The unbearable whiteness of being

I thought up this post title as an attempt at a witticism, but now face the harder part of actually writing something substantial or relevant about whiteness, a serious subject. If you don’t get the humor, think of a movie with a slightly different title from the 90s starring Daniel Day-Lewis, which in turn is based on a novel, I believe.

Anyway, the thought of whiteness came to me in two very different and weird ways. First, I really like dark mode on my devices, and wished there was a way to enforce dark mode on websites I regularly use. (The worst offender? The New York Times, which is blindingly, unbearably white, always and everywhere.) Then I discovered there is a Safari extension that enforces dark mode, giving me full control, and I’ve been enjoying the change this brings about in my reading experience on the web.

Second, as much as I try to avoid any and all photos relating to the current U.S. president and his administration, it is pretty much an impossible task. So as I view them without really wanting to, all I can see are white, white, white, white, white people everywhere, at all times. White people with privilege. Angry, fearful white people who believe in something that doesn’t exist, who believe in a charlatan.

Yes, this assessment is harsh, and perhaps overly broad. And after all, I am a white person myself. However, I strongly believe in the joy and power of diversity that God Himself created and loves more than we can ever imagine. We are equal in His sight and we are to enjoy and reflect differences, not only in skin color, but in other ways as well. This truth is what makes the current, very white White House and administration unbearable to me.

Interestingly, graduate studies in theology have helped open my eyes to the problem of whiteness in new ways. As I read about black and brown theology, I see new insights into the prevalence of whiteness. This does not mean that I agree with everything expressed by black and brown theologians (just as in the same way I do not always agree with white theologians), but their writings bring much needed enrichment and dimension to understanding who God is and how He works and makes Himself known.

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