White megachurch pastor Louie Giglio has been condemned for calling slavery a “white blessing” during a live church service with Chik-Fil-A founder Dan Cathy and rapper Lecrae. Giglio is a pastor at Passion City Church in Atlanta, Georgia, and founder of the Passion City Movement.
In the conversation, Giglio argued that the phrase “white privilege” should be swapped out for “white blessing.” Giglio said, “We understand the curse that was slavery, white people do, and we say ‘that was bad,’ but we miss the blessing of slavery that it actually built up the framework for the world that white people live in and lived in.”
Giglio’s racist comments generated an immediate wave of criticism. He has since tweeted the following apology: “… not seeking to refer to slavery as blessing-but that we are privileged because of the curse of slavery. In calling it a privilege/benefit/blessing— word choice wasn’t great. Trying to help us see society is built on the dehumanization of others. My apology, I failed.”
Here’s what you need to know:
WATCH: Giglio Argues for the Phrase ‘White Blessing’ & Suggests Slavery Was a Gift for White People
Pastor Louie Giglio, rapper Lecrae and Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy "had an honest conversation about race and the Church" on June 14.
Here's an example of why words and their meanings matter.
"White Privilege" vs. "White Blessings" pic.twitter.com/VkSP6RP0t1
— Nicola A. Menzie (@namenzie) June 16, 2020
During the live church service on June 14, Giglio talked for about 20 minutes alongside Lecrae and Cathy before the topic of “white blessings” came up.
Giglio opened the topic by explaining, “I feel like on the inside of the church we’re fighting this historical context you [Lecrae] talk about. In other words, we love the blessing of the cross but we don’t love to sit in it and realize this is what God’s asking me to do, to die to myself, and live for him, whatever context that’s going to look like for me.”
But I want to flip that upside down because I think the other side of it is true with our nation’s history. We understand the curse that was slavery, white people do, and we say ‘that was bad,’ but we miss the blessing of slavery that it actually built up the framework for the world that white people live in and lived in… a lot of people call this ‘white privilege’ and when you say those two words it’s like a fuse goes off for a lot of white people because they don’t want somebody telling them to check their privilege.
Giglio then clarified how he would use “white blessing” contextually in a sentence. He said, “I am living in a [white] blessing of the curse that happened generationally that allowed me to grow up in Atlanta.”
Giglio referenced how black people in Atlanta “didn’t have equal rights” at the time that he was born, pointing out how recently black people have been given unequal treatment under the law. Throughout this clip, Lecrae nodded in agreement with Giglio’s comments. Cathy was not visible in the screen.
Neither Lecrae nor Cathy Has Addressed Giglio’s ‘White Blessing’ Comments
I’m off Twitter today but I want to address folks in my mentions about my exchange last night with @Lecrae.
Folks are asking if I watched the entire video. I did. Lecrae does not pushback on the notion of “white blessing”. He actually begins to use it interchangeably afterwards.
— Candice Marie Benbow (@CandiceBenbow) June 16, 2020
Although Lecrae and Cathy didn’t argue with Giglio’s comments about “white blessings,” and neither of them has given a public statement about the uproar. They also haven’t clarified their opinions on Giglio’s comments.
Lecrae’s presence on that stage in particular has inspired outrage because he is a black man. One person tweeted that his apparent agreement was reminiscent of Kanye West’s remarks about slavery being a “choice.”
Though the rapper has not given a public statement on the idea of “white blessings,” he did briefly interact with someone on Twitter who criticized his behavior. He said in part, “I can understand your vantage point. I mean no disrespect. If you were at all familiar with my story you’d know my intentions are NOT to be accepted by white culture.”