The issues of race and the white Church have historically converged into one of the most fundamental and egregious errors in American Christian history. For Sunday morning to STILL be the most segregated hour is a travesty.
Is it just a matter of comfort? Just preference for one's own worship style? Is it really such a big deal and surely it's not really a matter of racism?!
Consider what Spencer Perkins says in his co-authored book More Than Equals :
"white christians' decisions to choose comfort of their own race over the Christian ideals of brotherhood and oneness that our gospel so boldly preaches have undoubtedly weakened their witness to the African-American community. Because blacks have not been able to distinguish between white Christians and white non-Christians when it comes to racial issues and separation, major issues...become confused" (p. 32)
Perhaps it's time for the majority to become a little more uncomfortable. It's a reflection of white folks' privileged to be able to avoid situations in which we are the only ones in a house of worship of our own race. And after a moment when we do experience the awkward self-awareness that such an experience can bring, we can easily and quickly retreat to an all-white world without enduring much sacrifice.
How can we be so timid to experience the discomfort to which many of our sisters and brothers in Christ have had to grow accustomed on a daily basis in the workplace, in schools, and in the church? Because we have these privileges, I believe it is white folks’ responsibility to intentionally act to ease the burdens of racism by actively educating ourselves and working for change, particularly in the church where our claim is Holy love.
It is for a similar reasons that I feel it is important for me, a white person, to be talking about race. White people don't tend to talk about race at all--positively or negatively. We have been trained by too many hushed words and too many winks and nods that it is a taboo topic. You are apt to say something stupid and get yelled at or....well...that's pretty much the only outcome, so we think. But silence breeds ignorance.
We need redeemed white people to step up and take on some of the burden. Those of us that have been blessed with patient POC sisters and brothers must share what we know with our white counterparts. What is more, having experienced the privileged majority status, we recognize and remember the allure of flawed logic and misinformation. Therefore, we can offer an understanding ear when a white sister says "Oh, I just don't see race. I'm colorblind" and then proudly declare the beauty of the colors that God has allowed us to experience, renouncing our colorblindness, helping her to do the same. We can hear the venomous words of prejudice and know that we can educate, perhaps preventing those words from ever reaching others' ears.