Jesus didn’t say this but by the way the church behaves you’d think he did.
Actually, what inspired this cartoon is a BBC article I read this morning titled Cleveland abductions: Do white victims get more attention?. The writer, Tara McKelvey, claims that nearly half of those abducted in the USA are not white, but the news coverage certainly does not reflect it. She quotes McIlwain, a researcher, who says: “Our national ideal of who is vulnerable – and who holds victim status – are those who are white and female.” The ideal rescuer is also white. A similar opinion can be read in CNN’s article, We’re obsessed when it’s white women in trouble.
I wonder if the church’s ideal of who is saved, who is loved by God and who leads the church is white but not female. When we think of who is at the center of the church, its theology and its activity, do we imagine straight white men? Some would argue that we don’t even have to imagine it at all because it is indeed the reality. I know some women engaged in the theological conversation who agree.
It is a source of great frustration because even though women, people of color, and people of various sexual orientations and identities are raising their voices and sometimes being heard, those at the control center are straight white men who may be or pretend to be sympathetic to their voices but are unable or unwilling to change the landscape because they’re hopelessly entangled in it. How does one extricate themselves from a system that is so well established and so interwoven with their very identities and roles? It’s like asking white people to return the land to the indigenous people and walk away.
It’s not just a matter of giving up the wheel but of changing vehicles. It is radical and seems impossible, but it must be done.