The blogosphere is buzzing about the relationship between Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama and pastor Jeremiah Wright. The questions are numerous. The main issue among some Christian bloggers has been Obama’s proximity to Wright’s version of Afro-centric Christian theology and it possibly hurting his bid for the White House.
My question: why should Wright’s version of Afro-centric Christian theology hurt Obama? why is this an issue?
Is it because the label “afro-centric” is a qualifier? and thus far Obama (contra his political opponents) has distanced himself from the race issue. Given our current political and racial climate in the United States I would to.
But what’s wrong with afro-centric? Especially when much of Christian theology for the past 500 year or so has been “euro-centric”. Of course we haven’t called it “euro-centric” Christian theology. We’ve just called it “Christian”. Kind of like “person” meant “white person” for many centuries. Or like “rational”, “pure”, “normal”, “clean”, “articulate”, etc. meant “white”.
Of course those who are uncomfortable with the qualifier afro-centric Christian theology or black theology would do well to understand the historical and social reasons why black folks use these qualifiers. They only reveal their racial privilege by their ignorance of why black folks have had to do theology in this light.
Here’s a truth about afro-centric theology that often goes missing in these discussions: it is a theology that seeks to re-affirm black humanity and resist the congenital effects of white Supremacist Christian culture. It is an attempt to cure black folks (and hopefully other folks) of racial self-hatred and ‘apocalypse’ the pervasive genetic defect of white supremacy in North American Christianity.
Note: it is a strange irony that a theology that seeks to affirm black folk’s being made in the image of God and that seeks to resist the long history of white supremacy in North American Christianity would be considered ‘racist’. Its the strangest of historical ironies.
What unconscous habits would lead one to make such a charge?
My suggestion to folks uncomfortable with the qualifier “afro-centric”: read indigenous black church history.