Research has quantified this love by finding that white, evangelical, Christians, are some of the best at denying the existence of racial inequality and some of most likely to attribute any recognized inequality to lack of motivation on the part of minorities.
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More than 50 years since the Civil Rights movement first began, many of us fail to recognize that the average net worth (assets minus debts) of white Americans ($113,000) is 20 times the average net worth of blacks (about $5,600) and 18 times the average net worth of Hispanics ($6,325).
Somehow we missed the lessons about what contributed to these disparities. We fail to acknowledge that the FHA gave home loans to whites only for the first 30 years of its existence, thereby helping to create the white middle class today. We missed the lesson about the government selling 270 million acres of land for next to nothing to whites-only under the Homestead Act and how 40 million of us whites are descendants of those who acquired the land. Some of us are still living on that land, many of us are inheriting the inter-generational advantages of it.
People like me have been given extra points on college applications for being “legacy students” – an impossible classification for most students of color whose parents could not have attended college in most of the generations that preceded me [See post: Academic Admissions]. Whites like me have benefited from the inter-generational accumulation of wealth that is largely impossible for people of color whose ancestors were denied adequate wages, education and jobs. Many of us have also benefited from living in counties and towns with higher property taxes, better schools, less pollution, more hospitals and a police force who rarely profiles people of our complexion (even though, when stopped, we are more likely to have drugs on us than a person of color).
2004 study found that when applicants applied to the same job with identical credentials, applicants with the white sounding names received 50% more callbacks than applicants with 'black sounding names.' Stopping merely at recognizing our inherited advantage denies the reality that the people in the most impoverished African American neighborhoods have to travel longer distances to reach the nearest supermarket than people in the most impoverished white neighborhoods – thereby limiting their access to nutritious foods like fresh fruits and vegetables.
Failing to recognize these inequalities and discuss them openly, denies the reality that this discrimination is literally killing us. It denies the pervasiveness of institutional racism and the continuation of discrimination. It accepts the advantages given to us as whites with a morbid silence that stands with the status quo and a system of oppression that, as Christians, we have a responsibility to stand against. It is a responsibility we have, not because we are all personally responsible for the creation of that system, but because Christ has called us to work toward redemptive justice in a world that is far too often opposed to it.