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A suggestion has been made that whites keep silent in the public theological space (in direct contact and also social media, discussion forums etc). The reason given is that not only is 'black theology' ignored but that Christian sites are used to reinforce white supremacist views. I was extremely unhappy with this suggestion and argued that there are sites, meaning this one, which are open to all and where all denominations are welcome.

I then had another look at this site and had to conclude that there is a problem. This site does have strong racist components. This takes two forms. The first is the absolute intransigent insistence of the superiority of white views of Christianity. There is simply no engagement and views expressed, no matter how scriptural, are far too often fundamentalist fanaticism. The second is a lack of interest which can clearly be seen from the tags. There isn't even a tag for the African Independent Churches. The views of most of the Christians in Africa have never - in all the years - been discussed on this site. Clearly this is unacceptable racism and I had to change my views of the site. I do not believe this is deliberate. I think (I hope and pray) users are simply unaware of what they are doing.

My question is therefore, where to from now?

Should whites keep silent? Have whites a contribution to make in a future Christian debate? Are whites willing to engage with 'black theology'? Are whites prepared to confront themselves? Are whites prepared to listen?

Where to, now?

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    ?????????????????????? Dude, this is all covered by the Truth policy. Are you seriously suggesting we determine whether black theology is more True than white? This doesn't sound like you. Has your account been hijacked? – David Stratton Jan 17 '16 at 4:48
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    The small amount of question about Africa almost certainly reflects the fact that very few users are from Africa, not the "racism" of its users. – ThaddeusB Jan 17 '16 at 4:52
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    Considering that this is in the running for the most racist post on the site would you like us to flag it as offensive as a start to improving things around here? – bruised reed Jan 17 '16 at 6:24
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    The down-markings and comments make the point of the person who wants whites to be silent, exactly. There is simply no effort. I am asking for a way forward which will see more black people (and in fact women - have any of you noticed?) participate on this site. How, please tell, is sarcasm and your superior attitudes going to help? I am looking for solutions. – gideon marx Jan 17 '16 at 10:20
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    I fail to see the logic that disinterest in African founded churches is unequivocally racist. Like Thad said, and like usage stats show, it's probably because there's close to zero African users. – fгedsbend Jan 17 '16 at 17:18
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    I am asking for a way forward which will see more black people (and in fact women - have any of you noticed?) participate on this site. Then ask, "How can we promote more black and female participation on the site?" Do you see the difference between that and "this site is racist"? – Mr. Bultitude Jan 18 '16 at 17:54
  • @Mr.Bultitude I really do not have the patience to explain racism to you. Do you not understand that this site as it now stands is insulting to black people so they do not participate? You, and people like you, who refuse to listen, are the reason there is a request for whites to be silent. – gideon marx Jan 18 '16 at 19:40
  • @fredsbend It is not for you to decide what makes a racist. The public theological space has been deemed racist because there is little black participation. This includes sites like this one of which I am very fond. I was very sad when I realized the truth. There are enough white supremacists sites already. Why can't this one change? – gideon marx Jan 18 '16 at 19:45
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    @gideonmarx But I suppose it is for you to decide? A homogeneous culture is not inherently racist. A culture lacking representation of a particular race does not make that culture racist. This community is open to anyone and questions about any kind of Christianity. This is abundantly clear in the help files and in community reaction to new questions. – fгedsbend Jan 18 '16 at 20:32
  • @fredsbend I used to argue with your voice until it was pointed out to me that racism exists as facts on the ground. Nobody makes a decision. Only results are important. Judgement is by works - not intentions. Where are the folk of color and women? This site is in the hands of a homogeneous culture which excludes through lack of respect - as the Pharisees excluded the Galileans. It is not open to any question - more questions are placed on hold because they are not deemed suitable than are answered. This is done by white supremacists males. Look at yourself. – gideon marx Jan 19 '16 at 7:11
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    @gideon Then we're done here. Good day. – fгedsbend Jan 19 '16 at 17:06
  • I am here. I don’t know if I am the only female, but I do represent. I have never felt disrespected on this sight, until I read this post. I urge the OP: refrain from name-calling! (I consider “terminology” such as “fundamentalist fanatic” and “white supremacist” to be extremely contumptuous and inflammatory.) These insults are not the well-thought-out phrases I love so much, shared by the many good-hearted intellectuals who come here for stimulating thought and conversation! Please: Don’t write comments if you are not calm! “Can’t we all just get along?” – Laurent R. Feb 25 '19 at 5:15
  • @gideonmarx, Would you please provide your reference for your statement: “A suggestion has been made that whites keep silent in the public theological space (in direct contact and also social media, discussion forums etc). The reason given is that not only is 'black theology' ignored but that Christian sites are used to reinforce white supremacist views.” Thank you. – Laurent R. Feb 25 '19 at 20:36
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Racism is a real concern, and all of us on this site should rightly aim to fight both personal and institutional racism. We must always be willing to listen to those of a different background from us, and should not dismiss any claims of prejudice.

That said, you haven't provided any evidence that racism is widespread on this site. There is no tag for the African Independent Churches because it's not widely recognised as a useful term. The top result in Google is the Wikipedia page for "African initiated church", which explains that terms like it are used by researchers to refer to churches begun by Africans rather than missionaries. But that's all that the label can really tell us, and it would be unwise to further generalise.

Africa is a continent of 1.16 billion people from 3698 ethnic groups who speak up to 3000 languages. An estimated 40% of those 1.16 billion people are Christian. People trying to make generalisations across the Christians of Africa is exactly the kind of (usually unintended) racism we should be watching out for.

Yes there is not a strong focus on Africa on this site, but that represents the demographics of the site. 66% of visitors come from the US alone, and all other countries are much smaller. But the fifth and sixth highest traffic source countries are South Africa and Nigeria. Of the top ten cities half are non-Caucasian majority: Seoul (South Korea), Lagos (Nigeria), Singapore, Makati (Philippines), Johannesburg (South Africa).

I'm intending to ask one or two questions about the recent Anglican primates gathering, the results of which were pushed by the African and South American primates. More people attend an Anglican church each week in Nigeria than in the UK, US, Canada, NZ and Australia combined! Now I don't know if we get any Nigerian Anglicans asking and answering questions here, but I hope that they would be welcomed, and not told that they're just following "white views of Christianity".

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  • Thank you for the support for the problem I have. Where are all the Anglican Nigerians? How can they become representative on this site? – gideon marx Jan 17 '16 at 10:09
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    @gideonmarx This answer is not support for the problem you reported. Usage stats from Nigeria not being a major part of the site demographics is not at all the same issue of racism. – Caleb Jan 17 '16 at 10:12
  • @Caleb Usage stats is exactly the problem - the accusation I had to face was that it happened because of racism. Because of exclusion through disrespect of groups like the AIC. True or not - immaterial. I am looking for a solution. How can this site become more inclusive of all those thousands of churches who are now asking for white silence? – gideon marx Jan 17 '16 at 10:31
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    I don't think calling churches founded Africa "African" can rightly be called racism. No more than churches from Asia or Europe being called Asian and European. Otherwise, a good writeup. – fгedsbend Jan 17 '16 at 17:59
  • @fredsbend I didn't say it was? – curiousdannii Mod Jan 18 '16 at 0:50
  • "People trying to make generalisations across the Christians of Africa is exactly the kind of (usually unintended) racism we should be watching out for." Calling African founded churches "African" is not racist. – fгedsbend Jan 18 '16 at 0:55
  • @fredsbend No, and I wasn't saying that it was. But the particular AIC terms could be if they're deliberately used to refer to people who don't want to be known that way. – curiousdannii Mod Jan 18 '16 at 1:20
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    But my bigger point was that thinking you could draw any valid generalisation across those AIC churches other than that they were not founded by missionaries is hugely problematic, it would be just as problematic as trying to generalise across all the churches in the US without direct puritan ties. Saying that all African Christians are asking for white silence, or that their theology can be meaningfully united under the label Black Theology, is, I think, racist. – curiousdannii Mod Jan 18 '16 at 1:20
  • @curiousdannii I think designating names based on origin is within convention. Even if they don't want to be called African, they are still African. Race has nothing to do with it. Also, in an area with a long history of missionary founded churches, locally founded churches are of special interest and necessarily require their own nomenclature. – fгedsbend Jan 18 '16 at 1:34
  • I was reading this again and I think I understand your original point (better late than never, lol). Can you verify, was your point that terms like AIC can falsely give an impression of homogeneity merely because most Africans are black? Much like how "Asian" quickly lumps many diverse groups because they look similar (e.g. India, though in Asia, is never referred to as "Asian", which is likely because of their physical differences)? – fгedsbend Mar 21 '19 at 18:40
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    @fredsbend Yeah that's right. There's too much diversity in both Africa and Asia for there to be many valid, let alone useful, generalisations. – curiousdannii Mod Mar 21 '19 at 22:07
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@gideonmarx, you asked “where to from now?” This is my reply:

The Color of Under, by Laurent R.

He created us equal, equal and free-

a vast truth, self evident,
of love so magnificent.

He watched us wager our souls at that tree-

we choked and we fell,
traded shame for free will.

Now ugly reflections

of who we could have been.

Abel, murdered, serves as tribute

to hatred among men.

Anger and jealousy roiling under our skin.

Our skin. Our skin.
A façade we exist within.
A wrapping, a bin,
seen without, not within.

Now, we despise and we kill

our brother, our kin

based on pigment of skin.

Mere tincture, so thin.

Is it pigment, or hatred
that colors our skin?

Lean in, listen closely:

his voice can be found:

Abel’s innocent blood,

cries out from the ground.

“It is thine own brother 
that you have slain,
buried, covered and hidden,
and this is made plain:
May justice be done!
Take life, one for one!
May vengeance be won!
Eye for eye! Son for son!”

We took up that plea,

owned it without pause.

Hoarded stones in our hearts,

felt the cracking in our jaws.

First Purples slayed Pinks,
enraging the beast.
So then Pinks slaughtered Purples,
and reveled with a feast.
Purples corralled the Orange
brutalized them in chains,
oppressing for profit
through savagery and pain.

That is all that is gained,
just violence and pain,
bloodlust, disdain.
Humanity’s shame.

So now, here we are.

Broken and hating.

Despising. Enslaving.

Enslaved by our hating.

Doing to others
the thing that we hate.
They berate us
so them we berate.
(In the hobby of hate
‘tis a joy to berate.)



With “an eye for an eye”
a soul’s eye is the toll.
For vengeance is killing
humanity’s soul,
humanity’s conscience,
humanity’s goal.

Think: under the pigment,

beneath our sheer skin

we’re still all the same.

We’re still truly kin,

with blood of one color
the color of under
the color of murder
one of another.
Onward we smother
the hearts of each other,
the hopes of each mother.

Halt! Wait! It’s since written

of the blood of Another.

Another Good Man

who was killed by His brothers.

His blood speaks much better

than Abel’s dark cry.

Not for anger nor hate,

but for love did He die.

Muting terror’s dark law,

ringing in law of grace,

Christ shows us all how

to embrace love and peace.

Acceptance of everyone
kin of unlike minds,
gender, creed, age, color,
all varieties of humankind.
Love, grace, acceptance,
understanding to give.
Shun all your blindness,
reconcile, forgive.

Love that’s determined

to love every other,

not “tolerance” yoked to bitterness

passed down from your mother.

Let us cast aside the old

and begin A New Thing,

which bases our unity

on the the color within:

the color of under
the color of life
the color that poured 
down His side from a knife.

Consider this Jesus,

His great contradiction:

He loved and we tortured,

He forgave and we killed Him.

Love, forgiveness live still.

We’ll respond or refuse:

Free volitions decide,

hearts and minds will now choose.

Will our hearts see with empathy, 
understanding, compassion?
Will we bring love to life?
To our culture and fashion?
Will understanding be in?
Forgiveness, our passion?

For despising is weakness,

to berate is for cowards.

Understanding takes courage,

maybe listening for hours.

Show acceptance to one,

just one at a time:

each time start a ripple

affecting this clime.

What, tell me, what

are we willing to give?

How much will we change?

In what way, to live?

In peace, or in rage?
Is there peace on the stage?
Will we choose peace, or rage?
Peace and kindness, or rage?

Are we children just swimming

in a river of wrath?

Letting others determine

our minds and our path?

Will peer pressure determine

the course of mankind?

Or will individuals grapple

to change their own minds?

We can change with our minds

this dark course of mankind

if we only decide.
If we only decide.
Let us decide.
Together.
Decide.
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From the responses to the question there is clearly only one answer: "Nothing" Nothing can be done about the racist nature of this site because the participants see nothing wrong with it. They claim that it is a largely whites only site because most of the participants are from the USA. (For those who do not know it - the president of the USA is 'black'. There are colored people, and women, living in the USA. For some reason they chose not to use this site. Maybe the reason is racism and sexism.) So complete a lack of understanding of the nature of racism is so mind-boggling that there is no solution. Nothing can be done. Best leave it alone.

PS I can now see the 'silence argument'to be valid. White males who are sincere Christians should start considering their own silence in the public theological space - maybe it is time to start listening.

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    Start listening to what? What concrete actions do you propose that users of the site can take to increase the number of "colored people, and women" who participate? – Ward - Reinstate Monica Jan 19 '16 at 8:29
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    I don't think anyone was claiming that the site was "whites only" just because most of the participants are from the US. None of us have any real idea of the racial and ethnic makeup of this site, all we can go by is their country of origin. – curiousdannii Mod Jan 20 '16 at 3:44

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