Megachurch pastor faces backlash for trying to reframe white privilege as 'white blessing'

In today's episode of WTF America, a pastor of an Atlanta megachurch tried to make an argument that the benefits white Americans got from slavery were blessings.

In what was billed as "an honest conversation about race and the Church" on June 14, Passion City Church pastor Louie Giglio talked with Chick-fil-a CEO Dan Cathy and rapper Lecrae. And in the course of their conversation, Giglio somehow ended up referring to "the curse of slavery" as "the blessing of slavery" when talking about how white people benefited from it. (This should go without saying, but if you ever find the words "the blessing of slavery," coming out of your mouth, you need to stop talking immediately.)

Giglio then went further and tried to reframe the concept of white privilege—the reality that white people have racial benefits in a society where white people have always held the power—as "white blessing."

Why? Because, he says, the phrase "white privilege" trips a lot of white people up. So calling it "white blessing" somehow...helps?

Needless to say, it didn't go over very well.


People rightly pointed out that using the word "blessing" in relation to slavery is, well, peak white supremacy.

"White privilege" makes people uncomfortable, so let's change the wording to something that will further entrench white people in denial and make them think that somehow the benefits of slavery were divinely ordained favors bestowed upon white people? Isn't that what "blessing" literally means?

Thinking you can rename a relatively benign phrase because it rubs some white people the wrong way is also, ironically, an example of white privilege in action.

Giglio has apologized for his word choice, stating that he was "not seeking to refer to slavery as blessing—but that we are privilege because of the curse of slavery...word choice wasn't great. Trying to help us see society is built on the dehumanization of others. My apology, I failed."

Indeed. Having the hard conversations about race and racism is good, and white folks are prone to stepping into an unconscious sense of superiority in those conversations. But a pastor with a huge platform—who is seen by congregants as a man sharing God's word—calling the benefits of slavery a "blessing" is over-the-top problematic. Even if his intention in the conversation was pure, even if his heart was in the right place, that message is worthy of condemnation.

Lacrae posted a video on Instagram responding to the controversial clip, which is important to hear:

Instead of trying to reframe reality to cater to white people's comfort, let's have a conversation about the audacity of white people losing their minds over a two-word phrase while people of color have to deal with the ongoing stress of subtle and blatant individual, systemic and institutional racism. The longer we try to keep white people comfortable, the longer it's going to take to deal with the issue of racism in our society.

You can watch the entirety of the June 14 conversation here:

The Beloved Community - Dan Cathy, Lecrae, Louie Giglio www.youtube.com

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.