Growing up, Matt Chandler’s education primarily consisted of learning about “people that looked like [him].” Chandler, who describes himself as being from a “lower class, Anglo family,” says he realized he was seeing the world through a “lens” of white privilege.
“Almost all my understanding of what made America great is because of efforts and the work ethic of people like me,” Chandler says in a video addressed to his congregation. Chandler, who is the pastor of The Village Church located in a suburb of the Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas area, says he identifies with the cliche of “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps.” However, Chandler began to realize that he had grown up with an “invisible tool kit” of privilege that “a lot of brothers and sisters” don’t possess.
Yes, This Is About White Privilege
Speaking plainly, he explains he’s talking about the controversial subject of white privilege and asks his viewers not to shut out his words. Nothing makes Anglos angrier than a conversation about white privilege, Chandler suggests.
Chandler explains that white privilege is not overt racism. Rather, it is the experience of belonging to the predominant culture. In America, Chandler explains, we often gloss over the contributions of other ethnicities to the forming and building of our nation. We might study Black History in the month of February, for instance, but that is insufficient at best. He also gives the example of looking for a book for a child that features a main character that is his or her same ethnicity; it’s hard to find unless you’re white.
The problem with this type of subtle privilege, Chandler warns, is that if we don’t allow the gospel to purify our hearts, we’ll begin to judge harshly those who cannot get where we are. This is a terrible place to sit, Chandler warns.
However, he’s not saying being white is a bad thing. “We don’t need to feel bad about our experience in the predominant culture, we just need to be aware of it so it doesn’t shape how we interact with the world around us,” Chandler says.
Concluding his thoughts on race, Chandler says we all need to identify with the race of Christ:
We know, when all is said and done, there are sons of Adam and sons of God. There are those who have sinned and are outside the covenant promises, and there are those that have been bought by the blood of Christ and are inside the covenant promises. When all is said and done, there is the race of Adam and the race of Christ. We’re going to identify with the race of Christ—regardless of skin color.
We want to live in such a way that shows that we understand that God has brought together in Christ men and women from every tribe, tongue, and nation on earth every ethnicity, every language, every culture, and it’s created a new culture of mutual submission and joy in the differences found in one another as it rounds us out more as the people of God.
The video is far from being exhaustive on the subject of white privilege—perhaps deliberately so. Chandler often brings up hot-button topics in these video-vignettes that seem to be designed to spur discussion more than provide definitive answers.