Professor Khyati Joshi in a recent lecture claimed that “white Christian privilege” is behind slavery, genocide, and colonialism in the U.S.
The lecture took place at Rutgers University’s Center for Security, Race and Rights on September 9. Joshi, who teaches at Fairleigh Dickinson University, discussed what she described as the privilege of Christians, as well as white Christians in the U.S., “a product of systemic religious oppression over the history of this country.”
The “overarching theme is always white Christian privilege or white Christian supremacy” but “on a certain level, Hispanic Catholics have Christian privilege.”
She also asserted that Christianity played a part in “in the construction of whiteness” and one of the slides used in the presentation focused on “white Christian supremacy.” According to Joshi, this is evident in the Christian hegemony and normativity in the U.S.
Christian privilege is “built into the edifice” of the U.S. legal system, she said, according to College Fix, whose representative(s) attended the lecture.
In addition to Christian privilege, Joshi argued that in the U.S., there is Protestant Christian” privilege “because the United States has a long and drawn-out history of anti-Catholicism.”
Another sign of Christian privilege, Joshi said, is how courts treat non-Christian religious cases. She cited three cases, including Goldman v. Weinberger, Employment Division v. Smith, and Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery. The first case focused on an Orthodox Jewish military officer who wanted to wear a yarmulke during service. The Supreme Court did not allow it. In the third case, the Supreme Court ruled that the government can harvest trees or build roads on sacred Native American sites.
The solution? Joshi suggested religious minorities should embrace and acknowledge the Christian culture by wishing “Merry Christmas” instead of saying “Happy Holidays” to their Christian friends. This approach, she said, might prompt Christians to start recognizing holidays they don’t celebrate.
We’re not going to make change only listening. We have to get close to some of the challenges we need to solve” and look into the “sphere of influence,” she said.
Worth noting: Earlier this year, Joshi published a book called “White Christian Privilege: The Illusion of Religious Equality in America.” According to the description, the book argues that the U.S. promise of “religious freedom for all” is an “illusion.”
“Religious minorities still struggle for recognition and for the opportunity to be treated as fully and equally legitimate members of American society. From the courtroom to the classroom, their scriptures and practices are viewed with suspicion, and bias embedded in centuries of Supreme Court rulings create structural disadvantages that endure today,” the description reads.
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Author: Penka Arsova
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