Rev. Dr. Thandeka on white privilege

In colonial Virginia, there was a law that white indentured servants could not be stripped naked and whipped.  They could be whipped while fully clothed, but only black servants and slaves could be whipped naked.  So the white servants enjoyed “white privilege.”

Rev. Dr. Thandeka

The Rev. Dr. Thandeka, a Unitarian Universalist theologian, says this is an example of how the idea of “white privilege” is used to persuade white people to accept being exploited and abused.

She wrote a series of posts (linked below) on her web log about how the idea of white privilege has been used through American history to divide poor black and white people and maintain the status quo.

She questioned the value of mainstream Christian churches trying to promote racial equality by means of instilling white guilt.  As an alternative, she proposed certain spiritual practices to help people of all colors better understand their common humanity.

I think she’s basically right.  Her analysis is considerably oversimplified, but when you’re stating your case in just a few paragraphs, you can’t always make fine distinctions.   I think her main points are important and true, and deserve to be more widely discussed.

The name Thandeka, which means “beloved” in the Xhosa language, was given her by Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa in 1984.

Here are links to her blog posts.  I hope you are not offended by her word choices, which are used to make a point.

Today’s White Niggers

by Rev. Dr. Thandeka.

1,  The N-Word Redefined.

2.  “White-Skin Privilege” Exposed.

3.  White Suicide.

4.  The White Skin Privilege Scam in the North.

5.  The Philadelphia Convention of 1787: the Coup.

6.  Poor Whites as Cannon Fodder for the Slave Powers.

7.  White Niggers and the Tea Party Religion.

8.  Why White Niggers Are Abandoning Conservative and Mainline Churches.

9.  The Luminous Darkness.

10.  Love Beyond Belief.

Niggers of All Colors, Unite!

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3 Responses to “Rev. Dr. Thandeka on white privilege”

  1. silverapplequeen Says:

    Reblogged this on silverapplequeen and commented:
    Read all 10 parts. It’s a long read but worth it.


  2. Fred (Au Naturel) Says:

    We humans love to divide ourselves up by completely artificial categories just so we can be the ingroup and the other guys are the outer group. Race doesn’t exist in nature but we find slight phenotypical variations in local populations and try to make them into something important, calling it a “race”. Or who happens to live on either side of a line. Or what theology one happens to subscribe to. Or what your great great grandpappy did.

    We will never solve these problems because people are unwilling to let go of the past. The forces that keep people oppressed today are much deeper than the accident of skin color.

    Sometimes humans just disgust me.


  3. Keni Brayton Cox Says:

    Dr. Thandeka’s example of “white privilege” in the colonies (protection from being whipped naked) is an early example of
    the ways white landowners built a wedge between black and white laborers. A united labor force was a threat to their own privilege and profit. As it would be today.


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