My kind of theology doesn’t talk much about demons.
I am much more comfortable with an intellectual analysis of problematic systems. I tend to carefully examine all of the constituent historical pieces that, put together, cause such prevalent harm in our society – and I can rationally explain how each of us is bound up in those systems, for some by choice and for many of us unwillingly, but inescapably.
But in reading this morning about the terrible killing of Ahmaud Arbery, who was targeted for #joggingwhileblack in Brunswick, GA . . .
and in thinking about how the federal government is ready to dismantle the COVID task force now that it’s clear that the virus’s primary class of victims are black and brown (or elderly or imprisoned or disabled or otherwise considered disposable in a profit-focused society) . . .
and seeing the video of a black woman slammed to the floor in a local Walmart for non-compliance with a mask ordinance (yes, by a black officer – but we are well aware that the system weaponizes people of color against one another) (and yes, people should absolutely be wearing masks, but non-compliance is widespread and the escalation captured in that video cannot be the answer) . . .
it sits on my heart that white supremacy is a demon.
It is our country’s dearest demon.
It is pervasive and powerful, but it does not have to be.
The problem is that we are much more inclined to exercise it than exorcise it.
As a nation – and as individual agents of white supremacy – we owe due repentance as an active material and spiritual practice.
We have to commit – and indefatigably re-commit – to exorcising white supremacy from our own souls, from our relationships with one another, and from our systems of governance, commerce, and culture.
To do otherwise is to assent to the flourishing of evil – and while I know there are people who gleefully traffic in venality – no one I know – none of you out there reading this – wants to be a perpetrator of evil. I know I don’t.
White supremacy is a demon. It’s a demon when it’s polite and subtle. It’s a demon when it’s seductively comforting. It’s a demon when it’s happily bloody from terrible enacted violence.
White supremacy is a demon.
It’s our demon.