…Against this pernicious anti-Christian idea of ‘White Privilege’, this idea is dangerous and the worst kind of fashionable pandering faux-history. It is part of something of an ‘intellectual’ Anti- Christian religion, and one of their key beliefs, which unfortunately, is trickling down to the masses by way of state controlled media and education predominantly, finding itself transported ignorantly to various countries, at least in the Anglosphere, with entirely different peoples and histories; none of this difference in livelihood or history matters to the ideologues of Secularism, Postmodernism and Deconstructionism however, who aim to destroy ‘western’ Christian communities and are happy to project all sorts on to them by way of a twisted metaphysics.
Whatever relevance this ‘privilege’ has in the US for example, and that’s often overstated, it most certainly does not have in other countries like my own. The major problem is that it and other Cultural Marxist, Postmodern or Deconstructionist ideas, are something of a religious faith, or metaphysics and aim no less than to transcend matter, space and time with their quasi religious beliefs in ‘privilege’, ‘race’, ‘appropriation’, etc each of which if taken as they are directly conflict with Christian truth and true personhood.
See these wonderful talks with Dr Jordan Peterson to learn about the The extent of this assiduous worldview, of which this Anti-Christian ‘oppressor-oppressed’, black and white metaphysic is only a small but dangerous part.-
See likewise, this courageous talk by Dr Paul Gottfried, an ethnic Jew on the very explicit Anti-Christian elements to this type of worldview.-
Recently, I have taught in schools whereby this cultural imperialism was fed to the children and cannot sit idly by to let this Anti-Christian and worldly racist lie seize young minds.
Now, in parts of Europe, you will hear terms like ‘hate crime’ or ‘white privilege’, to describe relations between different ethnic groups. This should have no more weight than the deplorable traditional marxist dialectic in describing how things really are. What might ostensibly appear to be harmfless terms, are in truth vile divisive Anti-Christian terms which have no sense of genuine Christian identity, sin or how the world actually is. They serve to divide, along lines which the bible identifies with ‘the world’ or ‘the flesh’, which is not to say the good creation or the body. (See Leithart, Behr et al.)
In fact it has all the appearance of an heretical take on, and distortion of, Christian doctrine- shed of its proper context.(see Jim Wallis describing ‘white guilt’ as America’s ‘original sin’).
It is a projection of ‘the world’ and yet, worst of all, is parroted about by ‘liberal Christians’ as if integral to the gospel itself, in this twisted ‘social justice’ form.(for the heretical form of Social justice see Tom Sowell- he references at 3 hours gone of the YouTube video below on ‘Black Rednecks and White Liberals’. See also Nikolai Berdyaev on a more authentic social justice.)
Even Christians who I have great time for, repeat this unthinkingly as a response to a confused sense of compassion (usually American and of course therefore subjected to the therapeutic view of life which Lasch, Gottfried and co rightly decry. Lasch brilliantly highlights it’s character in The Culture of Narcissism and The True and Only Heaven. Including, his perceptive realisation that it is not ‘guilt’ that these ‘liberals’ feel but anxiousness and that this is in a context of an erroroneous worldview. (More traditional Christian terms serve better than a psychoanalytical term in my view but his insights are invaluable.)
Dr Richard Beck, himself guilty of succumbing to this ‘liberal Christian’ illusion, nonetheless points out some it’s attributes in his fine book on ‘Old Scratch…’).
Likewise, Steven and Christian of Ancient Faith Radio, although not free from it themselves make some good points here which shows up the self-centred, Anti Christian nature of this beast.-
This is evidently not a properly Christian position, despite the force of rhetoric and burden placed on so many supposedly guilty ‘oppressors’ of ‘western Christian civilisation’. ( As if ‘they’ and ‘that’ were one thing…).
We have a greater calling…
Unfortunately, and despite the ‘liberal Christians’ best intentions, they only work to subvert a coherent universal Christian identity by adopting the ideas associated with Anti-Christian ‘rights’ groups- whether through accepting unquestionably and/or at an exaggerated level ‘white guilt’, ‘privilege’, ‘transphobia’ etc etc or the pernicious pretend ‘Multicultuarlism’ which is really a patronising monism which uses ‘people of colour’ and any preferred ‘victim group’s to score political points and attack Christianity.
Christianity has never divided people into racial or ethnic groups, or seen people only in their ‘group identity’ in this de facto metaphysical manner, nor ever should it. This is the case in Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Life, as well as the more sensible Protestant churches. (They literally could not be part of any such endeavour or ‘systemic racism’, otherwise they wouldn’t be the Church at all. See Fr Alexander Schmemann on what the Church actually IS.)
For starters, and more particularly focused on the U.S race hustling industry, see this overview by Tom Sowell on what he calls ‘Black redneck culture’, an ironic ‘appropriation’ of ‘white’ British culture oftentimes. (This is at least demonstrably so in some of his examples and whilst it should not be seen as the only explanation, has some validity.
Moreover, Sowell, by taking the international community into consideration, whether he intended to or not, makes it very clear that the dogmatic focus on ‘blackness’ and ‘whiteness’ is historical, centred ignorantly on one country, whilst making universal claims and equates to something of an American religion.
Sowell shows, whether you agree with all his points or not, that culture moves in circles and takes twists and turns, with influence, prejudices, systematic discrimination, racism etc etc going in different directions. He shows how ‘culture’ is fluid and multidimensional, not simply us and them as dogmatic ‘appropriation’ pastors would preach. (Undermining the naive progressive crude linear and singular view of human history, and the fake ‘multicultural’ religious mindset scorned by Lasch, Gottfried and the more prescient critics of American ‘liberalism’ and the wider community of Anti Christian religionists.(In Europe or elsewhere, and of course including the priesthood In Continetal Philosophy, be that His Grace Derrida or any of the other Bishops of Anti-Christianity.
Jonathan Haidt and Sam Harris, two men with very different views from my own, make some very good points here and give a more authentic view than most American Christian Theologians who only fawn at the latest ‘radical’ to ‘save’ America from her ‘original sin’.(The actual term used by the very misled Jim Wallis, supposedly a ‘Roman Catholic’…)
…In Christ there is neither Greek nor Jew.
Some protestant churches, which were created to serve principles of the so-called enlightenment and secularism, in the United States did refer to themselves as ‘white churches’, but this is oxymoronic and this awful Anti-Christian idea has it’s reflections now in ‘Black churches’. According to Christ this would be wrong and racist.
To be a Church, you simply cannot be a ‘white’ church or a ‘black’ church!
Paul Gottfried, Christopher Lasch, Peter Leithart, Bill Kauffman, Tom Sowell, Jordan B Peterson and other North Americans (from both Canada and the U.S.A) are a lot more sensible on North American History and ‘race relations’ than this.
Even online commentators such as Jay Fayza, Larry Elder and the annoying but at times insightful Ben Shapiro show that what is assumed to be ‘white privilege’ or other given bogeyman, is actually the result of a large number of factors.
Just some of these factors, I’ve previously mentioned, as well as many other privileges and responsibilities shifting between and within different groups of people at different times and different places.
Lest we forget that the U.S and her citizens are ‘privileged’ compared to most of the world and live often at their expense. ( for a great treatment of this, see Norman Wirzba’s ‘Food and Faith…’ or Christopher Lasch’s ‘True and Only Heaven’, linked below.)
For one example of historical nuance, given the ‘privilege’ and prestige Martin Luther King garnered for himself within certain communities, in a certain place, and at a certain time. (Like all ideas of privelege and power, despite the idealistic ignorance of this fact by white privelege Theologogues, you can only be ‘privileged’ in a particular place, with particular people and at a particular time and there is no need for a Christian to accept the assumptions of some Postmodernists that the only ‘power’ or source of ‘real discrimination/racism’ comes from a State, or the ‘Patriarchy’, or some other Anti-Christian projection of good and evil to one group as a scapegoat for the sins of the World. )
As a ‘black church’ leader, newly prestigious from his experiences in the Southern U.S.A, MLK was brought to speak in Chicago and decry segregation, yet the communities in this city and other places were divided along ethnic nationality lines rather than skin colour and had very different lives, values, you name it…Frankly, in many ways they’d a different culture. (A key point Dr Peterson makes is that we ‘play many different games at once’ so this monolithic idea of one mammoth ‘white culture’ is absurd.
By lumping these groups with ‘whiteness’, MLK and others like him completely failed to understand or empathise with their identities, or to at least see nuances at work which put them in a different world to southern American ‘whites’, this sort of event alongside many other historical forces in the U.S.A worked together to form a ‘white’ identity upon them and actually added to a divisiveness that wasn’t there before, at least to the same extent as these resultant historical actions created. The idea that these Polish, Italians, yes became ‘white’ is to miss some much of U.S history and is a horrid, limiting and politicised term. You could say other things, that they became ‘Americanized’, ‘homogenized’ and many other things but the constant focus on skin colour in this part of North America suits their Anti- Christian religion much better. This serves to divide and conquer Christians by giving them worldly categories…
For that MLK example, there were many other factors in play and the likes of the Polish, Italians, etc were becoming more homogenized into the American melting pot by the generation, were losing their religious identity, etc. but I hope the point that history is complicated was made a little clearer. There are better examples I’m sure, Dr Paul Gottfried and co can help us there.
Likewise, these ethnic groups might have suffered prejudice like the African Americans from the south but didn’t have laws against them in the same way; although these groups didn’t have the same level of prejudice, discrimination double, etc. Throughout history and in other countries, different people’s did and the devil doesn’t look at skin colour in that way. The Jewish people, the Polish, different people’s in Asia and Europe, South America, this is a human problem and needs to be seen in that light to prevent us from falling into the idolatry of ‘race’ as defined by the Americans or the English, or others in the Anglosphere.
In my own country of Ireland Catholics did. I’m not interested in who ‘suffered more’ or any of those distractive and divisive retorts but in showing that there is much more evil across the world than the ideologues of ‘race’ or ‘lgbt’ rights and co would let on. Of course those distractions are meant to make their preferred victim groups look like theyve suffered worse so then it can play a central role in destroting the institutions they want to destroy. So you see arguments against ‘Irish slavery’ etc, because they dont like their religious dogma questioned.
These people are ‘white’ yet suffered from the most deplorable conditions, in both the ‘systemic’ sense and the day to day prejudices of their ‘oppressor’ right up to very modern times, including members of my own family…in fact they didn’t receive ‘civil rights’ until AFTER the African Americans in the USA and the struggle for civil rights in northern Ireland was inspired by MLK’s in the USA. (This was inspired by Gandhi and India, which was in turn inspired by Ireland. See not only Gandhi but the likes of Terence McSwiney and Sri Aurobindo Those on the fluid multifaceted influences on people’s around the world. I’ll also refer ostensibly to the links between the Irish and Native Americans, as well as the Mexicans below but all of this is worth researching.)
Therefore, to bring the idea of ‘white privilege’ or ‘guilt’ to Ireland now as one of many examples I’m sure, is disgustingly ignorant and morally wrong, as well as Anti-Christian in the bigger picture. It ignores the magnitude of sin across the world and time, in all of Adam’s descendents and sacralises certain periods or groups- two popular examples of this are the particular ‘Atlantic Slave Trade’ and ‘The Holocaust’. Many Christian Theologians fall into this secularising trap, like Metz or Cone, however it is against the Gospel to do so and despite the sincerity, works to underestimate evil and it’s real character. Aleksandr Solzenhitsyn knew much better, as did Jung- See Dr Peterson here and elsewhere on them.
As a thought experiment, imagine treating the Irish Catholics in the same way as the African Americans are treated. ( That is in patronisongly paternalistic fashion, always viewing their history through your own ‘enlightened’ lens- it would not carry. That it’s okay for one group but not others across the world should partly show that it is a metaphysical position that is being taken and not based on proper justice at all. It is racist, sinful and again, clearly Anti Christian.
Again, competitions between different ethnic groups across the world as to who ‘suffered most’ is nonsense and misses the point. By treating one or two groups and or a struggle at one particular time, even if over a long period, as ‘qualitatively’ different and ‘irredeemable’- say African Americans or the Jewish people, is again virulently Anti Christian and sacralises certain historical epoches or communities unjustifiably. We are trapped in sin and humans suffer, it’s part of this sinful life, some more than others, but to elevate the holocaust or one particularly example of slavery as if they are of a different metaphysical order to slavery in general across the world and the worst totalitatianisms ( eg PolPot, Mao, etc) is no less than a metaphysical claim, a popular but disgusting anti Christ claim at that.
Richard Weaver said ‘ideas have consequences’, yes, and the human actors at work in relationship with these ideas do too. We are all suffering from awful Anti Christian ‘Postmodern’ ideas and theorists now.
Therefore, even though some may have rightful grievances, the ‘solutions’ they apply may make things much worse and be as Anti- Christian as those that preceded them. By having a sense of being a ‘victim’ at a quasi religious level does not serve the Kingdom of God well, nor does dividing humanity into ‘us’ and ‘them’.
Again, look at the great things done in the southern U.S fighting against genuine injustices, and the response which is now afflicting, or may be used directly or indirectly to inflict injustices against communities around the world. Now, categories and prejudices are being developed against groups around the world, groups who have been commonly just as oppressed or poor, and hated just as much as the preferred victim groups, but because they don’t match the look, are portrayed as part of an ‘oppressor’ class. All these people have nothing to do with, were or could have been persecuted by the macro W.A.S.P culture of ‘privilege’ in the United States. Yet, to give any of these groups a sacred identity, with new ‘privileges’ against the older ‘privileged’ class would not be the right thing to do and is not in line with the Kingdom of God. This should not be accepted by any ‘community’ and if it is, they should recognise at least that they are not Christians.(they may foolishly portray this as bourgeois or some other fanciful term but they, like many a clever marxist of former generations do not understand the Kingdom of God, his Justice or speak with an authority when they make such Anti-Christ religious claims.)
Sin runs in many directions and history is complicated, so, catch-all, especially ignorant constructed American ‘race-based’ terms are perilously unjust when stretched to take the place of cosmic sin as defined by the gospel.
Those aforementioned scholars at least show an awareness of History, worldviews, Philosophy and Politics beyond the U.S.A. This is vitally important as it enables them to understand that what is going on in North America, is more to do with different Theological, Philosophical, economic and ethnic identities than simply an anachronistic bogeyman of skin colour.
These ethnic and class identities, whilst they can at times include ‘colour’ as Americans describe it (and that is incredibly incoherently) are decidedly more complex than skin colour.
Proper research shows various groups tangled up in group-sins, if there is such a thing, at different times and to various degrees. Oppressor and oppressed doesn’t run along the smooth lines of a 14 year old Marxists imagination. ( Oppression is more akin to what Solzenhitsyn spoke of, and he knew what he was talking about. Something that cuts across the human heart… We can see, with even a cursory glance at history, men and women will oppress other groups outside, within their own group, as well as to those in the past or in the future).
Likewise, historically colonial concerns, religious and ethnic interests have impacted on how various groups have behaved. This took on certain forms in the USA and very different forms elsewhere.
The British establishement in Ireland divided the country predominantly along sectarian Intra- Christian and national lines but also in other ways.
Yet, in other colonies and dominions such as India it was different, with divisions based on class and entirely different religions.
The Indians themselves had a caste system linked to forms of Sanatana Dharma and fought internally for as many reasons and there are gods almost.
The point? There’s not one bad guy or one group of bad guys who we can in truth blame for all the world’s ills. (This is a perennial temptation as Girard shows, but it is untrue and unjust, therefore anti-Christian.)
There is certainly a failure built into the American system, and arguably from the beginning, not in a crudely defined ‘whiteness’ but more malevolently in its system of ‘natural rights’ and the group identity politics which this lends itself to.
The very same culture, due to its roots in Christian heresy and in an attempt to immamentize the eschaton, is all the while devouring the U.S and world resources. It commonly acts to facilitate a simultaneous individualist consumerism because of its shoddy intellectual foundations and the religion of Americanism, which is individualist and sees community very differently from Christian communion. (See Wirzba again, as well as Fr Schmemann and Nikolai Berdyaev.)
These Theological and Philosophical mistakes create an Americanist religion, as Peter Leithart brilliantly illuminates, a religion which like any false worldview, has it’s good and bad points but is dangerous because of the radical claims it makes.
As an example- look at how the U.S.A obsesses over national unity and union at all costs. (David Cayley’s Myth of the Secular, Bill Kauffman and co).
This is a major problem.
Are we really going to lump Irish people, for just one example, in with other nations and people’s under the definition of ‘White’ and assume that just because of the colour of their skin that they must be privileged or have privileged systems in place? All according to crudely defined sets of culturally constructed concept with roots in modernity and postmodernity…If you do, then it will not be based on Christian truth but will stand against it.
We must not ignore Theology, history, existential differences between groups of white people, including those who genuinely were oppressors and oppressed.
The difference between the Irish and the English for example, and within that, different religious groups, classes and others, is wider than between certain Irish and Africans, or Indians for example. In fact that is an oppressor-oppressed binary in a more substantial sense than many others proffered and was justified for different reasons. That was another manifestation of sinfulness
To judge people based on the colour of their skin, disregarding their character, is the very definition of racism and historically illiterate.
For how the Irish and Indians inspired each other, see the influence of Irish nationalists on the likes of Sri Aurobindo and Gandhi. The Mahatma in turn had an influence on Dr Martin Luther King, who in a circular effect then had an influence on the north of Ireland in her civil rights marches which came within living memory for many of those people who’d be expected to apologise for the I white guilt or to check themselves. That’s insane.
(Paul Gottfried is particularly strong in showing how mixed the successes of civil rights were in the US, and his logic applies just as much to Ireland, particularly the north, which is rife with identity politics based on rights claims as a result of a fascinatingly parallel set of circumstances with African Americans.
zFor a history of these civil rights and their discontented, as well as human rights, good and bad- see John Milbank Theology and Social Theory.
For a more digestible and very critical perspective, see ‘Worshipping the State’ by Dr Ben Wiker.
Some of the language of these articles and videos on Ireland will be contested in referring to Irish as ‘slaves’ rather than indentured servants, say, or the famine as ‘genocide’ but that’s not my concern here. Anyway, the abuses are systematically undervalued when it comes to Ireland and this is not without political motivations.
I share these brief bits about Ireland to show that we have not had the same history as other ‘white’ people, even our closest geographical neighbours and should not be placed in a group, or have a quasi metaphysical identity forced upon us based on the colour of our skin.
From a Christian perspective, this is abhorrent, most importantly.
From an historical perspective it is depressingly laughable.
I focused on the U.S more than Canada because I know more about it but even those neighbours will have massive differences across layers of their lives.
I didn’t bring up Mexico but an interesting piece of history which lends itself to our theme is that the Mexicans and Irish, in many places, fought alongside one another in the Mexican American war. (See San Patricios battalion.)
I cannot forget as well the Native Americans, who are forgotten worse than anyone, and who are like the Irish in a number of ways. Here’s a silly airy fairy and new agey snippet, but not without relevance.
Jon E Lewis’ ‘Mammoth history of the Native Americans’ Cites first hand sources of officers comparing the Native Americans and Irish directly, their huts, livelihoods, etc
In conclusion then, I simply hope I have shown by gathering these resources that Christians should not bandy about terms of ‘white guilt’ or ‘privilege’ without thinking about what it means to be Christian, to be ‘Neither Greek nor Jew…’ and how are we to deal with sin. This cultural Marxist, postmodern, Americanist metanarratives simply won’t do and is not going to help us properly understand what it means to he in Christ. How are we to build up the Kingdom of Peace and harmony when we constantly divide ourselves according to dishonest categories, and in a manner ‘of the world?’
…Difference in Christ can be a bridge, even when in worldly terms it is often a barrier. Nihilism and getting rid of all difference is not the answer therefore, but living out our personal identities in Communion with God and one another is in Love, is. Let’s take our cue from Pentecost, not this Babelism.