Biblical Scholar, Seminary Professor, Episcopal Priest

Are You My Sister?


Update: The image (below) I first used for the post was apparently altered by someone else without my knowledge. The original is above. I have decided to keep both. The truth is I and meany others understand “great” in the Trumpian context to mean “white.”


My bones ache with the memories of white women’s betrayal encoded in their marrow.

Plantation mistresses equally responsible for the rape and ravagement of black girls and women, spinning their savagery into black gold, ever lighter. Brutalizing, burning, maiming, cutting, blinding, disfiguring enslaved black women for having been raped by their husbands, fathers, brothers, sons. Choosing white privilege and white supremacy over humanity and solidarity. And calling it Christian. Their betrayal is in my bones. Passed down through the wombs of my mothers. It greets me in the mirror in my less-than-black black skin.

Suffragettes whose commitment to women’s right to vote included black women as long as it was understood they were there on suffrage and they and their men would be sent to the hungry arms of lynch mobs if their forgot their place, behind white women.

Too many colleagues and coworkers from too many jobs, white before feminist, white before woman, white before colleague, white before scholar, white before administrator. White before all. 

And let us not forget the Church and its good Christian white women. My sisters in Christ. White bread and white Jesus surround you reminding you that you and your lily white skin are created in the image of the white god fantasized and fetishized by your fathers.

Are you my sister?

Or does your whiteness preclude you from seeing me in my blackness as human?

Do not tell me that you are my sister.

You have already shown me who you are.

9 Responses

  1. We white women have so much work to do on ourselves. Thank you for this powerful lament. I can’t get past the fact that half of us voted for Trump. We have internalized our own oppression in an astounding way, and, until we heal and grow, we keep participating in creating pain for other people.

    10 November 2016 at 9:33 am

  2. Joycelin Randle

    All of this!

    10 November 2016 at 9:52 am

  3. I can’t help being born white any more than you can help being born black. I so want to be your sister; and am so sorry and so disgusted by behavior of whites against so many.

    10 November 2016 at 11:40 am

  4. Anna Parr

    Thank you for teaching us to be human.

    10 November 2016 at 4:00 pm

  5. Powerful.
    On a side not though, the pic of the women in the t-shirts is actually photo shopped. Not that the word ‘great’ isn’t code for white anyway. lol

    11 November 2016 at 12:53 am

  6. Diane

    What a powerful statement. They don’t realize they are speaking the oppressor’s language. We need to keep praying and believing for a revelation to manifest itself.

    11 November 2016 at 10:31 am

  7. Wil, as always, I am grateful for your voice.

    11 November 2016 at 6:44 pm

  8. Hearing your lament. Holding your rebuke. Owning my own mangled, dangerous history. Praying with my legs, my hands, my fully-embodied voice. I cannot change your present pain, yet I promise with all that I am to work for your rights, your safety, and the beautiful, blessed, wondrous, powerful gift of your life. (And if you prefer this space to be held only by People of Color, please feel free to remove this comment.)

    12 November 2016 at 10:30 am

  9. Ginger Tansil

    I wish you were speaking in Detroit

    6 December 2016 at 4:55 pm

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