Friday, March 1, 2013

The Power of Race in Interracial Churches

McKnight on Korie Edwards:
There are problems in American culture for interracial churches: since churches are disestablished, people can choose which church they attend. Since people are smitten by “homophily” (we choose people like us), we choose churches like us … and that means white folks choose white churches and African Americans choose African American churches.

What’s more: white people, or better yet white hegemony, are both structurally powerful and blind to what whiteness means. Whiteness is about power in the deep structures of society; race is about structured power.

Her contention is that interracial churches are more or less white-based churches and not genuinely interracial churches. They are merely a dish of white ice cream with sprinkles spread all over the surface. Whites have a structural advantage, there is white normativity, and white transparency (not seeing whiteness) means white normativity will prevail. This whiteness is inherent to interracial churches, so she argues.

African American churches have been places of refuge, so interracial churches — remember the element of choice — is not the choice of most African Americans, and those who do choose the interracial church are usually those who were reared in multi-cultural contexts.

Korie Edwards examines church worship, church participation in extra-church activities, in spiritual affirmative action, in racial identity, and in why folks attend interracial churches … her conclusions mesh across the board: interracial churches are shaped by whiteness and not genuine interracial elements.

What will those be?
For the rest of the article, and Scot McKnight's endorsement, enjoy it here.


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