I wake up to messages on social media from other Christians calling me a racist, communist, false teacher. Such messages have become as ordinary as my cup of coffee before morning prayer. I receive them because part of my work as a Christian theologian addresses issues of systemic injustice. I never imagined such work would be controversial. Racism — personal and societal — still affects the lives of people of color in the United States. Part of the Christian witness involves addressing this among a host of other maladies.
Nearly every Christian of color I know who addresses these issues has been subject to similar attacks, no matter the nuance of our argumentation or the sources we cite. I have been accused of believing that all white people are irredeemably racist and of seeing humans as only victims or oppressors. None of this is true, but that does not seem to matter. They call us “woke,” but the disdain with which they use that word makes it feel like a stand-in for deeper and more cutting insults.
I remain puzzled as to why discussions of racism and injustice stir up so much venom from fellow believers. They do not simply disagree. They are angry. Despite this hysteria, there is simply no theological or historical reason for Christians to hesitate over acknowledging structural racism.
When people point out bias or racism in structures (health care, housing, policing, employment practices), they are engaging in the most Christian of practices: naming and resisting sins, personal and collective.
“When people point out bias or racism in structures (health care, housing, policing, employment practices), they are engaging in the most Christian of practices: naming and resisting sins, personal and collective,” writes @esaumccaulley. https://t.co/ioIorIxtGb
— New York Times Opinion (@nytopinion) July 18, 2021