My sister-in-law can’t believe there is something called the White Privilege Conference (WPC) but she understands why there needs to be one. The WPC is a program of the Matrix Center for the Advancement of Social Equity and Inclusion at the University of Colorado (Colorado Springs). It is not a conference designed to attack, degrade or beat up on white folks. It is about discerning the dynamics of privilege and oppression.
Over the decades of doing racial justice advocacy I have caught serious heat for suggesting white people have privilege. Some have incorrectly extrapolated that I must hate white people because of their privilege. But hatred is a hilt-less blade that cuts the one who carries it far more deeply and more consistently than any one who may get slashed with it. What the Lord has shown me is that forgiveness and agape love is required to do this work; they make my justice ministry possible.
The WPC is not for those who do not understand the basics of white privilege. A true novice would feel flooded. So, study up a bit before attending. Active members of the racial justice advocacy network “Today’s Dream: Tomorrow’s Reality” would find this conference affirming. For them it would be an analytical thought workout. Some of the presenters in both plenary and workshops will take you to some real depths. I attend only the advanced workshops to glean new nuances, inspect new, more current paradigms for instruction and to simply feel free. It is a blessed solace to be among people of all ages and all races who are also purposefully seeking equity and justice.
The WPC is where you can walk down the hall or sit in a workshop with other professionals that work in the field. Names anyone doing racial justice would recognize and faces that appear in the films I use to support Women of the ELCA’s ambition to live out our anti-racist identity are not unusual.
If you are interested in equity and justice, (and most certainly if you are a member of Women of the ELCA’s racial justice advocacy network) I encourage you to check out the WPC website and the Matrix website. See what new thing God would have you consider!
Inez Torres Davis is director for justice.