Black-on black violence: Pastor Voddie Baucham’s assault on black people

So God created human beings in his own image. Genesis 1:27

As black evangelical leaders, we believe it is important to respond to The Gospel Coalition’s publishing of Pastor Voddie Baucham’s Thoughts on Ferguson, a perspective we deem to be extremely anti-black. First, we condemn The Gospel Coalition’s editorial leadership for its moral and pastoral failure in publishing such an anti-black viewpoint. No Christian organization should ever participate in dishonoring the image of God in black people, especially at a time when so many black Americans are in pain. Second, we lament the internalized anti-black racism that Pastor Voddie conveyed in his article and the fact that it has been used to further support White-on-Black violence among Christians. Here, we offer a different perspective, one that we believe honors the image of God in black people. Continue Reading

Farewell, StrongBlackWoman

Ask anyone – Black or White, male or female – to describe Black women and the most common answer is likely to be strong. The StrongBlackWoman is a legendary figure, typified by extraordinary capacities for caregiving and for suffering without complaint. She is a cultural myth that defines – and confines – ways of being in the world for women of African descent…[This] manifestation of strength that has become normative for Black women is uniquely racialized and gendered. Strong is a racial-gender codeword. It is verbal and mental shorthand for the three core features of the StrongBlackWoman – caregiving, independence, and emotional strength/regulation…The StrongBlackWoman possesses each of these characteristics to such an excessive degree that it interferes significantly with her physical health, her emotional and spiritual well-being, and her relationships. – Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes[i] Continue Reading

Redeeming privilege: How privileged people can work for justice

In the wake of the Zimmerman verdict, I’ve been encouraged by the number of privileged folks who have committed themselves to listening well. But people are also looking for practical things they can do to support racial, gender and economic justice efforts. So, I asked reader Louisa Davis to share a few of the things she’s learned to do in the 30+ years she’s been working for justice as a privileged person. Louisa’s list is not a checklist or litmus test designed to engender shame. Rather, I hope it will inspire those of us who are privileged to think about the practical things we can do in our respective communities. Continue Reading

Kids aren’t colorblind. Your conversations with them shouldn’t be either.

One of the most dramatic moments in Losing Isaiah, a film about a socio-economically oppressed black child who is adopted by a well-off white family, occurs when Isaiah’s older, adopted sister places her white hand next to his brown hand and kindly asks him how their two hands differ. Bravo to the sister for even broaching the topic of race with little Isaiah. If she were a real person (as a opposed to a fictional Hollywood character), she’d be in the minority; a 2007 study found that nonwhite parents are about three times more likely to talk about race with their kids than white parents.[i]My sense is that many adults like to think that young kids are naturally “colorblind” and that pointing out and discussing racial distinctions with kids will somehow bias them. As a result, they just don’t talk about race with the kids they know. In some ways, this is a noble and hopeful approach – but unfortunately it’s misguided. Kids aren’t colorblind. Continue Reading