I do not know very much about black churches in general, but in general they do not trigger me despite the fact that they tend to have a Protestant flavor to them like the traumatizing variants of Christianity that I was exposed to. There are exceptions – individual black Christians may trigger me, and individual white Christians may not trigger me – but this is a general pattern I have noticed.
My Event involved only white Christians – I was trying to bring up a memory with a single person of color in it, but there were none. Every single person there was white. White supremacy and cultural appropriation was all around me during my Event. Like – people seemed genuinely surprised that the native american tribe that their activity group was named after had once existed and was not simply a myth. Even though we were on that particular tribe’s former homeland! So, personally, I am triggered by white protestant Christianity, especially white supremacist, more than other flavors.
I feel like there is a stereotype of the Angry White Atheist who goes around telling black people that they are stupid for worshipping God. And that’s, unfortunately, true a lot of the time – there are a shitload of racist-as-fuck white atheists. For example, white gay people who think that homophobia from black churches are the enemy. Which is not true at all for several reasons. And, given the historical trauma that the black community has gone through – I can see why black churches would be important to some people in ways that are different than white supremacist churches.
(Unfortunately, when I tried to explain that I don’t get triggered by black Christians to a previous therapist – a white woman – she had this instant reaction and cut me off before I could put my swirling feelings into words. I think she thought I was racist because I wasn’t colorblind. Which, I don’t know. My personal gut tells me that that’s not the case, given what I have been through, but I don’t have an objective person to check me on that. I’d appreciate a PM if I’m talking about all this in a wrongheaded way though.)
In general, religious people who are non-triggering for me see religion as part of a culture or as part of one’s individual spirituality, rather as than this one size fits all solution that the entire globe should adopt. For this reason, Shirley from Community can actually be a little triggering at times, even though she is a black Christian, because she has that latter attitude and is rather evangelical about her beliefs – but she is a genuinely good person otherwise that I am overall okay with her. And it seems like Christianity genuinely does comfort her. It’s complex.
Evangelical black Christians exist, but there are many people who are in church simply to hang out with their neighbors and perhaps to express their individual love for Jesus. And like – sometimes black churches are the only “safe” place where the community can gather. (Safe from white supremacy, I mean.)
When I went to a “feed the poor” event at a black church and saw afrocentric history books in the pews alongside the Bible, I realized that that particular church is one of the only places that teaches afrocentric history, period, in this area. I don’t know how common this is in black churches, but seeing that made me even less inclined to say, “that church shouldn’t exist.” It adds immense value to some people’s lives. I am an outsider, but black churches seem like they are a relatively “safe place” from the horrors of white supremacy, now and in the past.
I do feel like it’s a little screwed-up that black churches are sometimes the only “safe place,” but that’s because white supremacism has forced that to occur in many communities – historically and today. It is not black people’s fault for being “gullible” or whatever bullshit Angry White Atheists decided to spew today; it is our fault for forcing black people into the extremely controlling environment of slavery so that they first had to pretend that their religion was Christianity. Then, when so many years passed that the religion truly was Christianity, church was still the safest place in the area, the only place to escape the White all around – but still not 100% safe, as evidenced by things like the Tuscaloosa bombing. So, it is not my place as a white atheist to tell black people whether or not to go to church. That’s an internal issue within the black community.
I wonder if there are many fundamentalist black Christians out there? I cannot see how fundamentalist Christianity Southern Baptist style would be remotely attractive to any black person, especially given things like the long history of the interplay between the KKK and white churches. The southern baptist website says that they condemn racism, but pfft, what bullshit.
And, lol, my first google result when I tried to find “black fundamentalist Christians” was a white fundie dude saying that he has never heard churches preach race-hate, even in “mixed” congregations, therefore, liberals unfairly vilify fundies. eyeroll.gif – I guess that that answers my question. It’s odd how I can read the word “liberal” in other contexts in my own voice, then, when I read it in the fundie context, I hear how people back there said “liberal” – with so much hate loaded into that word.
But yeah, when I think of black fundamentalists, I think of religions like fundamentalist Islam. (Which definitely is not mainstream Islam – not everyone wearing a hijab is a religious extremist ffs!!!) Which, you know, it’s such a hypocritical double standard. Why do we vilify fundamentalist Islam halfway around the world when we have fundamentalist Christianity right here in this country doing so much damage. Now and historically. After all, most KKK members were Good Church Men, and still are. Let’s get our shit together already before we try to change the world.