. . . or is it appropriation?
I typically listen to the “mostly talk” Christian station, and NPR on Saturdays . . . but on Friday nights, I’ve been tending to put on one of the other Christian stations in town (it’s the Northern Bible Belt–we have like six Christian radio stations! And that’s just on FM! It will have to be a SBAR for another week to talk about why almost none of them play any “black” gospel music . . . )
Anyway, on Friday nights I can hear some of the more “progressive” Christian rap on this other station, so I’ve been tuning in. One song that I’ve been hearing a lot is called “Love is in the house”, and one line in the song had me puzzled–I just couldn’t believe that I was hearing what I was hearing–so I came home and Googled it . . .
sure enough, here’s the line:
Now, maybe this bothers me because I still wrestle at times with that same idea of “wishing I was black” . . . but the longer I live, and the more I learn, the more clear it is to me that there is something “not quite right” with this desire . . . at least for me (can’t speak for this well-known white guy/Christian Rapper) . . . but it smacks of appropriation . . . something I’m just beginning to grasp, but of course I have that annoying zeal so typical of new converts.
the thing is . . . this is someone who has a stated goal of fighting racism, with a cleverly named foundation dedicated to this goal . . .
but it still bothers me . . . seriously, having heard the song twice in a weekend, I just can’t seem to let go of that one line.
Maybe I’m not being fair. look, right there on his own website, it says that he is “a prophetic voice for racial reconciliation” . . . and who am I to argue with that?
could I say the same of myself, though? and have people believe it? and still not “get” that my first duty is to deal with my own whiteness and the ways I benefit from white privilege on a daily basis?
I need to chew on this some more . . . and I should probably read more about him before I pass judgment on the guy. but really, I think it’s myself that I am really judging here . . . because as much as I want to come off as “one of those GOOD white people”, I still don’t trust the ugliness that lurks within, even if I claim to bear the name “anti-racist Jesus follower” . . .
I have wrestled with the concept of being a “race traitor“–the wording on this website sounds so appealing, in a trendy sort of way: “treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity“– but can I really shed my whiteness that easily? or do I need to own it, acknowledge its benefits, before simply stating, as I have in the past, that I want to “convert”?
I think I need to ponder this some more . . . but would love to hear your thoughts as well . . .