“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”- John 1:14, 16-17, NIV
I didn’t mumble a single word when the truth about Paula Deen’s white supremacist desires were made public, and BIG SURPRISE, she’s making a comeback. Real. Shocker. I really don’t bother with private individual’s racism because these conversations ultimately derail conversations about the history of white supremacy as a worldwide system. Color me shocked once more when GQ Magazine asks a 67 year old conservative patriarch what he thought was sinful. Really? Is GQ Magazine replacing Christianity Today? Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if this whole controversy was cooked up to get even higher ratings for A&E as well as further entrench the white conservative evangelical base as a means of profit. Disaster is always bound to happen when religious movements are strictly viewed as people groups to be marketed to.
The interview and the consequences of Phil Robertson’s comments are not the product of a First Amendment debate; this is a battle created for and by the Free Market. Social conservatives love free market capitalism except when things don’t go their way, sorta like “Christian movies.” What I find appalling is that white evangelical Christians want to claim all of these celebrities out in the “secular” for themselves, the Sarah Palin’s, Phil Robertson’s and Paula Deen’s, but they do not want to take ownership of these celebrity’s racist comments. I can understand why persons come to reject Christianity in this age, (let’s put aside sexual ethics for a second), when all of these outspoken representatives of KKKristianity continue to perpetuate the white supremacist mythology. KKKristianity in the eyes of outsiders seems less like a group of followers of Jesus who love our neighbors as ourselves as they are more in love with the idea of swimming in cultural ignorance.
There is absolutely no excuse that appeals to folksy political incorrectness and whitewashed distortions of history should be tolerated. Contrary to popular defenses of him, Phil Robertson is not some country bumpkin who happened to make it rich like The Beverly Hillbillies. To denigrate Robertson’s intelligence in assuming the worst, is to essentialize not only poor white persons who live in the swamplands, but also to ignore the fact that he has his Master’s in Education from Louisiana Tech. Educated, well-meaning people from all different backgrounds are capable of holding onto white supremacist religions and tellings of history. One example of this is Patheos religious blogging site. Supposedly the concept is to be progressive, with a site “Hosting the Conversation” but, they have TWO (YES TWO YA’LL) channels for white Conservative Christians (Family and Evangelical), and there are barely any bloggers of Color; one could probably count that number on one hand [see FOOTNOTE 1]. See, the myth is that Blacks have nothing value to contribute to culture because we are lazy and dependent by nature.
Going back to Phil Robertson’s quote:
“I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
PRE-ENTITLEMENT AND PRE-WELFARE. Okay a little bit of a history and politics lessons, sir, “entitlements” have been around since the beginning of the Republic. Ever heard of the 3/5th Compromise? Secondly, during Jim and Jane Crow segregation, whites stole money from black people in the form of Social Security (among other things), taking our tax dollars and benefitting from “separate but equal.” The idea that blacks are lazy is once again preached by a white Christian celebrity from his bully pulpit. Nothing new to see here. EXCEPT, he also had to add during Jim and Jane Crow segregation, Black people were happy and no one was singing the blues. EXCEPT for the fact that black people invented the blues during the time of legal segregation because life was miserable. Blacks haven’t done anything for American society EXCEPT build it with their bare hands and scarred backs.[see FOOTNOTE 2].
The notion that black people are not people to be valued is a deeply held belief in a graceless, white supremacist society. The God of pop culture Kkkristianity is a White Supremacist. People of Color, in general, are not shown the same grace that they are expected to give others. Anti-Blackness, however, is the very air we breathe. Black people are viewed as being on the bottom rung of our culture, depraved, going without intelligence or will-power. What is grace in a world where white Christians STAN for Saint George Zimmerman while villifying Trayvon Martin as a thug? What is grace where Renisha McBride is derided as a drunk? What is grace in a world where rape and murder victim Dion Payne has his humanity called into question because he made a few bad decisions while he was young?
But meanwhile, there are calls for grace for Hugo Schwyzer and CJ Mahaney for preying on women and children. But what is grace in a White Supremacist society? In the Christian tradition, grace is the “unmerited [unearned] favor of God” given to us, but grace in the DisUnited States of Amerikkka means for people to stop criticizing persons in prominent roles, and allow these persons in power to continue to be in positions of power after they have said, “I’m Sorry.” Apologies replace genuine repentance. White supremacist, colonial lies remain in the stead of truth.
White Supremacist Gods have cheap grace and oppression as their telos. As a Christian anti-Racist, I look to Scripture where God elects to exist in the meatsuit of a human being in the first century. An anti-racist Incarnational theology means a complete rejection of white supremacy’s cheap grace. In the Gospel of John, as I cited, there is not severance of truth from grace. As such, Truth and Grace remain an integral part of each other. Truthfulness is lifted up along with Grace. In practical terms, grace for an anti-racist praxis means everyone regardless of race, nationality, or ethnic background is given the freedom to express who they are as infinitely valuable planetary creatures. Truth as an anti-racist practice means persons are free to tell the truth in community, as well as resist and debunk white supremacist lies like the ones Phil Robertson is spreading.
FOOTNOTE 1: Let’s not forget about Patheos’ gender problem as well. A good friend of mine was placed in the Patheos Spirituality channel although she is a Christian. The reason? She’s not a DudeBro.
FOOTNOTE 2: If you do not like the fact your country was built by black people, I suggest you leave. That’s my answer to anti-black racism.