Thank you.
Susan Gillespie
21

This is where it gets difficult.

The unfortunate reality is that black folk often do have a much better sense of white thought and white sensibilities.

Our education system is steeped in white normativity. We know who George Washington is, but many of us have no clue who Ella baker and Fannie Lou hamer are. We know the works of Shakespeare but are often denied access to James Baldwin and Toni Morrison. I bring this up to say that blacks are trained in whiteness, and then have to learn how to balance that white knowledge with the sociopolitical effects of blackness.

We read white texts. We learn white economic structures, and we are introduced to white(washed) thinkers. The unfortunate reality is that I know John Calvin and Martin Luther, I’m aware of John Wesley and jonathan Edwards, but it is incredibly easy to be unaware of James cone and Lemuel Haynes, or Albert cleage and William jones.

No, I don’t purport to know how whites think — you’re right; I’m not white. But I am incredibly aware of how many white people thought. And this awareness speaks to what du bois called double consciousness.

And the conundrum of being invited to a conversation where you have to listen first, only to have your thoughts invalidated or your speech ridiculed is a conundrum black folk live every. Single. Day. We need only look at Alton sterling, who lost his life, only to be vilified in death.

And Christians have debated over who’s right and who’s wrong for centuries. The reformation was one pivotal moment wherein some Christians deemed other Christians the enemy — that’s why new denominations sprung up. The question isn’t whether or not disagreement occurs, but rather how one handles it. And doubling down against a group of people who consistently live struggle on a daily basis seems a bit off.