White Privilege Conference (WPC) wanting to keep the press out for obvious reasons

WPC organizers reacted very poorly to the discovery that this year’s conference was being reported on from inside. This is unsurprising, since WPC has attempted to totally ban reporters from covering its proceedings and has actively kept them out in the past.

It must not surprise you why it was kept secretly for the press the previous years. When you look at the debates it is clear we should seriously pose several questions by the speakers invited and by the set up of that conference.

Today there is a renewed attack (in the Western world) on anything to do with believing there is a God, a Creator of any kind!

There are even people who hold conferences to make it clear to others that almost every dysfunction in society, from racism and sexism to global warming and a weak economy, is united by the ideology of ‘Christian hegemony.’ That is at least what a lecturer at the 2016 White Privilege Conference (WPC) claimed.

Believers are again open to ridicule. Academics, who are confident they have the answer (or at least acceptable opinions) to everything about how the world began, compete among themselves for the “glory” they can receive from each other and from the public with their notions. Some also want others to believe that all more active believers would be creationists and do not seem to get the difference of believing that there has been a Most High Supreme being ordering everything  and being responsible for the creation.

Contingency, Hegemony, Universality

Contingency, Hegemony, Universality (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Certain people, like Paul Kivel, think Christians “colonize our mind.”
Paul Kivel, is a social justice educator, activist, and writer, who to our mind looks not so social at all but is perhaps an atheist socialist against religion and willing to attack it. Though he claims to be an innovative leader in violence prevention for 35 years, it either looks like he has changed gear or has always loved to set up non-believers against believing people .

He defines Christian hegemony as the

everyday, pervasive, and systematic set of Christian values and beliefs, individuals and institutions that dominate all aspects of our society through the social, political, economic, and cultural power they wield. Nothing is unaffected by Christian hegemony (whether we are Christian or not) including our personal beliefs and values, our relationships to other people and to the natural environment, and our economic, political, education, health care, criminal/legal, housing, and other social systems. {Christian hegemony}

For him

All people who are not Christian, as well as most people who are, experience social, political, and economic exploitation, violence, cultural appropriation, marginalization, alienation and constant vulnerability from the dominance of Christian power and values in our society. {Christian hegemony}

It looks like Christendom and/or Christianity (though he constantly refers to Christianity) is/are the badness of this world.

The internalization of dominant western Christian beliefs and values by individuals in our society seems to bring all badness into the world and being the cause of the present problems we have with fundamental Muslims. but it seems also to be in participial white Christian men who are dominating this world and causing inequality and injustice.

He writes

Another level of Christian dominance is within the power elite, the network of 7-10,000 predominantly white Christian men who control the largest and most powerful social, political, economic, and cultural institutions in the country. And finally there is the level which provides the foundation for all the others – the long and deep legacy of Christian ideas, values, practices, policies, icons, and texts that have been produced within dominant western Christianity over the centuries. That legacy continues to shape our language, culture, beliefs, and values and to frame public and foreign policy decisions. {Christian hegemony}

He even wants us tot believe, that we believers are blind. It is true that we cannot go without all those companies and organisations which have their say in our communities and that economical as well as political parties want to have everything in their hands. But we think it over the top, him saying

Christian dominance has become so invisible that its manifestations appear to be secular, i.e. not religious. In this context, the phrase “secular Christian dominance” might be most appropriate, Christian hegemony under the guise of secularism. Of course, there are many forms of Christian fundamentalism which are anything but secular. Often fundamentalists want to create some kind of theocratic state. But the more mainstream, everyday way that dominant Christian values and institutions influence our lives and communities is less evident, although no less significant and certainly not limited to fundamentalists. {Christian hegemony}

According to him Christian leaders have established an annual holiday cycle that extols US militarism/ triumphalism, the nuclear family, consumerism and whiteness. Perhaps he is so much focussed on the U.S.A. that he does not see the holidays of other countries and mistakenly takes many heathen holidays as Christian holidays, though it mostly are also the heathen people who celebrate those and try to lure Christians to celebrate with them.

The holiday cycle which he presents on his website present many secular holidays which he presents as so called holidays of Christianity though Christianity argues a lot against the celebration of those feasts. But we do agree in Christendom we see many people with the name Christian celebrating those heathen festivals as so called Christian holidays.

English: Painting of Christopher Columbus. The...

Painting of Christopher Columbus. The painting Virgen de los Navegantes (in the Sala de los Almirantes, Royal Alcazar, Seville). A painting by Alejo Fernández between 1505 and 1536. It is the only state sponsored portrait of the First Admiral of the Indias called Don Cristoval Colon known today as Christopher Columbus in English. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For him those holidays downplays the violence in our history, holding up a few white Christian men, such as Christopher Columbus and his American presidents,

for uncritical praise and emphasizes faith, family and country.

he writes and continues:

For many in the US, this cycle has come to seem traditional, even though it is constantly recreated and most of the holidays originated within the last 150 years. For some, these holidays have come to feel familiar, unifying and just plain American even though for millions of others they can be painful and alienating. Most of our national holidays are seen as secular, even though their underpinnings are deeply Christian. Even Christmas and Easter are viewed as secular by many. (I have been told that the phrase Merry Christmas in bold letters on the public buses in my
city is not religious but merely a general holiday greeting.)

It looks like he does not know that Jesus was not at all born on the 25th of December and that all the traditions people flirt with have nothing to do at all with the birth of Christ nor with God, and are an abomination in the eyes of God, of which a real Christian should abstain.

That New Year’s day for Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Chinese, Vietnamese, Mayans and many Native peoples happens at other times of the annual cycle, has nothing to do with Christianity not with Christendom but with choosing an other calendar system.

The fact that western countries imposed this calendar worldwide, even though those in the West are a minority in the world, is never acknowledged.

he writes, but we do think that is a matter of choosing a time indication where the West has chosen to keep to that Gregorian calendar, even after some countries tried the Napoleonic calendar for some time, but whatever calendar they would choose always there would be people able to complain about the system chosen.

We do not see any reason at all why not to say “Happy Chinese New Year” or “Happy Jewish New Year”, like we do in the West of Europe? He should know that these other calendars are also culturally specific and that everybody is free to follow one or the other and that nobody would mind you saying “Happy New Year” when it is a new year for that person.
For us this article is written on the 12th of Nisan, 5776 but in the West most people would not know about which day we are talking therefore we also use the common general practised calendar indicating that it is today April the 20th of the year 2016 of the common Era (CE). For us on 22 April (Taanit Bechorot) Friday night we are looking at the 14th of Nisan, 5776 going to celebrate the Passover, the “Feast of Unleavened Bread” Erev Pesach and on the 23rd the 15th of Nisan, 5776 we look at the holiday yomtov, being part of the “Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread”or “Pesach I”, having on Sunday the 1st day of the Omer (or Pesach II) the period between Passover and Shavuʿot, the 16th of Nisan of the year 5776. {The holiday of Pesach, or Passover, is an annual week long festival commemorating the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt and slavery. Before the main festival begins for the Jews, the Christians remember the night that Jesus came together with his apostles for the Last Supper and announcement of the installation of the New Covenant. for us this 14 th of Nisan is the most important day of the year and precedes the Pesach festival which begins on the 15th day of the Hebrew calendar month of Nisan — which derives its name from the passing over of the homes of the Israelite slaves during the tenth plague. It is that liberation and the liberation by Christ that we should remember for ever.} Next year the Passover shall be on Monday, April 10 and in 2018 on Friday, March 30.
But this is all about arrangements and agreements and depending on which calendar you want to base your daily activities.

For economical and practical reasons an agreement has to be made to use what calendar and what to consider the first day of the week: Thursday (certain Hindus), Friday (like Muslims), Friday night – Saturday night or Sabbath (like the Jews), or the week beginning on Sunday or Monday, as such beginning the day at 00.00 hours or when the sun gets down. Here you may find calendars beginning the week with Sunday and others ending with the weekend (which I personally find more practical).
It is true that

holidays can be destructive when they celebrate war or colonialism, are promoted aggressively or when corporations use them to promote values hostile to our environment and us. {The Christian Holiday Cycle}

For sure we need to think seriously about what we celebrate and why, who is included or excluded in the celebration and what values are implicitly or explicitly communicated. But we never should condemn certain groups of people if they want to celebrate certain days, though it is our duty to point out to Christians what they are celebrating and which festivals are alright to take part in and which not.

For Kivel the choice of calendar use and the days celebrated shows the dominance of a certain group and the normalization of such a group.

It is said that WPC takes tremendous pains to protect everybody’s feelings, but this year many toes were stepped on. To ensure a gender non-conforming person isn’t labeled with a wayward “he,” attendees are asked to always introduce themselves with their name and their pronoun set. Presenters routinely ask for anybody to pipe up if they’re triggered by a presentation, and will apologize if such a complaint arises. Almost half the conference revolves around microaggressions and how to avoid them or defuse them.

A major part of WPC are the daily caucuses, where attendees segregate themselves by race and talk through their feelings on white privilege. They were assembled collectively beforehand and assigned to a specific smaller room ‘because of the large number of white people in attendance’. Organizers warned they could start physically exerting their white privilege by walking too aggressively and not paying heed to their surroundings. If attendees weren’t careful, they said, they risked getting in the way of non-white attendees who would have no choice but to shy away and debase themselves before these barreling vectors of overwhelming privilege.

Disaffected participants in the 2016 White Privilege Conference (WPC) have taken to Twitter to complain that the conference was, ironically, too white and was actually filled to the brim with white supremacy. Adopting the hashtag #WPCSoWhite, inspired by the recent #OscarsSoWhite campaign, Twitter users claimed the conference that was supposed to battle white privilege instead served to entrench it. The tag appears to have been started and pushed with particular vigour by Aeriel Ashlee, an education consultant who attended WPC and objected to several parts of a keynote address delivered by (white) historian James Loewen. Some of his comments where even described as “deeply offensive and traumatizing.”

More than 700 Barbie dolls are displayed during an exhibition which takes place from March 10 to September 18, 2016.       (MATTHIEU ALEXANDRE/AFP/Getty Images)Frederick Gooding, Jr., who styles himself as “The Race Doctor” gave a half-comedic, half-serious lecture intended to point out various moments of subtle white supremacy and white privilege throughout the past year. Near the end of his address, Gooding went after Hollywood for the recently-released film “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which features three Caucasian heroes in the form of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.

“I have a quota where it’s just a little too much whiteness, I gotta tap out,”

the Doctor said to a laughing audience.

“One white hero at a time, I can kinda take that, but you have two of them … but then, the White Man said, we gonna show you something. And they throw in a white woman!”

For people discussing other folks it may not be easy today how to call them. All sorts of new terms have to be looked for to talk about people with an other skin colour or with an other faith. In this time of many fleeing from the Middle East and from Africa for discussing different terms are looked for, and one term which could be right at one time a few weeks later may be considered totally wrong to be used.  Undocumented immigrants may still be called “illegals” despite the fact that this also could be a highly inaccurate and pejorative term.  Whether intentional or accidental, the use of such terms has shaped public opinion on immigration policy.  Of course, not everyone who uses these terms intends to colour undocumented immigrants with the stigma that these terms carry with them.  Today the phrase “illegal immigrant” is by many considered

decidedly not okay

During a workshop titled “Nativism 101,” on the topic of immigration and the groups opposed to it, one attendee objected to another’s use of the term “undocumented immigrant.”

Instead of illegal or undocumented, the woman proposed that such immigrants be labeled

“unauthorized immigrants.”

Unauthorised where those who brought out photographs and texts from this conference where very high income prizes where charged, as if the poor people and immigrants ever would be able to pay such fees.

Dividing the people in categories for the debates Kivel finds it are the Christians who divide people and put them in hierarchical order. For him it is in-acceptable that there would be a

“God over people, men over women, parents over children, white people over people of colour,”

inevitably creating systems that justify and even glorify oppression, but was he and the organisers not doing just that?

 

Please do read also:

  1. The 17th annual White Privilege Conference a militantly Christophobic conference held in Philadelphia
  2. White Privilege Conference Attendees Complain Conference Is Too White
  3. White Privilege Conference: Almost Everything Bad Is Tied To Christianity
  4. 7 Things That Offended People At The White Privilege Conference

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