We are soon coming up on the 40th Anniversary of the Church changing its position on admitting blacks to the priesthood, yet it seems to still be a major stumbling block for black members. How big of a stumbling block? Enough that a group has put together a web-site called "SHOULDER TO THE WHEEL: Latter-day Saints Working to End Racism and Become a Zion People." The site offers a list of resources in order to help us "vanilla white" members overcome our alleged racism and, I suppose, recognize the inherent evil of being white. One of the resources is a downloadable PDF entitled “Shoulder to the Wheel: Resources for Ending Racism and White Supremacy”
There is also a page on the website where you can pledge to take some action prior to the June 8 Anniversary to take some action to atone for your whiteness which has some questions, scriptures and articles to consider.
I thought I would answer one of the questions posed:
- If you are white, ask yourself how your family’s path would have been different if your ancestors happened to be born African-American. Locate advantages your family enjoyed on account of race, including access to GI Bill resources, or federally-insured home loans.
Well, if my ancestors had been born African-American, my siblings and I would have benefited from affirmative action in college admission and employment. Certainly, with my grades and my SAT scores, I would have been admitted to and had full ride scholarships in one or more Ivy League schools, and a concomitant leg up when it came to employment options. My family didn't have access to GI Bill resources (my father served during the Korean War, but didn't go to college--in fact, he didn't even graduate from high school). I got my home loan well after the 1960's, so I didn't benefit from so-called "red lining."There were also some comments in the PDF about a couple (i.e., 2) black women that were referred to by the "n-word" and have had people ask to touch their hair (which they claim is an indignity that white women don't suffer). Well, if you are a Caucasian with blond hair living in the Far East, people will touch or rub your hair all of the time, because they think it brings good luck. And, as I discovered in Japan, even if you don't have blond hair, people are still curious to touch a Caucasian's hair because it so fine in comparison to the hair of the Japanese. And I survived and wasn't offended. Imagine that.
My parents were probably what today would be considered "working poor," had a funny last name, and weren't 9th generation Mormon, so I was teased and tormented by other youth in the Church for my poor quality or old clothes, my lack of social status and money, or otherwise didn't fit in. In fact, I was so poorly treated when a child that my parents had me attend the adult Sunday School class for several years rather than the children's class to which I was assigned. I suppose that it should have made me so bitter that I left the Church. So, no I don't have sympathy for a bunch of snow flakes whining about how they were treated decades ago.
I will say this about the this overweening concern about "white privilege" in the Church: it is creating the very division and contention that black members purportedly want to eliminate. I am reminded of 3 Nephi 3:29:
For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.And as for those concerned about "white privilege" in the Church and complain about white members judging others because of their race, they may also want to consider Matthew 7:5: "Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye."