So there has been a flurry, perhaps even a blizzard, of “whiteness” in my feed of late. I mean literally, the word “whiteness” keeps showing up in my feed. And so far, I’ve picked up on the fact that “whiteness” is a bad thing, but let me hasten to add that I have also been told that “whiteness” is not strictly synonymous with having white or light colored skin. It’s just the systems of prejudice and oppression that many people have built, most of whom had lesser amounts of melanin in their skin, systems that have harmed and hindered people of color, folks with generally more melanin in their skin.
Now, let me just say for the record, I’m completely fine with generalizations. The Bible is full of wonderful and helpful generalizations. Generalizations are helpful because they describe the world as it generally is. The book of Proverbs is full of generalizations about men, women, money, hard work, laziness, gossips, harlots, simpletons, liars, flatterers, and so on. Jesus generalized about the scribes and Pharisees and generally wrecked those titles from then until kingdom come, and Paul famously called the Cretans lying slow bellies (which is an insult that really should make its way back into pastoral vocabulary at some point), and Paul was surely aware there was at least one, hard working exception on that lazy island, but Paul knew that he knew what Paul was talking about.
Now, I don’t even mind racial or ethnic generalizations – so long as we agree to equal weights and measures. This doesn’t mean we have to insist on equal judgments or outcomes. I’m not saying that we have to say one nice thing and one mean thing for every ethnicity or skin color and keep everything equal that way. I mean come on, white men can’t jump. I’m only insisting that we measure our claims with the same measuring stick. You can’t use one measuring stick with Anglo-Saxons and a different one with Africans and another one with Mexicans. That’s what we would call unjust. True justice must always be measured out. What is sin and evil with Joe is sin and evil with Barack, and what is sin and evil with Hillary is sin and evil with Oprah. Am I woke yet?
So, I’m perfectly fine with generalizing about the wicked systems of oppression white people have built. Here let me help you list some. One of the most wicked systems of whiteness white people have built is the abortion industrial complex. Abortion is about the whitest thing in the history of wicked whiteness. A white woman named Margaret Sanger championed it, and it’s routinely carried out by people in white gowns in white rooms with white walls, where everything is sterilized white. And a bunch of white men in black robes have repeatedly insisted that this violent crime be protected. And the predominant victims of this massacre are brown and black babies. Talk about a system of oppression and hatred. Talk about whiteness.
Or here’s another one: our behemoth Nanny State, represented well now by a bunch of white buildings, where a bunch of white men and women have successfully scammed millions of Americans of all shades and hues into looking to them as providers, caregivers, masters, and saviors. If you can’t find a job, the people in the white buildings in Washington DC will help you and take care of you. If you’re old or disabled, the people in the white buildings will provide for you. In fact, the benevolent whiteness will provide daycare and educate your children and provide healthcare and regulate your use of electricity and your carbon footprint and count how many times you flush the toilet. This whiteness regulates what you do on your property, taxes you when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, when you rise up, and when you buy anything anywhere. But this white oppression did not begin in 1973, it stretches back to sinful and criminal acts of kidnapping, manstealing, and cruelty in the middle passage and on our soil. It includes vigilante acts of injustice as well as injustice motioned, seconded, and passed in legislatures, from Jim Crow to the New Deal. But we have exchanged one system of white oppression for another. One form of slavery for another. One form of cruelty for a far greater one.
But just weights and measures also means that it’s entirely fair game to talk about the curses of “blackness.” I’m talking here about the blackness of fatherless America that has left women and children utterly abandoned by men in a culture where over half of black pregnancies are out of wedlock. Or how about the blackness of rap and hip hop culture that celebrates violence, and the nearly ubiquitous sexualization and objectification of women? Can we call out the perverse blackness of the men who make bazillions of dollars calling women “bitches and hoes” and treating them like that? Or what about the blackness that makes it more likely that a black baby in New York City will be chopped in pieces in its mother’s womb than be born? Or how about the blackness that keeps voting for politicians who keep giving more authority and power to our White Masters in DC?
But as far as I can tell, this is not the sort of justice our benighted social justice warriors are interested in. They keep using that word – justice – and I’m still not sure they know what the word actually means. Justice means there’s a standard, a measuring rod, a balance, and it applies equally to everyone. That’s what equality used to mean, equality before the law, equal standards, equal weights and measures. Best I can tell, when they say “woke,” they mean putting their fingers on the scales in the name of making up for past injustices. But that is to say that they will get justice by means of injustice, which to be perfectly honest is one of the whitest things they could do. They are basically dishing out what’s been dished to them, returning evil for evil, and that is what we call bad. And this is why Christians going in for this social justice wokeness are betraying the gospel. Yes, I know that most of them are not openly denying the gospel. I know that most of them could pass their catechism quizzes on the facts of the gospel. But they are betraying the gospel by putting their fingers on the scale. When they refuse to dish out mercy, when they refuse to dish out forgiveness, when they demand another apology, more guilt, more groveling before the shrine to racialism, they are denying the gospel.
Were you sinned against by a brother or sister? Did they disrespect you or defraud you or worse? Did you witness a brother sinning or being sinned against? Then go to your brother, confront the sin, and deal with it. We are Christians. Don’t start a wokeness tour, don’t start a reparations discussion, don’t start a whiteness awareness council. Deal with sin up the middle, and repent of your racial hustling.
Yes, I know that the gospel has hands and feet and ministers healing grace to the hurting and oppressed. Yes, I know this nation has a horrific history of racial prejudice, racial injustice, racial animosity, and bloodshed. And this is why we need the gospel. We need the blood of Jesus. The gospel is the white hot wrath of a holy God poured out on our blackest sin in order to wash our hearts as white as snow, so that we might be as dark and lovely as the bride of Christ (Sol. 1:5). But Christians know this. They know they have been forgiven much. They know that they have been forgiven millions. Christians know that Jesus paid a debt they could never pay. And now some of them are talking about reparations. Christians know that they have been washed clean by the blood of Christ and now they are talking about this “whiteness,” this corporate guilt that you can’t just repent of and repudiate and be set free from.
This is the insanity. The sadness of this woke gospel is that it is just more of the disease. This wokeness is just more whiteness. Welcome to the solutions of sinners, the treatment of the world; we’ll take all your money, your time, your energy and you’ll be just as sick as when you arrived. Welcome to your new master, just like the old master, just with a new name. We call your chains free-at-last, and that crushed-spirit malaise we call woke.
Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash
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