resistance because I am breaking a cardinal rule of individualism—I am generalizing.” (p. 11)

Objectivity: "Objectivity tells us that it is possible to be free of all bias. These ideologies make it very difficult for white people to explore the collective aspects of the white experience." (p. 9)

Chapter 2: Racism and White Supremacy

DiAngelo notes that people who are white tend to have little "racial stamina" for these discussions. Central to this and the concomitant "fragility" she describes comes from how we define racism.

If, as she argues most whites do, we define racism as "intentional acts of racial discrimination committed by immoral individuals," (p. 8) it's easy to see why we would defend ourselves at the notion we might be racist.

Definitions (pulled from throughout the book):

1. White Fragility: "We consider a challenge to our racial worldviews as a challenge to our very identities as good, moral people. Thus, we perceive any attempt to connect us to the system of racism as an unsettling and unfair moral offense. The smallest amount of racial stress is intolerable—the mere suggestion that being white has meaning often triggers a range of defensive responses. These include emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and withdrawal from the stress-inducing situation. . . " (p. 2)

2. "Prejudice is pre-judgment about another person based on the social groups to which that person belongs. Prejudice consists of thoughts and feelings, including stereotypes, attitudes, and generalizations that are based on little or no experience and then are projected onto everyone from that group." (p. 19)

"Prejudice is foundational to understanding white fragility because suggesting that white people have racial prejudice is perceived as saying that we are bad and should be ashamed. We then feel the need to defend our character rather than explore the inevitable racial prejudices we have absorbed so that we might change them. In this way, our misunderstanding about what prejudice is protects it." (p. 20)

3. Discrimination is moving from attitude to action: "Discrimination is action based on prejudice. These actions include ignoring, exclusion, threats, ridicule, slander, and violence. For example, if hatred is the emotion we feel because of our prejudice, extreme acts of discrimination, such as violence, may follow." (p. 20)

4. Racism: "When a racial group’s collective prejudice is backed by the power of legal authority and institutional control, it is transformed into racism, a far-reaching system that functions independently from the intentions or self-images of individual actors." (p. 20)

5. White privilege: "People of color are confined and shaped by forces and barriers that are not accidental, occasional, or avoidable. These forces are systematically related to each other in ways that restrict their movement. Individual whites may be 'against' racism, but they still benefit from a system that privileges whites as a group. David Wellman succinctly summarizes racism as 'a system of advantage based on race.' These advantages are referred to as white privilege, a sociological concept referring to advantages that are taken for granted by whites and that cannot be similarly enjoyed by people of color in the same context (government, community, workplace, schools, etc.)." (pp. 23-24)

6. White supremacy: DiAngelo seeks to redefine the term white supremacy to show it refers not only to radicalized right wingers but to "the all-encompassing centrality and assumed superiority of people defined and perceived as white and the practices based on this assumption. White supremacy in this context does not refer to individual white people and their individual intentions or actions but to an overarching political, economic, and social system of domination." (p. 28)

7. “Aversive racism is a manifestation of racism that well-intentioned people who see themselves as educated and progressive are more likely to exhibit. It exists under the surface of consciousness because it conflicts with consciously held beliefs of racial equality and justice. Aversive racism is a subtle but insidious form, as aversive racists enact racism in ways that allow them to maintain a positive self-image (e.g., ‘I have lots of friends of color’; ‘I judge people by the content of their character, not the color of their skin’).” (p. 43)

8. “White solidarity is the unspoken agreement among whites to protect white advantage and not cause another white person to feel racial discomfort by confronting them when they say or do something racially problematic.” (p. 57)

9. White Innocence: “Because we are not raised to see ourselves in racial terms or to see white space as racialized space, we position ourselves as innocent of race. . . . This idea––that racism is not a white problem–– enables us to sit back and let people of color take very real risks of invalidation and retaliation as they share their experiences." (pp. 61, 62)

What about "reverse racism? "People of color may also hold prejudices and discriminate against white people, but they lack the social and institutional power that transforms their prejudice and discrimination into racism; the impact of their prejudice on whites is temporary and contextual." (p. 22)

DiAngelo offers the Marilyn Frye illustration of a bird cage: if you get close to the cage you see not the wires but the bird, seemingly free. But if you back up, you see not one wire, but a system of wires has imprisoned the bird (p. 23).

"Whiteness rests upon a foundational premise: the definition of whites as the norm or standard for human, and people of color as a deviation from that norm." (p.25)

Statistics she provides (p 31):

2016-17 percentage who are white:

Ten richest Americans: 100%
US Congress: 90%
US Governors: 96%
Top military advisors: 100%
POTUS and VP: 100%
US House Freedom Caucus: 99%
Current US Presidential Cabinet: 91%
People who decide the TV shows we watch: 93%
People who decide which books we read: 90%
People who decide which news is covered: 85%
People who decide which music is produced: 95%
People who directed the one hundred top grossing films of all-time, worldwide: 95%
Teachers: 82%
Full-time college professors: 84%
Owner of NFL franchises: 97%
Geography: "In the US, race is encoded in geography. I can name every neighborhood in my city and its racial makeup. I can also tell you if a neighborhood is coming up or down in terms of home equity, and this will be based primarily on how its racial demographics are changing. Going up? It will be getting whiter. Going down? It will be getting less white.” (p. 36)

"Consider how we talk about white neighborhoods: good, safe, sheltered, clean, desirable. By definition, other spaces (not white) are bad, dangerous, crime-ridden and to be avoided; these neighborhoods are not positioned as sheltered and innocent. In these ways, the white racial frame is under construction." (p. 37)

Chapter 3: Racism After the Civil Rights Movement

“Clearly, the civil rights movement didn’t end racism; nor have claims of color blindness. . . . For example, a common response in the name of color blindness is to declare that an individual who says that race matters is the one who is racist. In other words, it is racist to acknowledge race” (p. 41).

Chapter 4: How Race Shapes White People

DiAngelo avers that as a white person, "In virtually every situation or context deemed normal, neutral or prestigious in society, I belong racially." (p. 52)

She also talks about how in conversation we never say "the white guy," but we do say, "the Asian man," or "she was black."

“We see white solidarity at the dinner table, at parties, and in work settings. Many of us can relate to the big family dinner at which Uncle Bob says something racially offensive. Everyone cringes but no one challenges him because nobody wants to ruin the dinner. Or the party where someone tells a racist joke but we keep silent because we don’t want to be accused of being too politically correct and be told to lighten up. In the workplace, we avoid naming racism for the same reasons, in addition to wanting to be seen as a team player and to avoid anything that may jeopardize our career advancement. All these familiar scenarios are examples of white solidarity (Why speaking up about racism would ruin the ambiance or threaten our career advancement is something we might want to talk about.)” (p. 58)

"For example, the criminal behavior of white juveniles is often seen as caused by external factors––the youth comes from a single-parent home, is having a hard time right now, . . . But black and Latinx youth are not afforded the same compassion." (p. 63)

“For those of us who work to raise the racial consciousness of whites, simply getting whites to acknowledge that our race gives us advantages is a major effort. The defensiveness, denial, and resistance are deep. But acknowledging advantage is only a first step, . . .” (p. 63)

“The most profound message of racial segregation may be that the absence of people of color from our lives is no real loss.” (p. 67)

Chapter 5: The Good/Bad Binary

“He’s not a racist. He’s a really nice guy.” (p. 71)

“Racist = Bad”

“Not racist = good”

She speaks of the danger of binary views:

Ignorant Progressive
Bigoted Educated
Prejudiced Open-minded
Mean-spirited Well-intentioned
Old Young
Southern Northern” (p. 72)
DiAngelo argues simplifying the discussion to such a binary “makes it nearly impossible to talk to white people about racism, what it is, how it shapes all of us, and the inevitable ways that we are conditioned to participate in it.” (p. 72)

"The simplistic idea that racism is limited to individual intentional acts committed by unkind people is at the root of virtually all white defensiveness on this topic." (p. 73)

Chapter 6: Anti-Blackness

“Carol Anderson, in her book White Rage, argues that ‘the trigger for white rage, inevitably, is black advancement.’" (p. 95)

DiAngelo believes that The Blind Side movie is shown as an example of doing exactly the opposite of what it intended. Instead of a rags-to-riches story of an inner-city black youth, it affirms stereotypes.

Chapter 7: Racial Triggers for White People

"Most white people have limited information about what racism is and how it works." (p. 100)

Here are some of the triggers DiAngelo lists:

Racist = bad person/Non-racist = good person
False binary
Fear and resentment toward people of color
Delusion that we are objective and innocent (p. 100).
DiAngelo notes that we use terms like "inner city," "urban," "disadvantaged" for neighborhoods of mainly people of color, but we don’t use terms like "overly advantaged" or "privileged” for white neighborhoods (p.100).

Chapter 8: The Result--White Fragility

She observes in her work in diversity training: "I am consistently warned that past efforts to address the lack of diversity have resulted in trauma for white employees. This is literally the term used to describe the impact of a brief and isolated workshop: trauma" (p. 110).

Bullying: The effects of white fragility are not fragile: “White fragility functions as a form of bullying; I am going to make it so miserable for you to confront me—no matter how diplomatically you try to do so—that you will simply back off, give up, and never raise the issue again. White fragility keeps people of color in line and ‘in their place.’ In this way, it is a powerful form of white racial control” (p. 112).

DiAngelo gives a powerful example for leaders: “In my workshops, I often ask people of color, ‘How often have you given white people feedback on our unaware yet inevitable racism?” They reply with eyerolls and even laughter: “Rarely, if ever. I then ask, ‘What would it be like if you could simply give us feedback, have us graciously receive it, reflect, and work to change the behavior?’ Recently a man of color sighed and said, ‘It would be revolutionary.’ I ask my fellow whites to consider the profundity of that response. It would be revolutionary if we could receive, reflect, and work to change the behavior. On the one hand, the man’s response points to how difficult and fragile we are. But on the other hand, it indicates how simple it can be to take responsibility for our racism.” (p. 113)

Chapters 9-10: White Fragility in Action, White Fragility and the Rules of Engagement

These chapters give more examples of white fragility and responses when confronted.

"I repeat: stopping our racist patterns must be more important than working to convince others that we don’t have them. We do have them, and people of color already know we have them; our efforts to prove otherwise are not convincing. An honest accounting of these patterns is no small task given the power of white fragility and white solidarity, but it is necessary." (pp. 129-130)

Chapter 11: White Women's Tears

“. . . an oft-repeated warning from my African American colleagues: ‘When a white woman cries, a black man gets hurt.’" (p. 132)

She gives some examples, including:

Arrogant and disingenuous invalidation of racial inequality via “just playing the devil’s advocate”
Simplistic and presumptuous proclamations of “the answer” to racism (“People just need to . . .”)
Playing the outraged victim of “reverse racism”
Accusations that the legendary “race card” is being played etc. (pp. 134-135)
Chapter 12: Where do we go from here?

“When white people ask me what to do about racism and white fragility, the first thing I ask is, ‘What has enabled you to be a full, educated professional adult and not know what to do about racism?’ It is a sincere question. . . . If we take that question and map out all the ways we have come to not know what to do, we will have our guide before us. For example, if my answer is that I was not educated about racism, I know that I will have to get educated. If my answer is that I don’t know people of color, I will need to build relationships. If it is because there are no people of color in my environment, I will need to get out of my comfort zone and change my environment; addressing racism is not without effort.” (pp.143-144)

Let me encourage you to get the book, read it, and then we will think it through together in this series.

Now that we are all familiar with the basic premises of DiAngelo’s argument, I am pleased to introduce the other authors who will join us in discussing White Fragility over the next several weeks. As previously mentioned, the second round of authors will be responding to the book and the initial five articles. I am pleased that George Yancey, a contributor for part one, will be contributing to the second round of articles as well.

Part One

Allison Ash is an experienced higher education administrator and is currently senior affiliate consultant at Credo-Higher Education Consulting. She received her PhD from Azusa Pacific University and M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary.
George Yancey is an author and professor at Baylor University in sociology and the Institute of Religious Studies. He holds a PhD from University of Texas Austin.
Danny Slavich is a church planting pastor, adjunct professor, and writer who recently received his PhD in Theology with a dissertation entitled: “That the World May Know: A Trinitarian Multiethnic Ecclesiology.”
Neil Shenvi is currently the principal at the South Durham Academy for Math and Science. He received his PhD in Theoretical Chemistry from UC Berkeley and spent several years conducting research at Duke University.
William Murrell is a professor of church history and the academic dean of Every Nation Seminary. He has degrees in history from Oxford (MSt) and Vanderbilt (PhD) and specializes in the history of Christian mission and the history of Islam.
Part Two

Sheila Caldwell is the Chief Intercultural Engagement Office at Wheaton College, IL. She received a M.A. from Argosy University and a PhD in education from the University of Georgia.
Daniel Yang is the Director of the Send Institute, an institute of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. He was trained as a church planter and holds and M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is working on a PhD from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
John Richards Jr. is the pastor of assimilation at Saint Mark Baptist Church. He is a graduate of the Howard University School of Law and Fuller Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing his PhD.
George Yancey will write a new article in part two.
Trillia Newbell is an author and speaker as well as an acquisitions editor at Moody Publishers.
I look forward to all of our contributors’ perspectives on White Fragility and welcome the discourse between our authors. I have not seen what they are writing, but we’ve tried to bring some diverse views to enhance the conversation. I will offer my further commentary after our series is complete.









Ed Stetzer is executive director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center, serves as a dean at Wheaton College, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group. The Exchange Team contributed to this article.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Christianity Today Magazine - August 2020
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2020, 12:58:25 pm »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/july/white-fragility-conversation-on-race-and-racism.html








White Fragility: A Conversation on Race and Racism










Introducing a new series discussing ‘White Fragility’ with perspectives from various Christian leaders.



What comes to mind when you hear the term "White Fragility?"

The term is striking, unnerving to some degree. Maybe intimidating. What response does such a term stir? Anger, defensiveness, denial?

This is what inspired Robin DiAngelo, who wrote the book White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. She is a scholar who has studied diversity and racism for many years, but has more recently become influential in evangelical circles and that is part of why we are hosting this conversation.

White Fragility has to do with how quickly white people respond with anger and defensiveness in conversations about race. DiAngelo has found in years of diversity training and research that white people respond to these discussions with strikingly similar responses, like the white man who pounded his fist at one seminar, exclaiming out loud, "A white person can't get a job anymore!" (p. 1). Yet, he is completely oblivious to the fact that 38 of the 40 employees gathered were white. “Why,” DiAngelo asks, “is he being so careless about the impact of his anger? Why doesn’t he notice the effect this outburst is having on the people of color in the room?” (p. 1)

From the author's introduction--a perspective on history:

"The United States was founded on the principle that all people are created equal. Yet the nation began with the attempted genocide of Indigenous people and the theft of their land. American wealth was built on the labor of kidnapped and enslaved Africans and their descendants. Women were denied the right to vote until 1920, and black women were denied access to that right until 1965." (p. xiii)

Chapter 1: The Challenges of Talking to White People About Racism

DiAngelo argues two big ideologies help foster racism:

Individualism: "Individualism is a story line that creates, communicates, reproduces, and reinforces the concept that each of us is a unique individual and that our group memberships, such as race, class, or gender, are irrelevant to our opportunities." (p. 10)

"We are taught to think about racism only as discrete acts committed by individual people, rather than as a complex, interconnected system." (p. 3)

“For many white people, the mere title of this book will cause resistance because I am breaking a cardinal rule of individualism—I am generalizing.” (p. 11)

Objectivity: "Objectivity tells us that it is possible to be free of all bias. These ideologies make it very difficult for white people to explore the collective aspects of the white experience." (p. 9)

Chapter 2: Racism and White Supremacy

DiAngelo notes that people who are white tend to have little "racial stamina" for these discussions. Central to this and the concomitant "fragility" she describes comes from how we define racism.

If, as she argues most whites do, we define racism as "intentional acts of racial discrimination committed by immoral individuals," (p. 8) it's easy to see why we would defend ourselves at the notion we might be racist.

Definitions (pulled from throughout the book):

1. White Fragility: "We consider a challenge to our racial worldviews as a challenge to our very identities as good, moral people. Thus, we perceive any attempt to connect us to the system of racism as an unsettling and unfair moral offense. The smallest amount of racial stress is intolerable—the mere suggestion that being white has meaning often triggers a range of defensive responses. These include emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and withdrawal from the stress-inducing situation. . . " (p. 2)

2. "Prejudice is pre-judgment about another person based on the social groups to which that person belongs. Prejudice consists of thoughts and feelings, including stereotypes, attitudes, and generalizations that are based on little or no experience and then are projected onto everyone from that group." (p. 19)

"Prejudice is foundational to understanding white fragility because suggesting that white people have racial prejudice is perceived as saying that we are bad and should be ashamed. We then feel the need to defend our character rather than explore the inevitable racial prejudices we have absorbed so that we might change them. In this way, our misunderstanding about what prejudice is protects it." (p. 20)

3. Discrimination is moving from attitude to action: "Discrimination is action based on prejudice. These actions include ignoring, exclusion, threats, ridicule, slander, and violence. For example, if hatred is the emotion we feel because of our prejudice, extreme acts of discrimination, such as violence, may follow." (p. 20)

4. Racism: "When a racial group’s collective prejudice is backed by the power of legal authority and institutional control, it is transformed into racism, a far-reaching system that functions independently from the intentions or self-images of individual actors." (p. 20)

5. White privilege: "People of color are confined and shaped by forces and barriers that are not accidental, occasional, or avoidable. These forces are systematically related to each other in ways that restrict their movement. Individual whites may be 'against' racism, but they still benefit from a system that privileges whites as a group. David Wellman succinctly summarizes racism as 'a system of advantage based on race.' These advantages are referred to as white privilege, a sociological concept referring to advantages that are taken for granted by whites and that cannot be similarly enjoyed by people of color in the same context (government, community, workplace, schools, etc.)." (pp. 23-24)

6. White supremacy: DiAngelo seeks to redefine the term white supremacy to show it refers not only to radicalized right wingers but to "the all-encompassing centrality and assumed superiority of people defined and perceived as white and the practices based on this assumption. White supremacy in this context does not refer to individual white people and their individual intentions or actions but to an overarching political, economic, and social system of domination." (p. 28)

7. “Aversive racism is a manifestation of racism that well-intentioned people who see themselves as educated and progressive are more likely to exhibit. It exists under the surface of consciousness because it conflicts with consciously held beliefs of racial equality and justice. Aversive racism is a subtle but insidious form, as aversive racists enact racism in ways that allow them to maintain a positive self-image (e.g., ‘I have lots of friends of color’; ‘I judge people by the content of their character, not the color of their skin’).” (p. 43)

8. “White solidarity is the unspoken agreement among whites to protect white advantage and not cause another white person to feel racial discomfort by confronting them when they say or do something racially problematic.” (p. 57)

9. White Innocence: “Because we are not raised to see ourselves in racial terms or to see white space as racialized space, we position ourselves as innocent of race. . . . This idea––that racism is not a white problem–– enables us to sit back and let people of color take very real risks of invalidation and retaliation as they share their experiences." (pp. 61, 62)

What about "reverse racism? "People of color may also hold prejudices and discriminate against white people, but they lack the social and institutional power that transforms their prejudice and discrimination into racism; the impact of their prejudice on whites is temporary and contextual." (p. 22)

DiAngelo offers the Marilyn Frye illustration of a bird cage: if you get close to the cage you see not the wires but the bird, seemingly free. But if you back up, you see not one wire, but a system of wires has imprisoned the bird (p. 23).

"Whiteness rests upon a foundational premise: the definition of whites as the norm or standard for human, and people of color as a deviation from that norm." (p.25)

Statistics she provides (p 31):

2016-17 percentage who are white:

Ten richest Americans: 100%
US Congress: 90%
US Governors: 96%
Top military advisors: 100%
POTUS and VP: 100%
US House Freedom Caucus: 99%
Current US Presidential Cabinet: 91%
People who decide the TV shows we watch: 93%
People who decide which books we read: 90%
People who decide which news is covered: 85%
People who decide which music is produced: 95%
People who directed the one hundred top grossing films of all-time, worldwide: 95%
Teachers: 82%
Full-time college professors: 84%
Owner of NFL franchises: 97%
Geography: "In the US, race is encoded in geography. I can name every neighborhood in my city and its racial makeup. I can also tell you if a neighborhood is coming up or down in terms of home equity, and this will be based primarily on how its racial demographics are changing. Going up? It will be getting whiter. Going down? It will be getting less white.” (p. 36)

"Consider how we talk about white neighborhoods: good, safe, sheltered, clean, desirable. By definition, other spaces (not white) are bad, dangerous, crime-ridden and to be avoided; these neighborhoods are not positioned as sheltered and innocent. In these ways, the white racial frame is under construction." (p. 37)

Chapter 3: Racism After the Civil Rights Movement

“Clearly, the civil rights movement didn’t end racism; nor have claims of color blindness. . . . For example, a common response in the name of color blindness is to declare that an individual who says that race matters is the one who is racist. In other words, it is racist to acknowledge race” (p. 41).

Chapter 4: How Race Shapes White People

DiAngelo avers that as a white person, "In virtually every situation or context deemed normal, neutral or prestigious in society, I belong racially." (p. 52)

She also talks about how in conversation we never say "the white guy," but we do say, "the Asian man," or "she was black."

“We see white solidarity at the dinner table, at parties, and in work settings. Many of us can relate to the big family dinner at which Uncle Bob says something racially offensive. Everyone cringes but no one challenges him because nobody wants to ruin the dinner. Or the party where someone tells a racist joke but we keep silent because we don’t want to be accused of being too politically correct and be told to lighten up. In the workplace, we avoid naming racism for the same reasons, in addition to wanting to be seen as a team player and to avoid anything that may jeopardize our career advancement. All these familiar scenarios are examples of white solidarity (Why speaking up about racism would ruin the ambiance or threaten our career advancement is something we might want to talk about.)” (p. 58)

"For example, the criminal behavior of white juveniles is often seen as caused by external factors––the youth comes from a single-parent home, is having a hard time right now, . . . But black and Latinx youth are not afforded the same compassion." (p. 63)

“For those of us who work to raise the racial consciousness of whites, simply getting whites to acknowledge that our race gives us advantages is a major effort. The defensiveness, denial, and resistance are deep. But acknowledging advantage is only a first step, . . .” (p. 63)

“The most profound message of racial segregation may be that the absence of people of color from our lives is no real loss.” (p. 67)

Chapter 5: The Good/Bad Binary

“He’s not a racist. He’s a really nice guy.” (p. 71)

“Racist = Bad”

“Not racist = good”

She speaks of the danger of binary views:

Ignorant Progressive
Bigoted Educated
Prejudiced Open-minded
Mean-spirited Well-intentioned
Old Young
Southern Northern” (p. 72)
DiAngelo argues simplifying the discussion to such a binary “makes it nearly impossible to talk to white people about racism, what it is, how it shapes all of us, and the inevitable ways that we are conditioned to participate in it.” (p. 72)

"The simplistic idea that racism is limited to individual intentional acts committed by unkind people is at the root of virtually all white defensiveness on this topic." (p. 73)

Chapter 6: Anti-Blackness

“Carol Anderson, in her book White Rage, argues that ‘the trigger for white rage, inevitably, is black advancement.’" (p. 95)

DiAngelo believes that The Blind Side movie is shown as an example of doing exactly the opposite of what it intended. Instead of a rags-to-riches story of an inner-city black youth, it affirms stereotypes.

Chapter 7: Racial Triggers for White People

"Most white people have limited information about what racism is and how it works." (p. 100)

Here are some of the triggers DiAngelo lists:

Racist = bad person/Non-racist = good person
False binary
Fear and resentment toward people of color
Delusion that we are objective and innocent (p. 100).
DiAngelo notes that we use terms like "inner city," "urban," "disadvantaged" for neighborhoods of mainly people of color, but we don’t use terms like "overly advantaged" or "privileged” for white neighborhoods (p.100).

Chapter 8: The Result--White Fragility

She observes in her work in diversity training: "I am consistently warned that past efforts to address the lack of diversity have resulted in trauma for white employees. This is literally the term used to describe the impact of a brief and isolated workshop: trauma" (p. 110).

Bullying: The effects of white fragility are not fragile: “White fragility functions as a form of bullying; I am going to make it so miserable for you to confront me—no matter how diplomatically you try to do so—that you will simply back off, give up, and never raise the issue again. White fragility keeps people of color in line and ‘in their place.’ In this way, it is a powerful form of white racial control” (p. 112).

DiAngelo gives a powerful example for leaders: “In my workshops, I often ask people of color, ‘How often have you given white people feedback on our unaware yet inevitable racism?” They reply with eyerolls and even laughter: “Rarely, if ever. I then ask, ‘What would it be like if you could simply give us feedback, have us graciously receive it, reflect, and work to change the behavior?’ Recently a man of color sighed and said, ‘It would be revolutionary.’ I ask my fellow whites to consider the profundity of that response. It would be revolutionary if we could receive, reflect, and work to change the behavior. On the one hand, the man’s response points to how difficult and fragile we are. But on the other hand, it indicates how simple it can be to take responsibility for our racism.” (p. 113)

Chapters 9-10: White Fragility in Action, White Fragility and the Rules of Engagement

These chapters give more examples of white fragility and responses when confronted.

"I repeat: stopping our racist patterns must be more important than working to convince others that we don’t have them. We do have them, and people of color already know we have them; our efforts to prove otherwise are not convincing. An honest accounting of these patterns is no small task given the power of white fragility and white solidarity, but it is necessary." (pp. 129-130)

Chapter 11: White Women's Tears

“. . . an oft-repeated warning from my African American colleagues: ‘When a white woman cries, a black man gets hurt.’" (p. 132)

She gives some examples, including:

Arrogant and disingenuous invalidation of racial inequality via “just playing the devil’s advocate”
Simplistic and presumptuous proclamations of “the answer” to racism (“People just need to . . .”)
Playing the outraged victim of “reverse racism”
Accusations that the legendary “race card” is being played etc. (pp. 134-135)
Chapter 12: Where do we go from here?

“When white people ask me what to do about racism and white fragility, the first thing I ask is, ‘What has enabled you to be a full, educated professional adult and not know what to do about racism?’ It is a sincere question. . . . If we take that question and map out all the ways we have come to not know what to do, we will have our guide before us. For example, if my answer is that I was not educated about racism, I know that I will have to get educated. If my answer is that I don’t know people of color, I will need to build relationships. If it is because there are no people of color in my environment, I will need to get out of my comfort zone and change my environment; addressing racism is not without effort.” (pp.143-144)

Let me encourage you to get the book, read it, and then we will think it through together in this series.

Now that we are all familiar with the basic premises of DiAngelo’s argument, I am pleased to introduce the other authors who will join us in discussing White Fragility over the next several weeks. As previously mentioned, the second round of authors will be responding to the book and the initial five articles. I am pleased that George Yancey, a contributor for part one, will be contributing to the second round of articles as well.

Part One

Allison Ash is an experienced higher education administrator and is currently senior affiliate consultant at Credo-Higher Education Consulting. She received her PhD from Azusa Pacific University and M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary.
George Yancey is an author and professor at Baylor University in sociology and the Institute of Religious Studies. He holds a PhD from University of Texas Austin.
Danny Slavich is a church planting pastor, adjunct professor, and writer who recently received his PhD in Theology with a dissertation entitled: “That the World May Know: A Trinitarian Multiethnic Ecclesiology.”
Neil Shenvi is currently the principal at the South Durham Academy for Math and Science. He received his PhD in Theoretical Chemistry from UC Berkeley and spent several years conducting research at Duke University.
William Murrell is a professor of church history and the academic dean of Every Nation Seminary. He has degrees in history from Oxford (MSt) and Vanderbilt (PhD) and specializes in the history of Christian mission and the history of Islam.
Part Two

Sheila Caldwell is the Chief Intercultural Engagement Office at Wheaton College, IL. She received a M.A. from Argosy University and a PhD in education from the University of Georgia.
Daniel Yang is the Director of the Send Institute, an institute of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. He was trained as a church planter and holds and M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is working on a PhD from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
John Richards Jr. is the pastor of assimilation at Saint Mark Baptist Church. He is a graduate of the Howard University School of Law and Fuller Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing his PhD.
George Yancey will write a new article in part two.
Trillia Newbell is an author and speaker as well as an acquisitions editor at Moody Publishers.
I look forward to all of our contributors’ perspectives on White Fragility and welcome the discourse between our authors. I have not seen what they are writing, but we’ve tried to bring some diverse views to enhance the conversation. I will offer my further commentary after our series is complete.









Ed Stetzer is executive director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center, serves as a dean at Wheaton College, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group. The Exchange Team contributed to this article.


https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/august/white-fragility-why-this-book-is-important-for-evangelicals.html







White Fragility: Why this Book is Important for Evangelicals








DiAngelo’s book serves as a reminder that when Christians fail to address issues of individual and systemic sin like white supremacy, the world will address it.


In the beginning of Dr. Robin DiAngelo’s book, White Fragility, she explains that she wrote the book for white progressives. Her emphasis on this group of people is understandable, given a common mindset among progressives that points to engagement in social justice as a way to pardon oneself from being racist. However, I also believe this book can apply to any white person—progressive, conservative, Christian, non-Christian—who is interested in moving toward racial healing and justice in our country.

I think this book is important for evangelical Christians, particularly white evangelical Christians (both people who would identify as progressive, conservative or a combination of the two), because it speaks a language that has been almost completely missing within the white evangelical church throughout its history: a language to identify, name, and describe white supremacy and the difficulty and refusal of white people to speak this language and move toward healing. This language is one that black scholars and leaders have been speaking for many years, however, the white Christian church has not only failed to listen, learn, and change, but often has attempted to eradicate the language from our culture. The irony of this failure is that this language was necessitated largely because of the actions of white Christians and the white Christian church for centuries. Few white Christians I know have an understanding of this history. In this short reflection, I do not have time to do justice to this history, however, I will provide two examples here.

White European Christians originally enslaved black bodies for economic gain but justified their greed by framing slavery as a Christian act: evangelization (Kendi, 2016). Eventually this evangelization included creating a racial taxonomy that equated lighter skin color with becoming a better Christian, which was revealed in this Jesuit missionary’s writing about the Japanese and Indian people in the 16th century: “Since [the Indian people] are blacks, and of small sense, they are subsequently very difficult to improve and turn into good Christians; whereas the Japanese usually become converted...in obedience to their lord’s command; and since they are white and of good understanding and behavior... they readily frequent the churches and sermons, and when they are instructed they become very good Christians” (Boxer, 1974, p. 94). This excerpt reveals Christian evangelization ascribing greater worth to lighter skinned individuals and conflating “good” Christianity with skin color.

DiAngelo’s writing does not trace the roots of racism to the white Christian church in this way. However, in her review of the social construction of race in the United States, she does highlight the way exploitation precedes ideology, to which we as Christians can relate with regard to a history of white biblical interpretation. DiAngelo argues, “Exploitation came first, and then the ideology of unequal races to justify this exploitation followed.” The same could be said about white Christians’ use of the Bible to justify slavery. They did not interpret the Bible and then from that interpretation exploit and enslave black bodies. White Christians exploited and enslaved black bodies and then interpreted the Bible to justify it. This exploitative lens can be seen in the incorrect racist interpretation of Genesis 9, which eventually white Christians named as the curse of Ham—an interpretation that translated Ham as dark skinned and insisted that dark-skinned bodies could be enslaved (Goldenberg, 2003). This interpretation became the norm when a European biblical textual critic assisted the British government in defending the enslavement of black bodies. White Christians in the United States used this interpretation for centuries to insist on the necessity of slavery from a biblical perspective even using it on the floor of the U.S. Congress (Whitford, 2009).

I teach graduate courses in Christian institutions on these topics and in every class, my white students say, why have I not heard this before? Why didn’t I learn this in Sunday school in my church? How could I have gone this long in my life without understanding how Christianity has been a part of this racial past? I believe the answers to these questions are found in this book. DiAngelo gives us language to not only understand our racial past, but to understand why it has been in the benefit of whites (which includes white evangelicals) to avoid the truth of our past and the reality of our present, and why it is so difficult for whites to talk about race and racism now. Furthermore, my students asking these questions points to the failure of the white evangelical church to lead the way in creating a language to name this history and to create a culture around racial healing and reconciliation where whites fully engage in the painful truth of our past and the hope for a biblically just future. As white evangelicals, we have failed to understand whiteness and white supremacy through the lens of the Gospel. Consequently, DiAngelo’s book serves as a reminder that when Christians fail to address issues of individual and systemic sin like white supremacy, the world will address it.

We can reject this book as secular and unbiblical, or we can glean from it and write our own books about whiteness and about the truth of the past and present racial trauma that the white Christian church has created and defended; and we can do this work through the lens of the Gospel, which is our hope for moving forward.

I see a book like DiAngelo’s as a magnifying glass. It is a way to examine how and why white supremacy continues to dominate our culture today in overt and covert ways and why white people have avoided addressing it. Just like a magnifying glass helps a person see what is not easily recognizable, DiAngelo has done that for white people with regard to race. However, I see the Gospel as a set of binoculars; a way to look ahead and see what is there, but not quite visible to the naked eye. The Gospel of Jesus Christ points ahead to the future and calls us to something that we cannot see without it. The Gospel reminds us that the way of Jesus is the way of humility, surrender, and sacrifice.





References

Boxer, C. R. (1974). The Christian century in Japan: 1549-1650. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. (Original Work Published 1951)

Goldenberg, D. M. (2003). The curse of Ham: Race and slavery in early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Kendi, I. X. (2016). Stamped from the beginning: The definitive history of racist ideas in America. New York, NY: Nation Books.

Whitford, D. M. (2009). The curse of Ham in the early modern era: The Bible and the justifications for slavery. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.

Allison Ash is an experienced higher education administrator and is currently senior affiliate consultant at Credo-Higher Education Consulting. She received her PhD from Azusa Pacific University and M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Christianity Today Magazine - August 2020
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2020, 01:01:07 pm »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/august/eat-meat-spit-out-bones-assessment-of-white-fragility.html








White Fragility: “Eat the Meat, Spit Out the Bones”









Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility is not a Christian book, nor does it claim to be, but it can still be informative.


The murder of George Floyd has surfaced centuries-long racial tensions in American life, and people have started (again) to look for answers about how they might respond. Thus, the leap of Robin DiAngelo’s volume White Fragility up the sales charts to become an #1 overall best seller. The sudden prominence of the book has sparked its own sub-conversation of both praise and protest. In light of all of this, how should we as evangelical Christians think about this volume?

I am a white pastor who served for nearly nine years in a majority black church and community. I am now planting a church in a relatively homogeneous, white community in South Florida, with tremendous diversity literally across the street. I have been wrestling with conversations and tensions surrounding race for years, recently finishing my PhD dissertation on the subject of the multiethnic church. In light of my previous study and experience, White Fragility struck me as somewhat unremarkable. The book offers some helpful things for majority/white people to consider, while those helpful aspects are often undergirded by problematic worldview presuppositions and paralleled by other problematic assertions.

In this article, I want to explore four questions about the book so that we can think about it a bit more clearly.


Why is White Fragility so popular?

I have some theories about the popularity of White Fragility, especially among evangelical, Bible-believing Christians. Here’s my main one: too often, evangelical theology has a thin theological vision that leaves us vulnerable to overreaction. Too often, evangelical ontology (doctrine of being), theological anthropology (doctrine of humanity), soteriology (doctrine of salvation), and eschatology (doctrine of last things) leave a lot of biblical goodness on the table. This leaves us looking for answers, especially in the overt surfacing of underlying racial tension and injustice. In such times, Christians look for explanations about society and our own experiences, finding a book like White Fragility and saying, "This sounds exactly like what I've been looking for!" We eat the meat, but sometimes may also swallow the bones. Much like the "cage stage" of a newly convinced Calvinist or charismatic, we are seeing a lot of "cage stage" awareness of racial injustice. And, as the "cage stage" of anything provokes visceral (over)reaction, the new "wokeness" has been met with a visceral reaction against it. That in part explains the controversy.

Why is White Fragility so controversial?

Many have pushed back against the book, some going so far as saying that Christians should leave the church of a pastor who would recommend it. They have argued that the book is undergirded by anti-biblical presuppositions, and they might be right about that. The book fails in its presuppositions about the problems of the human condition. The Christian worldview shaped by the Scripture understands the world around us as a created good, though now corrupted by sin and awaiting final restoration. The problems of the human condition are rooted in a primal, culpable rebellion against the Creator. This sin-problem pervades every heart and every system inhabited and built by sinful people in a world contested by hostile principalities and powers. The book offers much diagnosis and description of the problems plaguing our culture, but little constructive, redemptive prognosis for how to deal with racial issues. In turn, many have argued that these shortcomings undermine the book’s value entirely, and even make the book dangerous for Christians.

Thus, we see an evangelical “fight or flight” instinct at play: instead of constructing a more biblical, robust theological vision, conservative evangelicals either join the crowd or fight the crowd. But I think a robust theological vision allows us to appreciate some parts of White Fragility while rejecting its problematic assumptions and assertions.

What is helpful about White Fragility?

Like I said, my primary thesis is that this book is not particularly praiseworthy or pernicious. It has helpful elements, and many problematic ones. Helpfully, it does diagnose symptoms of racial ambivalence that rang true to me in my years of engaging the issue. Anyone who has worked to bring the gospel to bear on the issue of race to an audience of white Christians has experienced situations like DiAngelo describes. Defensiveness, denial, and reversing the suffering narrative seem to be common reactions from white Christians when presented with biblical discussions about racial injustice. Likewise, evangelicals too often individualize sin to the exclusion of systemic aspects, and we would do well be aware that systems inhabited by sinful humans and haunted by principalities and powers can be corrupted apart from any conscious intent from an individual at a given time. It is here that White Fragility might help white people like me to see the ways racial realities are more prevalent than we have assumed. When we discover that our white experience in society often differs from a black or minority experience in that same society, it helps us better love our neighbors and our brothers and sisters in Christ.

What is problematic about White Fragility?

If evangelical theology can overly individualize the problem of racial injustice, this volume does the opposite. White Fragility misdiagnoses the source of the problem, rooting the problem in a non-biblical ontology, anthropology, soteriology, and eschatology. It wrongly bundles racial issues with LGBT+ concerns, and tends to reduce human nature to any given social context. It overly structuralizes and de-individualizes the problems surrounding race in our society. It gives virtually no room for an understanding of a common humanity created in the image of God with the ability to respond to the world around them. It creates a false narrative that boils people down to their social and cultural norms, encaging them in that narrative with little hope of escape. It holds no hope for a primary teaching of the Christian gospel: God can and does change human hearts.

Part of what sparked my desire to write a theological dissertation on the subject of the multiethnic church was a comment that much of the work on the topic had been sociological rather than theological in nature. As Christians, we view the world and people through a fundamentally theological lens, believing that God can and does change people, hearts, and social structures through both ordinary and extraordinary means. Thus, if this book is dangerous in some way, it would be the way DiAngelo totalizes her sociological claims and the implications for issues of race and injustice. This is my biggest fear about the volume. Too many people will read it as the way to view race and the white-black dynamic in our culture and either (a) reject the necessity of wrestling with the issue; or (b) they will become “white fragility fundamentalists” and cancel anyone who is beyond the bounds of their own established orthodoxy.

How should we respond to White Fragility?

As I’ve alluded to, part of both the popularity and the protesting of White Fragility flows from evangelicals failing to envision a robust, biblical framework of the issues it addresses. We need to listen, again, to our Bibles. We need to hear the heart of God for humanity, for justice, for redemption, and for reconciliation. When we look at the book through the eyes of Scripture, we find that we can gladly and gratefully appreciate some helpful things, while we reject the rest of its nonbiblical assumptions and assertions.











Danny Slavich is a church planting pastor, adjunct professor, and writer who recently received his PhD in Theology with a dissertation entitled: “That the World May Know: A Trinitarian Multiethnic Ecclesiology.”
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Christianity Today Magazine - August 2020
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2020, 01:03:50 pm »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/july/conversation-on-white-fragility.html







White Fragility: George Yancey Points a Different Way on Race











A summary of George Yancey's academic critique on 'White Fragility'


In White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo sought to explain and combat the anger and defensiveness that many white people allegedly have when discussing race and racism in order to uplift the voices of people of color. Has she achieved this goal? George Yancey considers the issue to have been made worse by DiAngelo’s work and other similar rhetoric.

As Yancey writes:

“Bottling up the expressions of whites is not the path towards addressing the racial alienation that troubles our society. Rather it is the path to guarantee that efforts to deal with the historical and contemporary effects of racism will have a strong constituency that will fight against it.”
Instead of easing the discomfort in conversations surrounding race, DiAngelo has forced white people to either disengage or become threatened by any mentioned of race or racism. While Yancey may disagree with DiAngelo’s conceptualization of white fragility, he is not at complete odds with DiAngelo.

In fact, Yancey agrees several of her basic assumptions:

“Okay I believe in institutional racism. I believe that many whites would prefer to deny the existence of such racism. I believe that many whites are defensive and do not want to confront the reality of our racist past and the current manifestations of that past. To this end some of DiAngelo’s statements I support.”
Both Yancey and DiAngelo agree that institutional racism exists and that it is a reality many white people would prefer to ignore. This leads many whites to suppress, often not maliciously, the truth about racism in its past and present forms.

While they may agree on these basic tenants, Yancey would shy away from the far-reaching, possibly alienating claims that DiAngelo makes. Yancey’s critique targets the legitimacy DiAngelo’s theory.

As a social scientist himself, Yancey draws our attention to a striking lack of empirical evidence and reasoning. One of the most salient examples of this lack of evidence is that there is no data to defend the claim that whites experience a unique form of “frailty” compared to other racial groups. As this frailty is the fundamental claim that DiAngelo states about white people, this should be immensely troubling to any reader.

Yancey also critiques the operationalization of such bold, empirically unfounded claims. In Yancey’s view, DiAngelo’s rhetoric has the potential to cause far more division than solutions:

“As far as I can tell the only way a white person can react and not be guilty of white fragility is to agree that he or she is a racist and then do whatever the person of color asks him or her to do. Any defensiveness, crying, arguments, requests for evidence of racism or any other reaction is taken as evidence of white fragility. It is the ultimate in heads I win, tails you lose rhetoric that is great for a Facebook argument, but not useful as far as the creation of a conceptual tool that you can use for hypothesis testing.”

Employing white fragility within discourse about race and racism creates an end to the conversation, not engagement. This only encourages whites to continue to ignore racial issues, as they are no longer allowed to speak into discourse. Meanwhile, the group that is given a platform will likely become overzealous in their demands. This is basic group interest theory, which “indicates that allowing either group total control of what we are going to do means that this group will create rules that benefit them but put others at a disadvantage.”

There is no guarantee that whatever solution posed by such a one-sided conversation will benefit all parties of society. In fact, group interest theory shows that the group in total power will likely use this authority to better their own standing, oftentimes at the cost of others.

Beyond simply critiquing DiAngelo, Yancey provides an alternate solution to the division and discomfort found in conversation about race and racism.:

“We must find common ground and do what we can so that we all can win. This very process can bring us together and reduce the racial animosity that never seems to go away in our society. But it will be hard work. We will not easily give up the idea that we can get everything we want or that we are right but those who disagree with us have no clue. But if we can overcome these tendencies and learn how to fashion win-win solutions, then we have a chance to move forward.”

The “mutual accountability model,” as Yancey calls it, seeks to provide realistic solutions for all parties. This cannot be done without healthy interaction from all groups, not just one. Part of learning how to healthily interact with each other is to participate in active listening. Yancey defines active listening as “listening for understanding and not argument.” Rather than trying to make your next great point, active listening requires a genuine consideration of your opposition’s narrative. This means putting aside our own assumptions, even when they are correct, in order to understand one another before making a judgement.

Yancey acknowledges that the mutual accountability model may be more difficult for people of color to accept, as the group that has suffered more. It isn’t quite fair, and Yancey is aware of this. However, in the interest of long-term solutions, cooperation will likely be more effective, as Yancey illustrates:

“We might get nearly 100 percent of what we want but it will be temporary. Because the backlash against us means that about half the population will work to sabotage whatever solution we get implemented. Or we can get 70-80 percent of what we want though active listening and working with other people who will help, instead of hinder, us. So that 70-80 percent we receive is sustainable as we pull together as a group across racial and ideological lines. The practical smart play is to engage in active listening to work out win-win solutions if what we want is long term success.”

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo may provide short-term solutions to placate our present racial controversies. However, long-term solutions will only be found in mutual cooperation and mutual accountability.












Excerpts from the preceding article was originally published July 17, 2020 by George Yancey on Shattered Paradigms, a Patheos blog.
Ed Stetzer is executive director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center, serves as a dean at Wheaton College, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group. The Exchange Team contributed to this article and Sitara Roden summarized much of Yancy’s thoughts.
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Re: Christianity Today Magazine - August 2020
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2020, 01:08:13 pm »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/august/white-fragility-behind-worldview.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+christianitytoday%2Fctmag+%28CT+Magazine%29









White Fragility: Behind the Worldview











Unraveling the contemporary critical theory behind White Fragility is key to deciphering its meaning.


In our 2019 Gospel Coalition article “The Incompatibility of Critical Theory and Christianity,” Dr. Pat Sawyer and I recommended that Christians read White Fragility because it was —and is —the most popular example of a book rooted in contemporary critical theory, an ideology which is fundamentally incompatible with Christianity.

In this essay, I won’t address the text of White Fragility itself. Many different authors [1] [2] [3] from all over the political and religious spectrum, myself included, have explained in detail why the book’s central thesis and supporting claims are false, contradictory, and harmful. Instead, I want to focus on the overarching framework on which it is based. I worry that many Christians, because they are unfamiliar with contemporary critical theory, are misunderstanding DiAngelo’s book. Worse still, Christians may be unconsciously absorbing elements of its worldview without realizing it.

A helpful analogy might be to a Christian reading a Mormon book on parenting. While there may indeed be selected insights that he can appreciate, a Christian who is unfamiliar with Mormonism is likely to misinterpret Mormon references to “grace” or “the fatherhood of God” or “the eternal importance of family.” In the same way, Christians who come away from White Fragility thinking that DiAngelo is merely calling us to “be humble when talking about race” don’t fully understand what she’s saying. Putting White Fragility in the context of DiAngelo’s other writing will help us interpret her accurately.

Interlocking systems of oppression

DiAngelo’s book Is Everyone Really Equal? most clearly explains her ideology, which she explicitly roots in the ideas of Karl Marx, the Frankfurt School’s Critical Theory, and postmodernist philosophers (p. 25-27). In that work, she explains that society is divided into dominant/oppressor and subordinate/oppressed groups along lines of “race, class, gender, sexuality, ability status/exceptionality, religion, and nationality” (p. 44). Crucially, she understands “oppression” to refer not only to violence or coercion but also to “the imposition of the dominant group’s culture on the minoritized group” (p. 62). Consequently, “exism, racism, classism, ableism, and heterosexism [i.e. affirming male-female relationships as the norm] are specific forms of oppression” (p. 61) because they all involve unspoken, taken-for-granted values which privilege some groups (men, whites, heterosexuals, etc.) and marginalize others (women, people of color, LGBTQ people, etc.).

This definition of “oppression” explains not only why DiAngelo understands “racism” in terms of structures and systems, but also why she sees racism as merely one form of oppression along with ableism and heterosexism. It also explains why a commitment to “Critical Social Justice” demands active opposition to all these various oppressions. To oppose racism but to fail to oppose heterosexism would, on her view, be as inconsistent as opposing abortion but not euthanasia. We must be actively working against all oppression, whether it’s based on race, gender, or sexuality: “There is no neutral ground; to choose not to act against injustice is to choose to allow it” (p. xxiv).

Subjective Knowledge

DiAngelo also insists that all knowledge is socially constructed. It is “never purely objective, neutral, and outside of human interests…Even the field of science is subjective” (p. 15). Knowledge is not “simply the result of a rational, objective, and value-neutral process, one that is removed from any political agenda.” (p. 25) Instead, “knowledge is dependent upon a complex web of cultural values, beliefs, experiences, and social positions.” (p. 29) “Language is not a neutral transmitter of a universal objective or fixed reality. Rather, language is the way we construct reality” (p. 70).

The naive view that there can be “objective knowledge” is what allows dominant, oppressor groups to disguise their values as neutral. Consequently, truth claims from dominant groups are suspect and those from oppressed groups need to be centered: “Dominant groups have the most narrow or limited view… Minoritized groups often have the widest view of society” (p. 70).

Obviously, this view of knowledge will have serious implications for whether Christians can continue to confess doctrines like the deity of Christ or the Trinity or the nature of the gospel as objective, universal truths which can be equally known by all people. Do we know any objective truths from the Bible, or do we only know our white, Western, male interpretations of the Bible?

Race and Racism

Finally, Christians alarmed by some of these ideas might nonetheless insist that DiAngelo’s views on race, at least, are valuable. Here, I’ll simply include a few quotes from her peer-reviewed papers on race to suggest that we need to read her statements more carefully.

In “Beyond the Face of Race: Emo-Cognitive Explorations of White Neurosis and Racial Cray-Cray,” she writes: “Under the power of Whiteness, the racial cray-cray becomes a socially-sanctioned process of engaging in the lies of White neurosis that everyone is forced to perform.” And “we hope to offer a new approach to racial healing by affirming Thandeka’s (1999) postulation of Whiteness as a form of child abuse”. And “the current state of White emo-cognition and rationality are incompatible”.

In Leaning in: A student’s guide to engaging constructively in social justice content, she criticizes statements like “People should be judged by what they do, not the color of their skin,” “My parents taught me that all people are equal,” and “I have friends from all races and we are all fine with each other” as “predictable, simplistic, and misinformed.”

It’s crucial for us to recognize that when it comes to basic worldview questions like “Who am I?”, “What is good?”, and “What is my purpose?” DiAngelo’s work provides very different answers than Christianity does.

Summary

As I said at the outset, I and many others have written about the problems with the text of White Fragility elsewhere. Moreover, I want to make it clear that I am not attempting to “poison the well” or to argue that everything that DiAngelo says is false. Indeed, Dr. Sawyer and I still recommend that Christians read this book to better understand our culture. However, we should read it in the same way that a Christian living in Utah reads the Book of Mormon. She reads it to better understand her Mormon neighbors, but with the recognition that it is built on a broken and spiritually dangerous foundation that will harm anyone who embraces it.










Neil Shenvi currently homeschools his four children and tutors for Classical Conversations. He received his PhD in Theoretical Chemistry from UC Berkeley and spent several years conducting research at Duke University.
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Re: Christianity Today Magazine - August 2020
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2020, 01:13:41 pm »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/august/white-fragility-sin-redemption-and-gospel.html








White Fragility: Sin, Redemption and the Gospel












An insufficient doctrine of sin and redemption cannot hope to resolve systemic injustice.


Though published in 2018, Robin DiAngelo’s #1 New York Times bestseller, White Fragility, has returned to the top of the bestseller list in the wake of the recent racial tensions and protests in America. In her book, DiAngelo unpacks the phenomenon of “white fragility,” the inability or unwillingness of white people to talk about race, and argues that it “is not weakness per se… [but] a powerful means of white racial control.” The book’s provocative thesis has prompted its share of critical reviews (p. 2). The book has been critiqued for its circular logic, its lack of empirical grounding, its problematic epistemological assumptions, its “dehumanizing condescension,” and its opportunistic nod to the trillion-dollar (white) wellness and self-help industry.

What has surprisingly been lacking from the growing cottage industry of White Fragility reviews is a theological critique of this flawed but culturally important work.

While it may seem unfair to subject a book by a diversity consultant to a theological critique, there are two reasons a review of this nature is overdue. First, this book has not only graced the NYT bestseller list, it has also appeared on numerous “recommended reading” lists posted by evangelical pastors and leaders. While Christians should read widely to engage culture, they should also think critically and theologically about what they read. Second, its topic—racism and white people’s reluctance to reckon with it—raises unavoidable theological questions. We simply can’t talk about racism without talking about sin and evil—concepts completely absent from DiAngelo’s book. And we can’t talk about white fragility without talking about repentance and redemption (also conspicuously absent). In short, White Fragility, struggles to reckon with racism, or even “white fragility,” because DiAngelo has a deficient doctrine of sin and an incomplete doctrine of redemption.

Racism and the Doctrine of Sin

One of DiAngelo’s main goals in White Fragility is to argue that racism is not merely discrete bigoted acts committed by racist individuals but rather a pervasive and “complex, interconnected system” of racial injustice and oppression into which we are all born and socialized. The result is that racist assumptions and ways of thinking are impossible not to absorb, regardless of your upbringing or self-conception as a non-racist. While some may quibble with DiAngelo’s overstatements and oversimplifications, I think she is largely right about the systemic nature of racism. It’s the water we swim in.

The problem is that DiAngelo doesn’t go far enough or deep enough.

She is unwilling, or perhaps unable, to name racism for what it really is—sin. Stuck in what Charles Taylor calls the “immanent frame” of the secular, DiAngelo’s attempt to account for racism without reference to cosmic evil ultimately fail to give racial injustice its due. For DiAngelo, racism is manifested in “problematic” racial assumptions which can lead to “offensive” behavior. These problematic assumptions, according to DiAngelo, are rooted in ignorance and socialization into a racialized society.

While this argument is not wrong per se, it is a scandalously shallow accounting of racism. And, it is unable to answer the most basic question that her argument raises: How is it that we ended up with a racialized/racist society in the first place?

To this point, DiAngelo asserts, “Exploitation came first, and then the ideology of unequal races to justify this exploitation followed” (p. 16). Perhaps, but why do we exploit other people whether on the basis of race, gender, disability, etc.? DiAngelo provides no answer. It’s as though she is willing to see racism as a “hereditary corruption,” the first half of Calvin’s definition of original sin, but not as a “depravity of our nature,” the second half of Calvin’s definition (Calvin’s Institutes, Book II, Ch. 1.8). DiAngelo is committed to racism being something that corrupts us from the outside (via socialization), but she is unwilling to acknowledge the deeper and more terrifying truth: the human tendency towards exploitation, and its racialized justification, is something that comes out from the deepest parts of the human heart.

As the Apostle Paul explains, human depravity is rooted in idolatry: “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator...” (Romans 1:25 ESV). This, in my estimation, is the best one-sentence explanation for the origins of racism and white supremacy. White supremacy is not merely an intellectual justification for exploitation. It is a false god that demands allegiance and human sacrifice.

It is allegiance to this false god that explains white fragility—the unwillingness of many (but not all) white people to reckon with racism in America and in their own hearts.

White Fragility and the Doctrine of Redemption

Because DiAngelo is convinced that racism is rooted in socialization and ignorance (rather than sin and idolatry), naturally, her solutions are “on-going self-awareness [and] continuing education” (p. 4). While she never makes the explicit connection, “self-awareness” functions like a secularized notion of repentance and “continuing education” like sanctification.

For example, when convicted white people come up to DiAngelo at the end of a diversity training and ask her how they can become antiracist (in other words, “what must I do to be saved?”), she encourages them to embrace a “transformed paradigm” about racism and to adopt some new behaviors and assumptions regarding race (p. 140-41). To be clear, I find much of her list of new behaviors and assumptions very helpful. However, there is something conspicuously absent from DiAngelo’s notion of repentance—forgiveness.

In one insightful anecdote, DiAngelo tells the story of a time she offended an African American coworker with a racially insensitive joke. Recounting the painful conversation where she identified her “problematic” (read: sinful) behavior and asked if she would be permitted to “repair the racism” she had perpetrated (read: restitution), DiAngelo in many ways modeled how we ought to navigate these humbling conversations and resist the urge to self-justification. However, in what was otherwise a model conversation, the notion of forgiveness never came up. Her co-worker “accepted” and “appreciated” her apology and moved on, but DiAngelo, while apologizing, never asked for forgiveness—or pardon from guilt.

When addressing the relationship between racism and guilt, DiAngelo writes, “I don’t feel guilty about racism. I didn’t choose this socialization, and it could not be avoided… To the degree that I have done my best in each moment to interrupt my participation, I can rest with a clearer conscience” (p. 149). In a world with no sin—just “problematic” assumptions and “offensive” behavior—there is no guilt and consequently, no need for pardon. The result of this secularized understanding of racism is an incomplete process of redemption: confession without absolution, repentance without forgiveness.

DiAngelo’s notion of “continuing education” functions similarly as a half-Christian idea. Like the doctrine of sanctification, antiracist education is “ongoing, lifelong work because the forces conditioning us into racist frameworks are always at play” (p. 9). Even DiAngelo, as an expert on the topic, humbly admits that she is “engaged in a lifelong process of learning and growth” (p 140).

However, unlike the Christian understanding of sanctification, which ends in ultimate redemption, DiAngelo offers no such hope to the aspiring antiracist. As DiAngelo admits, “Racism is so deeply woven into the fabric of our society that I do not see myself escaping from that continuum in my lifetime. But I can continually seek to move further along it” (p. 86). DiAngelo’s goal for her own life is quite bleak: “Ultimately, I strive for a less white identity for my own liberation and sense of justice, not to save people of color” (p. 149).

Hope and the Gospel

To DiAngelo’s credit, she does not engage in the utopian fantasies of some racial justice activists who imagine a world without racism without acknowledging what it would cost. Throughout her work, DiAngelo remains in the immanent frame and accepts the inherent (and tragic) limitations of our secular age.

But the Christian doesn’t have to.

In the gospel, we discover the two truths that transformed John Newton, the slave-trader turned abolitionist: “I am a great sinner, and Christ is a great savior.” We simply can’t reckon with racism, in our souls or in our systems, unless we embrace a robust doctrine of sin and understand that our struggle with racism is not “against flesh and blood, but… against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). For if we have the wrong diagnosis, we will offer the world the wrong cure.

But we can’t stop there.

Like DiAngelo and other antiracist activists, we should preach repentance and should encourage lifelong sanctification. However, only the Christian can preach repentance with the promise of forgiveness and sanctification with the hope of glorification.

Only a Christian can sing, as it goes in the old African American spiritual; “There is balm in Gilead / To make the wounded whole / There's power enough in heaven / To cure a sin-sick soul.”










William Murrell is a professor of church history and the academic dean of Every Nation Seminary. He has degrees in history from Oxford (MSt) and Vanderbilt (PhD) and specializes in the history of Christian mission and the history of Islam. He and his wife, Rachel, have three young children and live in Nashville, Tennessee.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Christianity Today Magazine - August 2020
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2020, 08:01:33 am »


https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/august/white-fragility-conversation-on-race-and-racism-part-two.html







White Fragility: A Conversation on Race and Racism Part Two













Beginning the second part of our series on Robin DiAngelo's 'White Fragility.'


Last week, we began a robust conversation about Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. With the wide range of responses we’ve received, it has only become clearer that engaging with this popular secular book is vital, particularly as we continue to face social and political unrest surrounding issues of race. As we have reached the conclusion of part one, we are taking a moment to pause and reflect on all of the contributions we’ve had thus far.

We began our series with higher education professional and author Allison Ash, with her article “White Fragility: Why this Book is Important for Evangelicals.” Ash provided a very favorable review of White Fragility, with some important caveats. Firstly, White Fragility is a book written for white people, specifically those who are at all invested in furthering racial justice and reconciliation. Its primary contribution is helping white people identify and describe white supremacy and to equip those same people to understand and overcome the difficulty that often arises when talking about these issues. Ash also presented a brief history of the complicity and often perpetration of racism within the Christian church. However, Ash considers White Fragility to be primarily a means to examine white supremacy as it exists today, something the white evangelical church has failed to do. Her hope for the way forward is that white evangelicals will glean the truth about racial trauma to then be empowered to provide hope through a gospel lens.

Next, we summarized a recent book review by George Yancey. Yancey is a professor of sociology at Baylor University. His take on White Fragility was far less positive. While Yancey agreed with DiAngelo’s basic assumptions of systemic racism and that whites do get defensive, he posits that the concepts and tactics DiAngelo employed were more harmful than good. Furthermore, Yancey argues the theory she presented has no empirical founding, as she does not provide evidence for even her most base claim: that there is a unique fragility about white people when it comes to talking about race. We concluded our summary with a brief introduction to Yancey’s counter-solution called the “Mutual Accountability Model,” which poses win-win solutions for all instead of isolated groups. (Yancy is writing more for the symposium this week.)

Florida-based church planter Danny Slavich offered an even-handed review that examined both the best and the worst of the book through a theological lens. Slavich walks readers through a few primary questions: why is the book so popular and so controversial, and what are the helpful and problematic aspects of it? Slavich is in favor of an enlivened theological vision that allows Christian readers to learn about the racial realities DiAngelo describes while remaining firm in biblical truth about the nature if the human heart. White Fragility is not a Christian book, so of course it is based on nonbiblical assumptions, yet when it is examined through the eyes of Scripture, it can still help us to see areas we need to address.

Neil Shenvi followed this review with a slightly different approach then most of our contributors. Instead of dealing directly with White Fragility, Shenvi provides an examination of the worldview from which it was written. Shenvi’s intent is to better prepare Christian readers to interpret DiAngelo’s book without unknowingly absorbing her framework. He offers a brief examination into DiAngelo’s views on interlocking systems of oppression, subjective knowledge, and race through providing a fuller-bodied look into DiAngelo’s previous work. Shenvi concludes with a suggestion to read the book, even if it is only read to better understand our present culture.

Our final contributor for part one was William Murrell, dean of Every Nation Seminary, offered a theological critique of DiAngelo’s White Fragility. Similarly to a few of our other contributors, Murrell notes that DiAngelo’s assumptions are incompatible with a Christian worldview. More specifically, she presents a deficient doctrine of both sin and redemption. DiAngelo’s conception of racism blames its existence on society, not the sinful nature of humankind, and offers no hope of true redemption, only an alleviated sense of guilt. According to Murrell, Christianity offers insight into the true cause behind racism as well as the hope that these issues can not only be lessened, but overcome. (Note: William Murrell sent his review to me a few weeks ago, planning to send that to the leaders of the Every Nation movement. I asked him to let me build a symposium around it, and he graciously did.)







We look forward to beginning part two of our White Fragility series tomorrow. We will be hearing from several authors as they respond to the praise and criticism raised by our first-round contributors.

Our part two contributors include:

Sheila Caldwell is the Chief Intercultural Engagement Officer at Wheaton College, IL. She received a M.A. from Argosy University and a Ph.D. in education from the University of Georgia.
Daniel Yang is the Director of the Send Institute, an institute of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. He was trained as a church planter and holds and M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is working on a PhD from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
John Richards Jr. is the pastor of assimilation at Saint Mark Baptist Church. He is a graduate of the Howard University School of Law and Fuller Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing his PhD.
George Yancey will write a new article in part two.
Sitara Roden is the Managing Editor of The Exchange and Promotions Strategist at the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center.




Ed Stetzer is executive director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center, serves as a dean at Wheaton College, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group. Sitara Roden and The Exchange Team contributed to this article.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Christianity Today Magazine - August 2020
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2020, 12:24:05 pm »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/august/white-fragility-all-truth-matters.html








White Fragility: All Truth Matters











Quote
Robin DiAngelo’s 2018 book White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism is experiencing a resurgence amidst a national reckoning surrounding issues of racism and its consequences. In consideration of its immense popularity and numerous critics, The Exchange has invited several authors of various backgrounds to engage in a two-part discussion of the merits and flaws of White Fragility.

Part one included the initial reviews to the book from five different individuals, with part two providing a platform for others to respond to the book and to these reviewers. You can find my full introduction to this series, as well as a list of all our contributors, here. This week we will be embarking on part two of this series, as we have invited several authors to respond to our initial articles. You can find a summary of part one and an introduction to part two, here.

Today we are joined by Dr. Sheila Caldwell. Caldwell is currently the Chief Intercultural Engagement Officer at Wheaton College, IL. She received her M.A. from Argosy University and a Ph.D. in education from the University of Georgia. With nearly two decades of experience in higher education, she is a seasoned expert. We look forward to welcoming Daniel Yang, John Richards Jr., George Yancey, and Sitara Roden as we continue on with this series.




God can and will reveal His truth in unexpected places.


While reading this article it would be important to refer to the first post in this series, which lists DiAngelo’s definitions, including:

"Whiteness rests upon a foundational premise: the definition of whites as the norm or standard for human, and people of color as a deviation from that norm." (p.25)

White supremacy: DiAngelo seeks to redefine the term white supremacy to show it refers not only to radicalized right wingers but to "the all-encompassing centrality and assumed superiority of people defined and perceived as white and the practices based on this assumption. White supremacy in this context does not refer to individual white people and their individual intentions or actions but to an overarching political, economic, and social system of domination." (p. 28)
From Dr. Caldwell:

Dr. Robin DiAngelo is characterized by some believers as an unbeliever that Christians cannot learn from. This is evidenced by descriptors of her writings as false, contradictory and harmful. Other characterizations claim the New York Times best-selling author of White Fragility does have a few truths that believers can glean from, such as identifying and naming the harms of white supremacy and acknowledging systemic racism. Criticisms on her writings are centered on a serious lack of empirical evidence, focus on problems instead of redemption, and creating more division than unity. My review will not address all the aforementioned assumptions from her critics. My contribution will focus on sound evidence presented by DiAngelo to counteract false and incomplete narratives surrounding her stance on truth, knowledge, and redemption.

Arthur J. Holmes is credited for proclaiming “All truth is God’s truth.” John Piper offers his rebuttal and pronounces all truth is not God’s truth if it does not make God known and loved and shown. Piper clarifies his message to declare “believers may learn many of God’s truths from unbelievers and see them rightly and thus desire God more and delight in God more because of those truths, so that unbelievers become, unwittingly, the means of our worship” (Piper, 2009).

I affirm that Christians can learn many of God’s truths from DiAngelo. Disciples of Christ can make God known, loved, and seen by speaking truthfully about the enduring harms imposed on people of color by white supremacy. DiAngelo is criticized for lacking empirical evidence to prove white fragility is true and harmful. This judgment is faulty because DiAngelo cites her lived experiences as a professor and diversity consultant, revealing knowledge gained over several years, through careful observation and documentation of patterns of behaviors demonstrated by white people. DiAngelo shares more than a few experiences and observations to educate readers on how white fragility, color-blind and color-celebrant schemes shut down rather than facilitate color-brave conversations, to borrow language from Mellody Hobson’s TED Talk (p. 77-78).

Another central concept misinterpreted by one of DiAngelo’s evaluators is the allegation she does not offer robust evidence to support her claim that white people are more fragile than other people groups. This may perhaps be because of the counterintuitive definition that DiAngelo ascribes to the term white fragility. DiAngelo defines white fragility as a defensive scheme by the dominant group to keep people of color in their place. “In this way, it is a powerful form of white racial control,” (making it a strength not a weakness, as the phrase white fragility suggest), when weaponized by the white majority (p.112). It is not a sign of delicacy, but rather of the dominance.

Second, DiAngelo should not and cannot offer evidence to compare and prove dominant members are more fragile than members from underrepresented groups because underrepresented groups lack equal social and economic power. White people are the only people group who can reap the full benefits derived from the system that is whiteness, and thereby, are the only group that can be described as possessing and maintaining white fragility.

Another incomplete narrative argues that her views are not rooted in truth and are instead false and harmful. DiAngelo contends her writings and work pursues truth to provide accurate and helpful feedback to white Americans on the manifestations of unintentional racism (p.116). She also aims to make visible the inevitable racist assumptions and patterns held by white people conditioned by living in a white supremacist culture (p. 117). Christians can learn from DiAngelo, who speaks truth to power and exposes the fruitless deeds of darkness (Ephesians 5:11).

The Bible teaches us that God made men upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes (Ecclesiastes 7:9). White Fragility and the system of whiteness are man-made schemes that advantages white people and disadvantages black people and racialized ethnic groups. DiAngelo describes whiteness as an identity or status that grants resources such as self-worth, visibility, freedom of movement, sense of belonging, and sense of entitlement (p. 25). DiAngelo describes whiteness as a system, and as someone who agrees racism can be systemic, this system is what needs addressing. As a system, whiteness elevates one people above another and does so in structural ways.

In other words, both white fragility and whiteness are evil systemic schemes that oppose the supremacy of God by claiming to be like God, superior to others, and by falsely representing the perfect impartial judge who does not show favoritism (Romans 2:11).

DiAngelo is right and righteous when she insists on disrupting and demolishing white fragility (p.148). Paul reminds the Christians in Corinth to “refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the true knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:5). White supremacy is in opposition with the supremacy of God and His Word because God made all men as equal image bearers (Genesis 1:27), and from one man he made all the nations (Acts 17:26).

Believers should feel provoked by plots that perpetuate an anti-Kingdom vision. The scripture teaches that God desires a great multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language worshipping before his throne (Matthew 28:18-20; Revelations 7:9). Christians should share a similar passion with DiAngelo, and actively work towards dismantling inequitable structures, to ensure freedom and wholeness for all the oppressed groups Jesus came to proclaim the good news to (Isaiah 61:1-3).

My final critique is centered on the claim DiAngelo teachings renders readers hopeless and creates more division than unity. She supplies several hope-filled strategies, with values we also find in the scriptures, which can help move God’s people towards repentance and reconciliation. Two of her recommendations, listening and reflecting, are aligned with the wisdom taught in James: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1-19).

DiAngelo encourages her peers to listen to the hurts and experiences of members from racialized backgrounds and resist the urge to be defensive and angry, which are salient features of white fragility. DiAngelo advises white colleagues to work to make things right by seeking out someone with a stronger analysis if confusion arises.

Her counsel should actually drive Christ-followers to scriptures, reminding believers to instruct the wise and they will be wiser still, and to ensure victory by seeking many advisors (Proverbs 9:9; 11:14). DiAngelo should move Christian readers to repent and be reconciled by returning to situations and people to confront uncomfortable racist tendencies in the same way that Jesus reminded the crowds who were following him to “first go and be reconciled, and then offer your gift” (Matthew 5:24).

The truths in White Fragility are just that, true. They can help Christians make God known, love and shown to all nations by gaining more depth of insight to heal cross-racial differences.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Christianity Today Magazine - August 2020
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2020, 01:13:08 pm »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/august/white-fragility-refusing-to-choose-side.html



Quote
Robin DiAngelo’s 2018 book White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism is experiencing a resurgence amidst a national reckoning surrounding issues of racism and its consequences. In consideration of its immense popularity and numerous critics, The Exchange has invited several authors of various backgrounds to engage in a two-part discussion of the merits and flaws of White Fragility.

Part one included the initial reviews to the book from five different individuals, with part two providing a platform for others to respond to the book and to these reviewers. You can find my full introduction to this series, as well as a list of all our contributors, here. This week we will be embarking on part two of this series, as we have invited several authors to respond to our initial articles. You can find a summary of part one and an introduction to part two, here.

So far in part two we have heard from Dr. Sheila Caldwell and Daniel Yang. Today we are glad to be joined by John C. Richards, Jr.. Richards is graduate of Morehouse College, Howard University School of Law, and Fuller Theological Seminary. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Christian Leadership from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. We look forward to welcoming George Yancey and Sitara Roden as we continue on with this series.




White Fragility: Refusing to Choose a Side











White Fragility demonstrates the importance of understanding contexts, allyship, and reading widely.


“Are you mixed?” This seemingly innocent question from a white elementary school classmate sat with me for a few minutes before I answered.

“No, I am Black.”

He asked so he could accurately “locate” me in the social construct that we have come to know as race.

I confused him. My eyes were hazel, and I was close to his color. Maybe I could pass as white and be his friend. He wanted me to choose a side.

Of this pressure to choose a side, Robin DiAngelo notes in her work White Fragility, “When…people’s racial identity is ambiguous, they will face constant pressure to explain themselves and ‘choose a side.’”

My response was all he needed. I hadn’t passed the test. The two of us couldn’t be friends. For some reason, in his experience, whiteness had been normalized. Blackness was a deviation.

While this singular incident seems isolated and disheartening, DiAngelo argues in White Fragility that racism is not a product of individual actions but a “complex interconnected system.” In her view, my classmate’s words that day weren’t just a heart issue, but a systemic issue.

Many other writers in this series have pointed out some problems with DiAngelo’s approach. And I applaud much of what they have written. I too believe that racism is heart issue and that the gospel is the ultimate hope for any sin-stained heart—including a heart stained by racism.

But I believe that men and women of faith who are serious about gospel work need to be interested in transforming hearts and systems. If we do not pursue both, then our work to transform the world around us is incomplete.

Like my elementary school classmate, we tend to like people to choose sides in today’s culture. But what if we didn’t have to? What if we believed that racism involves both the heart and systems? While I am critical of DiAngelo’s work, I do not think Christians should ignore it, as I found some value in reading it.

I want to offer three thoughts I find worthwhile for Christians. They include the historical reality of the pursuit of whiteness in America, the Black community’s work before critical race theory became an antithetical buzzword, and the need for us as believers to engage with and synthesize the secular conversations around us to provide a proper biblical approach.

The Pursuit of Whiteness

It is no stretch to say that, historically, pursuing the American dream has also meant pursuing whiteness. As DiAngelo notes, many immigrants learned early that it was better to be white in America, even if they shared socioeconomic disadvantages with Black and brown communities.

Unfortunately, the pursuit of whiteness is not just a historical fact. It is a contemporary reality. As a Black man who has worked in white evangelical spaces, I have found that in many instances, those who desire to hire for diversity create an environment where they hire for assimilation.

And it’s not intentional. We tend to normalize our experiences. And many leaders in evangelical spaces are white males. In some instances, the outcome of a genuine desire to increase diversity is an increase in white normativity.

It is a worthwhile endeavor to take a closer look at diversity initiatives in our contexts to determine whether we have created room for true diversity or made it an unspoken requirement for people of color to assimilate. We would do well to create environments where people of color aren’t expected to pursue whiteness but to embody their culture.

Black Lives and White Allies

While many celebrate DiAngelo for pointing out white fragility in recent years, the Black community looks on quizzically. The irony of a white woman writing a New York Times Best Seller on a subject that many in the Black community have discussed openly for decades is not lost on me.

As DiAngelo rightly points out, Black authors, scholars and thought leaders have discussed white fragility in their writing ad nauseam. And it’s not just the oft-quoted critical race theory “warriors” many evangelicals tend to hone in on. Those critics include the likes of W.E.B. Du Bois, James Baldwin, and Richard Wright, all of whom have pointed to the problem with centering whiteness in our country and its systemic outcomes.

Even DiAngelo’s success writing on the topic points out a reality that Black men and women face in our culture. White men and women could say or write the same thing Black men and women have said for years and it becomes more palatable for some in the white community to receive it.

This is both disheartening and encouraging. Disheartening because Black voices are historically ignored when writing on subjects that make whites in majority culture uncomfortable. Encouraging because it points to the need for white allies for our country to make any progress in addressing the racism so firmly entrenched in our society.

Those in power can help change policies, practices, and norms. Frederick Douglass’ work as an abolitionist still required Lincoln’s signature on the Emancipation Proclamation. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s pursuit of civil rights still required Lyndon B. Johnson’s signature of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act.

I can’t emphasize the importance of white allies enough. True white allyship, however, requires acknowledgement of some of the characteristics of white fragility that DiAngelo discusses in her book. And I’m not so sure some are willing to recognize the latter in order to truly pursue the former.

Synthesizing the Secular

One of the many critiques I have heard about DiAngelo’s work that she is a trained sociologist who uses Critical Race Theory to make her case for White fragility. Because the text isn’t “biblical,” some Christians have dismissed its value in helping work through race as it pertains to the Christian context. This is an unfortunate approach to critical thinking and engagement.

One of the biggest problems facing our culture today is the homogenous think tanks we have created to affirm our prejudices. Those who are monolithic readers are also monolithic thinkers.

Christians are not exempt from this phenomenon. The syllabi and required readings at many of our U.S. seminaries read like a “who’s who” of white, male, Christian thinkers. Those seminary graduates go on to pastor church and lead Christian organizations. In pastoring those churches and leading those organizations, social justice becomes an ideology to fight against rather than placing it in its proper biblical framework. All because we refuse to read texts to help us better understand subject matter outside the purview of our go-to scholarship.

The same Christians who dismiss DiAngelo’s work as secular and unhelpful to the Christian context, often also see the value and beauty of God’s common grace—grace he extends to all, Christian and non-Christian—to express truth, regardless of the topic.

It is hard to reconcile dismissing a secular book like White Fragility for not looking at race through a biblical lens, while celebrating other secular work we find as part of our normal non-fiction reading lists. If we refuse to read widely, then we may find ourselves thinking too narrowly—missing out on any value that secular works bring. Even if we wind up not agreeing with the author’s conclusions, it helps us understand the premise and argument of the work and assists in having informed discussions about it rather than misplaced assumptions.

If we cannot synthesize the secular things around us, then we ignore our responsibility to live in this world as a witness to it. Christians need to use the same biblical lens they use to filter other secular works through on works that might challenge our presuppositions. Refusing to do so, continues to cultivate a culture where we ask men and women questions that force them to choose a side.

I agree with my fellow contributor Danny Slavich. When it comes to this work, we are to chew the meat and spit out the bones. But as my mother used to tell us growing up, “Make sure you get all the meat off those bones.”
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Christianity Today Magazine - August 2020
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2020, 01:17:25 pm »


https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/august/white-fragility-order-of-unity.html




Quote
Robin DiAngelo’s 2018 book White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism is experiencing a resurgence amidst a national reckoning surrounding issues of racism and its consequences. In consideration of its immense popularity and numerous critics, The Exchange has invited several authors of various backgrounds to engage in a two-part discussion of the merits and flaws of White Fragility.

Part one included the initial reviews to the book from five different individuals, with part two providing a platform for others to respond to the book and to these reviewers. You can find my full introduction to this series, as well as a list of all our contributors, here. This week we will be embarking on part two of this series, as we have invited several authors to respond to our initial articles. You can find a summary of part one and an introduction to part two, here.

So far we have heard from Dr. Sheila Caldwell, Daniel Yang, and John C. Richards, Jr. Today we welcome back George Yancey. In part one, we summarized his recent book review of White Fragility, which you can find here. Yancey is currently a professor at Baylor University with a joint appointment in the department of Sociology and the Institute of Religious Studies. His areas of specialization include racial diversity and anti-Christian bias and his body of work includes many articles and several books surrounding these issues. We look forward to our final contributor, Sitara Roden, as we reach the conclusion of this series.





White Fragility: The Order of Unity








Any hope for justice must begin with unity first.


I am grateful for the chance to have my writing reprinted in Christianity Today and to have a chance to continue the conversation beyond that first blog. In promoting collaborative conversations, I believe I have charted a path that is scriptural and effective. That path is in contrast to White Fragility as the ideals promoted in that book are unlikely to succeed in producing Christian unity and justice.

I feel obligated to address an issue not brought up in those essays but nonetheless has come to my attention since the original blog. There are those who deny the reality of institutional racism. I define institutional racism as institutional forces that have a negative impact on racial minorities regardless of the personal intentions connected to the shaping of those institutions. Based on that definition there is plenty of evidence that institutional racism continues to exist.

For example, we know that there has not been any real decrease of racial discrimination in hiring over the past 25 years. There is statistical support for “driving while black” fears. Residential segregation still impacts people of color. Finally, there is evidence of racism in the beliefs and practices of medical heathcare providers. Those who deny the existence of institutional racism are either ignorant of the evidence or do not want to know if institutional racism exists.

Now there may be good reasons why we have rules or norms that have a disparate impact on people of color. True. Blacks are more likely, even after controls for individual characteristics, to commit murder. I do not think we want to rid ourselves of laws that punish murder. But we should still factor in institutional racial factors that may contribute to the disparity of criminal commission, as well as look at potential institutional factors that create this racial disparity. In doing so we may find that we cannot justify many of our current practices and institutions, which can force us to rethink our approaches to those institutions.

I believe the path that I have advocated is a sound way to engage in that type of rethinking. There are whites who have not really listened to the effects of institutional racism and its impact in the lives of people of color. When communicating in a mutually accountable way, we can work together to find ways to meet the needs these institutions address in ways that minimize or even eliminate unfair treatment of people of color. That is part of what it means to do justice.

But the ideas connected to White Fragility are not the keys to addressing issues of institutional racism or finding justice. I have heard people argue that we need to achieve justice before we can be unified. This is backward. We will not gain justice until there is unity. Until we are working together to achieve justice, then we will always have to fight strong resistance to our efforts. I am not talking about unity just for the sake of unity but developing unity so that we can confront our racial problems.

We know that when individuals develop a common identity, we see a decrease in bias and prejudice. Rather than stigmatizing people with claims of fragility, we should concentrate on our commonalities and identities. That would allow people of all races to confront the way they use unfair stereotyping to dehumanize racial outgroups. Only then are we in a position to unite in ways that achieve sustainable racial justice and be in the best position to confront institutional racism.

Our Bible tells about human depravity. Our inability to see the effects of that depravity can create in us a confidence that we are almost always right. So it is natural to think that unity only comes when others capitulate to us. This is where White Fragility can feed into the worst impulses of some people of color. It tells them that they should expect whites to just listen to them and do what they want. Not only does this expectation not help produce a unified front against institutionalized racism, but it can produce a backlash. I have had many whites tell me that they want to work on racial issues but are tired of being called racist because they have a different opinion.

What we need, and what we are not going to get from White Fragility, is the ability to enter collaborative conversation with each other. Those sorts of conversations can help us to work together, to be held accountable for our own biases, and to find solutions that we can live with. These are the conversations that get results. Research into corporate diversity programs has shown that trying to force managers to not discriminate does not increase the hiring of people of color, but getting those managers into a conversation, and bringing their own ideas on how to increase diversity works. Likewise if people of color work with whites, and come with a willingness to learn and teach, then we increase our chance of unifying for change.

So unfortunately, the book White Fragility, falls apart in several ways for Christians. It is theologically flawed, only recognizing human depravity among whites and not among people of color. It is empirically flawed as research indicates that such browbeating does not product positive results. It prioritizes capitulation over a unified front to confront contemporary racism. I appreciate the attention it has brought to institutional racism; however, this does not compensate for its many flaws. As such my recommendation is that Christians seek out ways to lead by having the type of collaborative dialogue necessary in our racialized fallen world rather than using the flawed model found within White Fragility.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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