This incredible graphic from the blog site Radical Discipleship recently made the rounds on my Facebook news feed.
Entitled “White Supremacy (Overt & Covert), the visual invites the reader to reflect on the many ways that we perpetuate white supremacist logic.
For instance, in one of the closed Facebook groups I shared it with–Progressive Asian American Christians–several members pondered aloud with lamentation how “police murdering POC” became “socially acceptable.”
The answer, of course is that such events are not (by the “unwoke”) framed in that way: under white supremacist logic, it’s not the police via institutionalized racism that is murdering people of color, it’s either “a few bad cops” who are OR the victims, for one reason or another, had it coming (e.g., they resisted arrest, had a long rap sheet). Either excuse, of course, totally sidesteps the fact that prominent human rights organizations such as Amnesty International have been criticizing the U.S. since 1999 for its problems with police brutality, particularly directed at racial and ethnic minorities, and all 50 states + the District of Columbia since 2015 for failing to meet international standards for the use of lethal force by law enforcement.
Two other things about this post merit comment. The first is that the graphic alone prompted me to find out more about who and what “Radical Discipleship” is about. From my understanding of their “about us” description, they value what I as a feminist Christian value: they want to live out the prophet Micah’s call to “act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God,” support “struggl[es] for church renewal and social change,” work for a world “defined by peace, justice, and dignity for every living being,” and embody all of that both collectively and concretely through practices that fall somewhere along the reformist/revolutionary spectrum.
A glance at their “categories” provides an even better glimpse of what they’re about. My faves include art as resistance; biography as theology; feminist/womanist/queer liberation and theology; race, identity and history; sabbath economics; subverting empire.
The second thing I noted was the range of comments the infographic generated (not on my closed FB group, but on its own page). At the time of this writing, Radical Discipleship’s post had garnered 36 comments, including this one that I could barely stomach [trigger warning: Nazi salute]:
That wasn’t the only problematic comment, but clearly the one most beyond the pale. Radical Discipleship’s response to it, however, was fantastic:
Truly an apocalyptic comment strand, “unveiling” an entire spectrum of white supremacy! This site continues to commit to hurrying and hobbling after Jesus, pledging allegiance to naming all forms of white supremacy as “unacceptable” and demonic. This requires, from each and all, confession–a practice opposed to justifying, rationalizing and glorifying what Dr. King called “the giant triplets of evil:” racism, militarism and materialism.
Much love, respect, and gratitude to all who continue to oppose white supremacy in its many forms!
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Grace Yia-Hei Kao is Associate Professor of Ethics and Co-Director of the Center for Sexuality, Gender, and Religion at Claremont School of Theology. She is the author of Grounding Human Rights in a Pluralist World (Georgetown University Press, 2011) and co-editor, with Ilsup Ahn, of Asian American Christian Ethics (Baylor University Press, 2015). Learn more about her and her work on her personal website.