We were given the prompt to reflect on how white supremacy has hurt us as white folks. Since then, it’s been an ongoing point of reflection. In the wake of the terrorist attack in my hometown, it’s a question and topic that white folks are beginning to understand that they need to grapple with.
So, How has white supremacy hurt me?
In the most fundamental way, white supremacy has taught me to fear my neighbor through economic anxiety. The capitalist myth of scarcity demands that I must conquer and dominate space and resources, lest I be conquered and dominated. Such lines of thought are blatantly anti-Christ. It has taught me to fear my neighbors because of their skin color, religion, gender and sexual identity, and socioeconomic status. Further, it promotes fear or skepticism of anyone who is not myself. It’s taught me that all others are a threat to my well-being (that is, my resources).
This photo was taken at a “White Lives Matter” rally in 2016.
This is a lie.
White supremacy favors efficiency and emotional absence (though sometimes it tries to pretend otherwise) over consensus and presence. It believes that we cannot handle Beloved Community and the Kin-Dom of God. It praises competition as the pinnacle of human interaction.
This is a lie.
White supremacy insists that I am more qualified, entitled, and valuable than others based on my (relatively recent) genetic history. It has taught me that I should be front-and-center to the solutions to problems that those like me created and I help perpetuate—merely by my presence. It has taught me that everyone needs to speak to me nicely and respectfully, no matter what. It’s taught me that my feelings are the center of the movement for racial justice.
These are lies.
It has taught me that I can “be all that (I) can be,” especially as long as it fits within the imperial paradigm. It has taught me that I can actually be whatever I want to be, regardless of the reality or its effects on those that white supremacy degrades with precision.
And in the Church, white supremacy prompts me to rigidly adhere to a theology of providence, allowing me to make God in my own image and feel a sense of control. Combined with the aforementioned myth of scarcity, it demands that we colonize God, creating a deity of anxious, white men. We then strive to project that on people of color, women, and sexual and gender minorities. Such theology taught me that Jesus affirmed (and affirms) these sentiments and ideas. It taught me that Jesus was a white male with the same fears and skepticisms that I have. It taught me that these were his ideas. It taught and continues to teach that Jesus was in favor of the very powers he opposed—the very powers that killed him.
These are lies.
White supremacy is a lie. It prompts us to indulge the theologically, socially, and economically unjustifiable. It is the lie at the core of our national ideology and (sub)consciousness. It is a corrosiveness that will kill us all.
It is killing us all.
Jordan Leahy (Lay-Hee) lives in Charlottesville, VA with his spouse, Lindsey and daughter, Ruby Day. He’s into Jesus, coffee & beer, books & music, and being outside exploring with his family. Despite his better judgment, he maintains a deep love of hockey and the Philadelphia Flyers. Follow Jordan on Twitter @jLeahy932.