Preface: In this article, I am reacting to the behavior exemplified at the recent MLK50 Conference, sponsored by The Gospel Coalition and the ERLC. I use words like “movement” and “narrative.” These terms refer to the general thrust and way of thinking presented at this conference and in the writings and videos of popular proponents of this conference and its purpose.
Please feel free to leave well-thought responses below, and share this article on social media if you found this edifying. Blessings.
What reason do we have to believe claims that are unfalsifiable?
An unfalsifiable claim is a claim that, no matter the response, cannot be refuted. One example of this type of claim is the boogeyman claim. There is, it has been said, a boogeyman that hides under beds of children. Even if you can’t see it, it’s there! No matter if you look under the bed, no matter if you find evidence to the contrary, it’s there. Hiding in the shadows, the other side of the bed, or the top while you’re at the bottom, the boogeyman is persistently present—no matter what you say to the contrary.
It’s impossible to falsify the boogeyman claim because a boogeyman proponent can say anything to get the boogeyman off the hook. He went to the moon, he went to Mars, he went to the other room while you searched for him under the bed!
White evangelicals are the “boogeymen” for those promoting racialism at parachurch conferences, organizations, etc.
No matter the reasoning to the contrary, white evangelicals are privileged, uninformed, and insensitive when it comes to race issues within the evangelical church. This is said to be primarily caused by the notion of white privilege. White privilege infects the worldview of white people such that they cannot even realize their defense of it, when they take advantage of it, or when they wrongfully leverage it upon other “races.” This is almost universal for the movement. White evangelicalism, in toto, is infected with this sickness.
There is simply no way to refute these types of claims for several different reasons. I will list three below:
1. White people are uninformed in virtue of their white-ness
Many, even most, white people may be well-intending individuals, but because they are not black, they are unable to recognize what, exactly, is going on. White evangelicals do not realize they are unrightfully privileged because they are white and live within the context of this privilege. This privilege is all they know.
The only way to escape this privilege is to adopt the narrative that American blacks are oppressed and whites have a hand in this oppression in a rather significant way. When a white person offers a counterpoint to this claim, be it their experience, statistical research, etc., they are told they are reacting on the basis of their white privilege. They cannot escape their privilege and thus cannot part with it—no matter the content of their response, this is the case.
Every response is a result of misinformation, a priori, according to this movement.
2. White people are in love with their privilege
Many, if not most, white people who respond adversely to the charge of white privilege, white people who are outraged by such claims, are simply in love with their privilege.
No matter what the response may be, this response is being used to protect and promote white privilege. Furthermore, any effort to refute this charge—of defending their privilege—is based in the same type of reasoning. White people respond to things like the charge of white privilege and ancestral guilt because their interests are inextricably linked to their privilege.
White responses, no matter the content, are an effort to hold on to white privilege.
3. Black people who agree with white people are a priori incorrect
Even if white people have black friends who back them up, that black person, as well as the white person, are wrong. They have been unfortunately blinded by white culture and the systemic mindset responsible for oppressing black Americans en masse.
The black individuals dissenting from the narrative have become traitors to their own race and have sided with white people. As Matt Chandler said at the MLK50 Conference, white people shouldn’t go and find black friends who agree with them.
Before the discussion even begins, black people who agree with white people are written off on the basis of their agreement with another position other than the narrative proposed by this movement. It’s impossible to refute this claim because no matter the intentions or responses of the dissenting black individuals, they have supposedly been blinded by their white friends as to the existence of systemic injustice and white privilege.
These three reasons as to why certain claims cannot be refuted are meant to be informative, an account from the other side of the aisle. My hope is that my brothers and sisters in Christ who disagree with me will see that producing and substantiating unfalsifiable claims are not helpful to the discussion at large. Rather than making a claim and impressing that claim upon an entire ethnicity, without exception, we can reason with one another to the glory of God.
Unfortunately, these antics are the same antics used by the pro-segregationists of the 1950s and 60s. Blacks were not able to have an opinion because they were black. It was on the basis of their skin color—not the content of their character, not their status in Christ, not the content of their responses—that they were silenced by white segregationists.
This is the same strategy being used by many, especially over the last few days. Whites (or any other people of various melanin levels) are not able to disagree with this narrative because they are either white or they have fallen for the white lie.
This is not behavior characteristic of Christ’s church and it’s not representative of the gospel. It’s time to change the way we think about social issues and the way we approach them.