Megachurch pastor faces backlash for trying to reframe white privilege as 'white blessing'

In today's episode of WTF America, a pastor of an Atlanta megachurch tried to make an argument that the benefits white Americans got from slavery were blessings.

In what was billed as "an honest conversation about race and the Church" on June 14, Passion City Church pastor Louie Giglio talked with Chick-fil-a CEO Dan Cathy and rapper Lecrae. And in the course of their conversation, Giglio somehow ended up referring to "the curse of slavery" as "the blessing of slavery" when talking about how white people benefited from it. (This should go without saying, but if you ever find the words "the blessing of slavery," coming out of your mouth, you need to stop talking immediately.)

Giglio then went further and tried to reframe the concept of white privilege—the reality that white people have racial benefits in a society where white people have always held the power—as "white blessing."

Why? Because, he says, the phrase "white privilege" trips a lot of white people up. So calling it "white blessing" somehow...helps?

Needless to say, it didn't go over very well.


People rightly pointed out that using the word "blessing" in relation to slavery is, well, peak white supremacy.

"White privilege" makes people uncomfortable, so let's change the wording to something that will further entrench white people in denial and make them think that somehow the benefits of slavery were divinely ordained favors bestowed upon white people? Isn't that what "blessing" literally means?

Thinking you can rename a relatively benign phrase because it rubs some white people the wrong way is also, ironically, an example of white privilege in action.

Giglio has apologized for his word choice, stating that he was "not seeking to refer to slavery as blessing—but that we are privilege because of the curse of slavery...word choice wasn't great. Trying to help us see society is built on the dehumanization of others. My apology, I failed."

Indeed. Having the hard conversations about race and racism is good, and white folks are prone to stepping into an unconscious sense of superiority in those conversations. But a pastor with a huge platform—who is seen by congregants as a man sharing God's word—calling the benefits of slavery a "blessing" is over-the-top problematic. Even if his intention in the conversation was pure, even if his heart was in the right place, that message is worthy of condemnation.

Lacrae posted a video on Instagram responding to the controversial clip, which is important to hear:

Instead of trying to reframe reality to cater to white people's comfort, let's have a conversation about the audacity of white people losing their minds over a two-word phrase while people of color have to deal with the ongoing stress of subtle and blatant individual, systemic and institutional racism. The longer we try to keep white people comfortable, the longer it's going to take to deal with the issue of racism in our society.

You can watch the entirety of the June 14 conversation here:

The Beloved Community - Dan Cathy, Lecrae, Louie Giglio www.youtube.com

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In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

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Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

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