I recently returned with my friend, Chris, from the PC(USA) multicultural conference. Chris has already posted a good summary and reflection on the conference on his blog, so I’m not going to bother rewriting what he’s already done a fine job doing.
I do though, want to reflect on what it means to be white/Euro-American. Honestly, I’ve never really thought about until this conference when Rev. Jin Kim of Church of All Nations challenged Chris and I to do so. Something that I’ve been learning from my Asian friends over the past year or so is the importance and significance of communal identity. As Euro-Americans, our culture is so terribly individualistic that we have no understanding of corporate identity, corporate sin, or even ethnic heritage. As I’ve been reflecting on this for a few days, I’ve been feeling the need to confess and repent, and while a don’t consider a blog post to be a valid Christian form of confession, I nevertheless want to write out what I feel I need to confess as a white male:
I confess that I’ve inherited and benefited from a legacy of oppression. I’ve benefited from a history of stolen land and slave labor solely because of the color of my skin. I’ve also received unjust privilege because of my gender, and have contributed to the unjust suffering of minorities in America and the poor across the world by virtue of the food I eat, the clothes I wear, and other ways that I’m probably completely unaware of. I confess that, until recently, I either didn’t care, ignored facts, or rationalized my way into denying the sin of my people. (And I could easily go on…)
I’d like to say that I repent of this, but sadly I’m not sure if I know at this point what genuine repentance looks like in this case. How does an individual repent of corporate sin? In concrete terms, as I turn away from the above what am I turning to? How do I completely crucify my ‘white privilege’ and to what am I raised? (And I could easily go on…)