Christianity is neither white, nor is it a White religion, nor did it originate from White people, yet it has been dominated by White thought, White culture, White bodies and White voices.
The carnal bent of human nature to dominate does not reveal itself only in male pride and superiority, but also in ethnic pride and superiority.
The very same systems and school of thought that drive gender inequality are the same systems and schools of thought that drive ethnic dominance and specifically, White dominance.
The acceptability and preference of White bodies and White spaces is clearly manifested in the way White/Western thought dominates the conversation on human rights and gender equality.
White privilege goes beyond privilege of the White male. It encompasses privilege of the White body, spaces and voices over Colored bodies, spaces and voices.
Colored bodies, spaces and voices are only as acceptable as White bodies, spaces and voices allow or give permission for them to be. Colored bodies, voices and spaces always have to stage resistance and protests in order to be heard and represented.
Whereas this dynamic is not new, but is the same dynamic that operates in the gender equality conversations, it is less perceptible to the White gender equality advocates. Rather, there’s a blindness to the privilege of their White bodies, voices and spaces and instead an assumption that ‘we’re all (colored and Whites) good’ and all on the same page. But we’re not.
If we’re all on the same page, there would be as many Colored bodies, voices and spaces in the conversation of Christianity and gender equality as there are White bodies, voices and spaces (after all, there are just as many Colored Christians as there are Whites!).
More importantly, if we’re all on the same page, there would be the integration of Colored thought, culture and perception of gender equality.
Western thought and Western dominance has systematically replaced Christianity in terms of interpretation, practice and thought. So that if the interpretation, practice and thought of Christianity is not White, it’s not right either. But Christianity is NOT a White religion!
Rather, Christianity is a religion that encompasses diverse cultures, bodies, spaces and thought, so why is it only being represented, communicated, heard, and interpreted by and through Western bodies, thoughts and culture?
Where is the diversity of voices, bodies, and spaces that represent ‘all nations, tribes and tongues’ of the Kingdom of our God? Why are they submerged under White nations, tribes and tongues?
Where Christianity goes, there our faith will follow and Christianity has followed Western prejudice rather than the Man Jesus, and this is reflected in our advocacy for biblical gender equality.
Our advocacy does not incorporate, utilize and celebrate non-Western voices. Rather than have the plethora of nations, voices and thoughts, our selective processes of advocacy are ‘White.’
Just like the selective processes of leadership has been male and male voices carry more weight than female voices, so that a woman saying something is not heard, except it is repeated by a man, similarly, a person of color advocating gender equality is not heard, except what he or she says is repeated by a White person.
Yet, the very Scripture by which we advocate gender equality, Galatians 3:28, begins by decrying this ethnic preference, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile….”
It is my argument today, that rather than focus only on “there is neither male nor female” or “neither slave nor free,” it is time we also focus on the very beginning “there is neither Jew nor Gentile” and erase the dominance of and preference for a particular ethnic style, because except we erase the ethnic preferences, the advocacy for gender equality will be lopsided, tipping in favor of the preferred ethnicities.
We can do this by equally promoting and effectively representing all people groups rather than just one group of people because Christianity is about people and their God!…
We can do this by Whites being ‘part’ rather than the driving force of the conversations propagated and led by people of Color…
We can do this by Whites disciplining their minds and thoughts to ’embrace’ (welcome, incorporate, accept, affirm and make equal space for) the unfamiliar non-Western voices and styles of communication and gender equality.
We can do this by applying the same rules by which we advocate gender equality to advocating ethnic equality…
We can do this by deliberately incorporating more people of color voices, thoughts and styles into the gender equality conversation than we do now…
We (Whites and Coloreds) can do this by hearing, listening and responding when a woman or person of color speaks and or advocates gender equality, rather than ‘ignore’ and be deaf to their voices and only ‘hear’ when their words and advocacy are spoken by White bodies, in White spaces.
After years of being twisted and turned by both male (White and Colored) and White dominated church and spaces, I am thankful to have found and be part of a worshiping community that demonstrates that Christianity is neither a male thing, nor is it a White religion. They do this by embracing, hearing, supporting (spiritually, emotionally and financially), standing with, affirming and incorporating non-White male and female voices, thoughts, bodies and spaces into leadership, worship and Christian culture. More Christian communities and gender equality advocacy groups need to do the same.