Yes, it’s racist: 5 objections to The Gospel Coalition’s article

I’ve never written about race before. And for that, I’m sorry.

The racism that is still prevalent in white Christian circles and in the structures of our society demands both words and action to make change. And those words and actions can’t just be the responsibility of black people – it’s for us to repent, to listen, to learn, to challenge, to change. So here’s a start.

The Gospel Coalition (an American conservative evangelical organisation, led by a Council of 55 men – naturally) has published an article called ‘When God sends your white daughter a black husband’. Have a read:

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 11.47.01

I tweeted about this article as ‘barely disguised racism’ – and although many people seem to agree, a few have asked me what’s wrong with it. Surely it’s a story redemption, of a woman overcoming her prejudice and realising that we’re all equal?

In response, I thought I’d show a few tweets and responses from others, grouped together by ‘ways this article is deeply flawed’.

  1. The premise of the article – that having a black man marry into your family is an issue to address. By publishing the article, TGC legitimises white people’s feelings of discomfort at black people being part of their family.Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 11.04.14Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 11.01.27Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 11.08.45
    Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 10.44.55
    Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 10.46.37


  2. The erasing of Glenn’s identity – the way that the writer comes to accept her son in law is to stop seeing him as black.
    Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 10.55.04Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 10.55.14Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 11.01.13


  3. The answers given are about learning to cope with the issue as a challenge or a trial, not to repent of your racism. 
    Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 10.50.42Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 10.45.14Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 10.47.19Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 11.09.21


  4. It even suggests that white people shouldn’t challenge others on their overt racism – showing more concern to appease the prejudices of white family members and keep the peace than for black people being treated as less.  Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 10.56.19Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 10.56.29Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 11.02.22

  5. The article addresses an issue of racism by giving voice only to the person with power and privilege – not to the oppressed person.

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 10.46.49

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 10.47.29Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 12.32.52Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 12.29.00 Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 12.31.22


To sum up – the piece is apparently meant to show us how a woman overcame her racism and now loves her black son-in-law. But instead, it reassured racist parents that it’s normal to hope for your children to marry a white person. It framed a woman marrying a black man as a spiritual trial for her mother, who had to ‘die to her expectations’ – as if accepting a black son-in-law is a sacrifice for her.

The lessons for parents facing a similar situation don’t touch on repenting of your racism (the author bizarrely insists that she was never prejudiced, despite hoping for a white son-in-law), but instead suggest theological ways to erase the black man’s identity and look past it, rather than loving who he is as a black man.

The article prioritises white people – by suggesting that you take the side of prejudiced white family members over your new black family members, and by publishing the story of a white woman’s struggle with her own racism rather than the experience of black people on the receiving end of her prejudice.

White Christians, we have to do better than this. 

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About Claire

@claireylegs Keen on Jesus. Keen on justice. Ministry assistant in the Great North East. Blogger. Find me in: coffee shop / church / pub / bed.
This entry was posted in Evangelicalism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Yes, it’s racist: 5 objections to The Gospel Coalition’s article

  1. Annie says:

    Can I just bring a different perspective here from a white mom who’s daughter is currently dating a black man? Okay..hold on to the rotten tomatoes for a minute and try to listen. I grew up in a very racially tense world as a young girl. Busing and rioting were happening regularly and there was a line drawn. Yes, we probably thought we were “better” (sad to say) than the blacks in our world and this was not right. Not only was there racial tension but it was not even legal for blacks and whites to marry until I was 7 years old. I think there needs to be a bit more compassion and understanding on those who may struggle. I understand that the world is different now and we obviously have not raised our kids to be redneck racists..especially if they are falling in love for the sake of love no matter what the color/culture. But I do wish people would pause and consider where some “white moms” might be coming from because understanding, conversation and love will do more in bringing people together on this issue than more criticism. It’s almost as if the white mom starts to become dehumanized for having human responses to the way she grew up.

    • Jane Barnes says:

      And there’s that white fragility. This article was demeaning and disrespectful to black men and legitimized racism from white Christians without giving any indication of repentance or need for forgiveness. If the language and ideas we have don’t honor and lift up black people they don’t need to be published.

      • Cory says:

        You do realise that your comment here is not offering a different perspective but is essentially point number 4 the author made above? Rather than valuing black people as, you know, *people*, you want to be sensitive to the racists simply because that’s how they grew up. You’re not humanizing those poor white moms, you’re normalizing their uncomfortableness with and fear of black people. You are an enabler.

        • Concerned Mom of a biracial child says:

          The “I’m a product of the way I grew up” excuse has been used by child molesters and serial killers alike. I would like to know if the same people trying to give Ms. Gaye a pass would be willing to extend the same “understanding” to those people. Just because you grow up in a horribly bigoted society and/or household does not mean you are required to behave in the same way. It’s at least partially apparent that she knew her reaction was wrong. That being said, she nullified the ability to use “this is how I grew up” as an excuse.

    • I don’t think that she’s being dehumanized. I think the problem is that she doesn’t address the REAL ISSUE, which is her prejudice. She gives advice on how to deal with that prejudice, rather than turn from it. Her repentance is incomplete. She and The Gospel Coalition had the opportunity to speak to the very real situation of being discomfitted when faced with our own bigotry, with our own sins. I think everyone in the world can relate to the pain that comes from seeing one’s own idiocy. But she doesn’t reveal that and The Gospel Coalition completely missed the mark in allowing this to be published as is. Jesus didn’t come to make us comfortable in our awkward situations. Jesus came to reveal to us a God who calls us to lean into his justice which requires us to reconcile our erroneous ways of thinking with the good news of reconciliation to our God AND to each other.

  2. saraedwina says:

    Thank you, a very good article.

  3. Theresa says:

    As one who would hold the place of Felicia in this story, with the exception that the daughter is mine. From infancy I prayed over and anointed my baby every day. I spoke life over her, her future husband and children and wherever her bloodline would go. The only real problem I have with the mothers story is allowing family members to continue in their bigotry with no repercussions. Once her eyes were opened, it was her responsibility to challenge them to come up to a higher level or they should be cut off. That does not mean she should cease praying for them. The thought that my son-in-law would be White never entered my head. However two weeks after they met, she told me she had met her husband. His family who professed to be Christians and supposedly had Black friends had a fit. Got upset when he brought her to their church, much later when they saw it wasn’t just a faze, stated he couldn’t possibly love her and them too. After they got married, the parents tried to keep it quite from other family members and told them they shouldn’t have children. Meanwhile, I am continuely praying and pleading with my child to pray about the situation. Allow Christ to lead you, give them time to adjust. Each time she let her guard down they did or said something foolish i.e. you’re different, you’re not like other Blacks, etc. Eventually after quite a few years his dad told him they loved my child, BUT the thought of him being married to a Black woman made him sick to his stomach. I never asked her to make exceptions for them again. I still pray but I do not try to persuade. After 18 yrs of marriage and all the wonderful things these two have accomplished and endured he is still rated 2nd behind his older brother who did 3 years in jail for inappropriate behavior with his best friends 12 yr old daughter because at least he married within his race. So you see I see this womans behavior a lot different from some others. At least she is trying. At least she recognizes there was a problem. At least she is willing to reach out. Who knows maybe one day the mothers will assist each other and be the greater for it. But in order to correct a wrong, one must first be able to admit that there is one. She did that. Many people can say what they would do. The proof is when you are really confronted with it. We all are to strive to be like Christ. Some are closer than others. To God be the Glory.

  4. James Hanley says:

    Seems to me like a very unfair response. You’re attacking her for not being perfect, and for talking about how she recognized that and is trying to do better.

    Apparently the only acceptable thing is to just “be” perfectly non-racist. There’s no credit for coming to grips with it and working to improve. That shows a real misunderstanding of how humans function.

    • Claire says:

      Hi James,

      I’m not attacking the author nor suggesting she should be perfect. I’m commenting on how the article she wrote perpetuates racism, which is a completely legitimate response to someone publishing an article about race.

      The problem I have with giving ‘credit’ to Gaye Clark (as if that’s my place to give?!) is that she does not acknowledge her own prejudice. She explicitly states that she never shared the prejudice of those who are against interracial marriage, yet her writing shows that she not only used to share that prejudice but has not yet moved past it. A failure to recognise your own prejudice is a significant barrier to overcoming it, and as seen from Gaye’s own Tweets, she has appreciated other people showing her what they see in her article.

      Dialogue and response is part of how humans function, as you say. This is a contribution to it.

  5. lodukrobat says:

    Sorry but I disagree with your criticism of this piece. We are at a place where we need to be able to talk about these things. I appreciate the author of the article having the courage to speak of her struggle with her sin and the grace to overcome it. This is exactly the dialogue that needs to take place if we are ever to get to the point where this does not even need to be mentioned.

    • Claire says:

      Hi,

      As I’ve replied to another comment, Gaye does not acknowledge her own prejudice. She explicitly states that she never shared the prejudice of those who are against interracial marriage, yet her writing shows that she not only used to share that prejudice but has not yet moved past it. Near the beginning of her article Gaye notes that she acknowledge her presumptuousness about God’s plan but never does she note her own racism. A failure to recognise your own prejudice is a significant barrier to overcoming it, and as seen from Gaye’s own Tweets, she has appreciated other people showing her what they see in her article.

  6. Simon Finley says:

    Hi Claire, you are under no obligation to provide this, but if you could, perhaps it would be constructive to provide a bit of an outline of how the article could be improved, or at least not come across as racist. That is, perhaps if Gaye had of acknowledged her own prejudice, and went from there in regards to how she worked through it. What would be the approach you would take. I think this might help a lot of the people who are struggling to see the problem with it.

    I noticed that TGC has removed the article at the authors request because of the offence it had caused for some. And I believe there’s an audio discussion available regarding how the article could be improved, or at least not cause the offence it did. I don’t know if you’ve heard it, but would you add anything?

    Thanks for your interaction.

  7. Stefen Randall says:

    If it was politically correct to kill yourself tomorrow, would you? Only a psychopathy would suggest it, and only an idiot would do it.
    This lady is committing mental suicide, just because she wants to be politically correct.

    For all you racist, would if the article title was “When God Sends Your Christian Daughter An Atheist Husband.” Would you still be rattling your racist cage?

    The only value system that matters, is your own. All political value systems are toxic waste, use to subvert one’s own value system in order to implant the controller’s value system for yours.

    >I’ve never written about race before.

    Claire, you should write about what you comprehend.

    Race is a political construct used to create a us versus them mentality in order to divide then conquer. It is impossible to play politic without being political. It is impossible to end racism without ending politics. This will never happen because those that claim to be against racism the most are the most political.

  8. Tim says:

    We can do better by not referring to each other as white and black. We are to be one in the body despite the variations in skin color. Anyone who claims to be a Christian and hates another Christian (or non Christian) for the color of their skin I ask them to question if they are truly a believer in Christ or a lost sinner destined for hell.

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