Posted on March 22, 2024

I’m a Christian Pastor. I Won’t Lie to My Son About Our History and White Heritage.

Eric Rucker, USA Today, March 17, 2024

My 2-year-old is beginning to ask all kinds of questions. And I’ve begun to wonder what I will share with him about his family’s heritage.

{snip} Ta-Nehisi Coates observes that I am from “people who believe themselves to be white.” This phrase uncovers the truth that “white” is an idea created by people in power to maintain dominance. {snip}

As I cut through the facade of generic “whiteness” to learn about my history, I discovered that my ancestors arrived on this continent in 1690 and founded Ruckersville, Virginia. I also found evidence that we “owned” enslaved African people.


A few years ago, the Iowa Legislature passed a bill restricting public schools from teaching concepts that might make students “feel discomfort (or) guilt … on account of … race or sex.” {snip}


I’m a Christian pastor. In our religion we are given a road map for how to work with our community’s transgressions. It’s called “repentance,” and it’s what Jesus called everyone to – especially those who wield racial or political power. The first step in repentance is telling the truth. The second step is confessing our sin. And the third is repairing the harm (Luke 19:1-10).


I am going to tell my son about our whole family history. {snip}

I am going to help him understand how he still benefits from advantages that were gained because of racism, past and present. And I am going to show him how his faith calls him to a process of love and repentance to correct racial injustices.