The United Church of Christ (UCC), a major mainline Protestant denomination, published a Facebook post telling all whites that they are racist against non-whites, no matter what they do.
An infographic posted to the church’s Facebook page over the weekend gives white people a series of 10 tips on how to cope with their white privilege. Suggestions include “Listen when people call you on your microaggressions” and “Stop contributing to gentrification.”
But the tenth suggestion is the most notable one, telling white readers to “Recognize that you’re still racist. No matter what.”
The content of the infographic is taken from a June 1 blog post by Marchaé Grair, a social media associate for the UCC and an editor of the church’s New Sacred blog. In the blog post, Grair elaborates on the claim that whites are racist no matter what.
“White people always benefit from institutionalized racism, no matter how anti-racist your ideologies may be,” Grair says. “You can’t disconnect yourself completely from the racism from which you benefit, and recognizing that is a large step in rejecting white privilege.”
Grair’s post has provoked a wave of hostile comments on both Facebook and New Sacred, and she commented on Twitter that her job as social media associate is to aggressively delete many comments to protect UCC believers from being “triggered.”
— Nerdy and Wordy (@MarchaeGrair) June 5, 2016
While Grair is black, the vast majority of UCC members are white.
UCC, which has over 5,000 congregations and about a million adherents, and is a Congregationalist church, meaning that individual churches have substantial autonomy in matters of doctrine. The church is known for taking liberal views on issues like transgender rights and abortion, and in 2007 attracted scrutiny after allegations it violated its non-profit status by providing a campaigning platform to then-presidential candidate Barack Obama.
The church’s website includes a page dedicated to “Racial Justice” which defines racism as “racial prejudice plus power.” This definition (which is not the one found in the dictionary) of racism is popular with some progressives, and is the justification for claims that only white people can be racist, and that other races can’t.
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