Megachurch Pastor Sorry He Tried To Replace 'White Privilege' With 'White Blessing'
Louis Giglio, an Atlanta megachurch pastor who was once supposed to give the benediction at Barack Obama's inauguration but then had to bow out after everyone found out he had many horrific things to say about gay people, sat down with another noted homophobe, Chik-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy, and Christian rapper Lecrae to have "an open and honest conversation around how racism has plagued our city for generations, and the steps we can all take to confront it head-on in our church, our neighborhoods, and our hearts."
It did not go well.
During this open and honest conversation, Giglio suggested that one way to combat people's resistance to learning about white privilege was to call it "white blessing" instead, and then proceeded to prove that he has absolutely no idea what the concept of "white privilege" even is.
Pastor Louie Giglio, rapper Lecrae and Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy "had an honest conversation about race and the Chu… https://t.co/bmX9QaQ7Ed— Nicola A. Menzie (@Nicola A. Menzie) 1592268618.0
"I feel like on the inside of the church we're fighting this historical context you talk about. In other words, we love the blessing of the cross but we don't love to sit in it and realize this is what God's asking me to do, to die to myself, and live for him, whatever context that's going to look like for me. But I want to flip that upside down because I think the other side of it is true with our nation's history. We understand the curse that was slavery, white people do, and we say 'that was bad,' but we miss the blessingof slavery that it actually built up the framework for the world that white people live in and lived in."
Ah, yes. The blessing of slavery.
"And so a lot of people call this 'white privilege' and when you say those two words it's like a fuse goes off for a lot of white people because they don't want somebody telling them to check their privilege. I know that you and I both have struggled in these days with 'hey if the phrase is the trip up, let's get over the phrase and let's get down to the heart, let's get down to what then do you want to call it,' and I think maybe a great thing for me is to call it 'white blessing.' That I'm living in the blessing of the curse that happened generationally that allowed me to grow up in Atlanta."
Oooh. No. Let's not do that.
Giglio has since apologized and yet still does not quite seem to get it.
@spulliam not seeking to refer to slavery as blessing-but that we are privileged because of the curse of slavery. I… https://t.co/vp01SMy6uT— Louie Giglio (@Louie Giglio) 1592278048.0
But let's talk about that "white blessing" thing.
Honestly, I've kind of had it with people who claim they need to be marketed to as if political, economic, and sociological concepts and ideas are fucking Doritos. Like, "Hmmm ... I agree with the things you say you want to do when you say you want to 'defund the police' but that phrase is just too radical for me! Can't we call it something less scary sounding? Like Nacho Cheesier Police?"
Let me be clear, using the example that everyone loves to use. Everyone who decided that the estate tax was bad because Republicans started calling it a "death tax" was an absolute moron who could have just as easily been convinced of that without the rebrand. It's not the term itself that convinced them, but that they found power and moral certitude in it. There's no power in a rebrand if the product itself is lacking. Just ask New Coke.
Anyone who "bristles" upon hearing the term "white privilege" is not going to magically become more amenable to what it actually means because we start calling it "supercalifragilisticexpialadocious" or "end table" or "Frank." Because then, inevitably, it will be something else that will make them feel bad and we will have to start all over again.
In other words ... it's a trap.
There's no super nice way of putting "We live in a racist country where being a white person makes everything easier." You cannot coddle racist people into not being racist. Racist people just want everyone else to think they can be coddled into not being racist, not because they don't want to be racist but because they want some plausible deniability as to whether they are complete assholes and because they like being coddled. Being coddled is the thing that reassures them that they still have hand.
Aversion to terminology is nothing but an excuse for people to do exactly what they were going to do and think exactly what they were going to think in the first place.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse