I watched a video last week and it was the closest I ever came to breaking my phone in anger. Pastor Louie Giglio was having a discussion with Christian artist Lecrae and the CEO of Chick-Fil-A. Pastor Giglio said that white people were having issues with the term white privilege being used to describe the advantages they gain from being white in a racist society. He suggested that instead, we could call it “white blessing.” The blessing is the slavery that black people endured that allowed white people to enjoy their privileged existence.
This is without a doubt one of the dumbest things I have ever had the displeasure of hearing. Obviously, people were as dumbfounded as I was, and Pastor Giglio has since apologized. I’ve been giving this a lot of thought, and it occurred to me that some white people will never understand their privilege because they choose not to see it. It works for them, and that’s all they need to know. But I began to think about how we as Christians use the term blessing.
Slave owners were God-fearing, church people. The church was a huge part of the culture in the South and the Bible was used to support the institution of slavery. White people truly believed that it was their birthright to enslave and tame the wild savages from the dark continent. How many plantation owners were made rich off the backs of their slaves? I’m sure people looked at them and said wow they’re blessed. I’m sure they agreed that they were blessed, meanwhile, their blessings came at the exploitation of an entire group of people.
Are you truly blessed if your blessings come from the pain of others? No, I don’t think you are. In the Bible, the 10 beatitudes list ways that you can be blessed such as Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. The Bible recounts multiple times when Jesus says that it will be the poor who inherit the Kingdom of heaven. As humans, we constantly twist the Bible to fit our needs. As Christians, we wonder why people turn away from the faith.
After Pastor Giglio apologized, Black people started asking for us to give him grace because Jesus asks us to give Grace. True, the Bible does ask us to give grace but it also asks us to be humble. There is nothing humble about being so uncomfortable with your privilege that you can’t even stand hearing the phrase. We also tend to ask black people to forgive but have a hard time holding white people accountable for their actions. If you want forgiveness I suggest you ask the Lord.
I read a post online that said to those who are accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression. I talked about the church’s response to racism a few weeks ago, and honestly, this video and the response does not make me feel hopeful for the future. If we want there to be lasting change around racism, we must accept being uncomfortable. Racism is a spirit that is meant to divide us and keep all of us from truly experiencing everything that God has for us. Again, the church should be at the forefront of this movement, not making it worse.