What is white theology and how does it intersect with indigenous spirituality?
Jim Perkinson's answer:
- The simplest answer I suppose is to say white theology is a response to black theology. Like that effort of making black experience of race explicit in relationship to Christian theology, white theology tries to do the same with whiteness.
- It means making clear how racialization and racism came into being in the first place as a European theological evaluation of colonized peoples as “not saveable” and of their cultural and religious practices as dangerous at best and demonic at worst.
- That theological evaluation quickly took up skin color as its shorthand for assessing who is who in the colonial theaters of contact.
- White theology then makes apparent how racial perception and racist exploitation of colonized others were originally theological in motivation and continue to function as mode of “salvation” for white people.
- Modern Christianity is not a neutral force in the modern world but since 1492 has functioned as a modality of spiritual supremacy that birthed white supremacy.
- White supremacy is the bastard child of Christian supremacy over indigenous religions. White theology seeks to trace that history and genealogy and then make clear how white supremacy continues to operate as the hidden norm inside most of our global structures today, whether economic, political, social, cultural, or spiritual.
- Recovery of indigenous practices as peer spiritualities of Christianity (or even as perhaps superior in their sensitivity to local culture and ecology) is necessary to “outing” and dismantling white supremacy.