I am in a bad break-up with my DMs.
Well, actually, I am in a bad-breakup with the white Christian racists in my DMs.
Recently, my DMs have been flooded with everything from feigned concern from white high school acquaintances that stopped talking to me nine years ago, to reminders from Christians that talking about racism makes racism worse and that I am going to hell, to a three-page single-spaced essay from a Black conservative reminding me that I am the real slave because…. everything. Because we had a Black president. Because we have opportunities. Because we are no longer being hunted and lynched by the KKK. Because I have a “victim mentality.” Because there is no more racism. Because Christian people can’t be racist. As proof as to how wrong I have been sent videos of other white people (and hey, even an alt-right pundit) and Candace Owens and Kanye saying pretty much the same thing. I’m consistently called fam and reminded that we are all God’s children. We are all connected.
All skinfolk are not kinfolk.
But, God just wants us to be happy. Right?
Insert eye-roll. Because whose happiness are we talking about?
One person suggested that I focus on love and light. Another person suggested that I take a break from social media and the news. One person suggested I start watching Fox for some real news. Another sent me information about how Black on Black crime is higher than police brutality. Another suggested that I stop being so angry and that they have found reading the Bible to be helpful as well as doing yoga.
In closing, the Christians will write ‘In Christ.’ Others will say, “Love.” And, some just say what they mean and write F*** you.
Somebody needs to stop telling Christians that talking about race is so divisive that anyone who dares prophesy or testify about the harms of racism is going to hell.
This ideology is fundamentally dangerous and upholds and perpetuates white supremacy.
Think about it.
If white Christian churches and the leaders do not have a deep desire to unlearn, unpack, and dismantle white supremacy and oppression, and if they cannot speak with nuance, and complexity about racism and white supremacy, then what systems and structures are they upholding? What environments are they creating? How are they differentiating their mission work from colonization? What framework are they using when deciding on the curriculum for Sunday School or second-hour learning?
That’s why we see things like “Three Reasons Why Christians Should Reject #BlackLivesMatter” or, “A Black woman sat on an L.A church Lawn. Here’s what happened.” It’s why many churches perpetuate and endorse colorblind ideologies and the #alllivesmatter movement. It’s why you see white insta-educators writing about racism for the first time, and when white rage shows up (because it always does) they apologize and then blame it on Black people (usually Black women). It’s why megachurch pastor Loui Giglio claimed that slavery was a “white blessing.” Or, why Pentecostal megachurch pastor Rod Parsley framed racism as America’s ‘birth defect,” and falsely claimed that all founders freed their slaves. Note that both pastors have since recanted.
But these things happen precisely because the white Christian church hasn’t spent time and energy in investing in leaders that value and are committed to diversity and showing up as allies and co-conspirators.
It’s why Christians call me the devil and remind me that they are praying for my soul.
It’s why white Christians don’t reply #alllivesmatter to the #bluelivesmatter movement.
It’s why no one calls Black anger prophetic rage. Because to do so would be to justify it. And to justify it would imply action. And action takes knowledge and commitment. And an interrogation of who is historically considered a truth-teller.
I am an angry Black woman. I am angry at injustice. I am angry at racism. I am angry at systems and structures which continually seek to dehumanize people in the global majority.
I am angry at churches that continue to remain complicit in supremacist cultures and continue to perpetuate the Doctrine of Discovery. I am angry at the people that feel so entitled to come into my DMs and tell me that I am going to hell because I am naming racism. I am angry at the white Christians that tell me just to be happy because #loveandlight.
Last year, I went to an immigration volunteer training event put on by a local church group. When I got there, I quickly realized that not only was I the only Black person, but I was also the youngest by easily 30 years. At the door of the event, I was quickly informed that the clinic would start in an hour and to come back then. Embarrassed, I whispered that I was there for the training, not as a client. The older white woman quickly pointed to a chair in the room and busied herself in her purse.
I spoke about this weird interaction with my friends and realized that many of them had had similar interactions when they attended training for church volunteer groups. Others told me that they would’ve just refused to go to training. Another told me that she has had this experience multiple times.
Here’s what I know: when white churches refuse to divest from white supremacy and systems of oppression, they will inherently perpetuate systems of colonization and whiteness which continue the dehumanization of people in the global majority.
And, until white churches start to rigorously invest in antiracism, divest from whiteness, and spend considerable time, and energy looking at both the macro and micro ways in which they have remained complicit in systems of oppression, nothing will change.
Maybe instead of telling white churches that they are meant to lead this movement, we should start asking why they think they are equipped to. This is not to say that white churches are absolved from doing the work, but what would it look like if they #passedthemic and stayed out of Black people’s DMs?
What would it look like if they invested in that, oh I don’t know, love their neighbor stuff by first investing and getting to know their neighbor?