Thoughts from a Cultural Ministry Advocate

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I must admit I’ve spent more time pondering this question than I have meeting with my Caucasian brothers and sisters. Yet I’ve come to believe that the Caucasian caucus has an imperative role to play in MBMM. Our brothers and sisters of color will have more space to find empowerment, if we white folks would learn to set down our white privilege. I know that sometimes it’s tough to see ourselves as privileged. Your Baptist church might be the one with the biggest financial struggles in town. And your Baptist polity means all the people are in charge which makes the idea of privilege murky, at least when the pastor (or lay leader) is having a bad day.

I have a book to recommend to my Euro-American brothers and sisters: Waking Up White by Debby Irving. In her memoir she shares her realization of her claim to white privilege and offers discussion points for others to chime in as we share our stories as well. Our practice of white privilege can be subtle. It happens when we sense that our culture is “normal” and others need to adapt to our way. We use the metaphor of the melting pot; everyone jumps in to melt down to be like white folks. A better metaphor of the United States might be a tossed salad – each culture keeps it’s own identity, like a tomato or cucumber or plantain; but together we have a united identity, like a salad.

I plan to begin a series of conversations about Waking Up White this Fall. If you are interested, please contact me.