The Challenges in Addressing White Normativity

By Kathy Winings

One of the greatest challenges facing the global community is humanity’s inability to live in authentic relationships with those considered to be “other,” to create what Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., called the “beloved community.”

Such a community, though it has seemed like an unattainable dream, is where all are equal in value, respected and loved, and in which there is no poverty, need or fear of the other, regardless of race, culture, religion, or gender.

Instead of enjoying authentic relationships, we continue to witness xenophobia, intolerance and discrimination due to our fears, perceptions and fallen nature that have helped create our hegemonic systems privileging one group of people over another.

In the United States, our xenophobic fears and intolerant attitudes, stemming from our history, have resulted in a society heavily focused on white privilege, white supremacy and systemic racism.

In other parts of the world, people’s fears and intolerance have focused on the large-scale influx of refugees and immigrants from Africa and the Middle East throughout Eastern and Western Europe; or the issue of the First Nations People in Canada; the aboriginal peoples in Australia; or, the tensions between Dominicans and Haitians on the shared Caribbean island of Hispaniola, to name a few.

Thus white normativity is an issue requiring our immediate attention. Otherwise, we will continue to hurt the hearts of these “others.” Religious, racial and ethnic disunity and conflict is one of the three headaches defined by Reverend and Mrs. Moon.

In speaking of white normativity, privilege and supremacy, it is important to clarify one’s definition of these terms and their interrelatedness.

White normativity is the defining of cultural practices, attitudes, assumptions, and ideologies in the wider society and culture using the white culture as the standard, the norm.  White privilege is similar in that there are freedoms, advantages, benefits, access, and opportunities whites enjoy — consciously and unconsciously — that are not necessarily enjoyed to the same degree by other ethnicities. White supremacy refers to the system of structural or societal racism that privileges whites, whether or not there is racial hatred present. Regardless of the term used, this is a serious issue in creating a beloved community.

This problem has also continued to haunt our faith-based communities. We have been unable to adequately and fully address white normativity or, using a more common term, whiteness. Whiteness refers to all the ways in which the white culture maintains its privileged status and dominance over and above all other ethnicities and cultures. Gender is also included as a target of whiteness because the aspect of difference of non-whites and of women is both grounded in the physical body. For gender, the added rationale of whiteness is that the normative culture being emphasized in whiteness and white supremacy is that of the white male.

One would think that if any group of people could begin to disentangle and ultimately dismantle white normativity it would be the faith-based community. But often it is the religious community that has been in a position to maintain the system of white supremacy and privilege — consciously or unconsciously. Why? What makes it so difficult for men and women of faith to effectively address white normativity? There are several reasons.

Luther Smith, professor emeritus at Candler School of Theology, comes at the issue from the perspective of racism. He notes three key reasons we have not been able to effectively address or eradicate racism. First, “Racism persists because its oppressive tenets are woven throughout the whole fabric of American history.” If that is not enough, Smith notes that racism continues “because a large segment of the population benefits from it.” Whiteness scholars hold similar views of racism, noting its pervasiveness is persistent because of the economic, social and political privileges that accrue to whites. Finally, Smith believes racism is allowed to continue simply because it “relies upon it having the personal commitment of some and the inaction of many.”

The subtleties of racism are so deeply intertwined with our thinking, actions, behaviors, attitudes, culture, and way of life that simply stating we are one family under God or that one no longer sees the color of the other’s skin is not enough to address racism and white normativity effectively.

At a recent panel session on racism with senior administrators of theological schools and seminaries, a question was raised in reference to the Black Lives Matter! movement: “But don’t all lives matter?” An African American panelist responded that until people honestly believe that black men and women are equal to whites and that they count, then the point that black lives matter must be addressed first.  I found the point to be profound. To simply state all lives matter glosses over the issue that people of color have not mattered in the same way whites have mattered. Religious people especially like to believe they are color-blind and so they see all people as brothers and sisters under God.

The neuroscientist in me says in answering this question that our neural pathways and “meaning perspectives” are making it difficult for us to change our attitudes and way of being. Neural pathways are composed of the neurons in our brain that communicate around consistent and related themes and concepts. Our meaning perspectives are the frames of reference we have learned to use in assessing meaning in all situations.

Because the process of making meaning is based on both content we learn and our experiences, culture, family, and stories we experience, it is not enough to cognitively learn about the evils of racism, intolerance and xenophobia in order to change our behavior. These pathways and meaning perspectives have been subtly shaped over time. Once a neural pathway has been shaped, it is continually reinforced subconsciously and unconsciously at times. Therefore it cannot be erased or somehow quarantined like a computer virus just because we wish it to disappear or want it to stop influencing our meaning-making processes.

Neural pathways and meaning perspectives need to be actively pruned and consciously addressed, while also forming new perspectives and new neural pathways. It must be an intentional process that involves learning new concepts and ways of being on all levels — cognitively, emotionally and experientially — to form new neural pathways and prune old pathways through not behaving as before and not focusing on the same rhetoric and content as in the past.

Whiteness scholars talk about the oppressive tenets of racism being interwoven throughout our history and embedded within the fabric of our society; each one of us has been subtly shaped and reshaped by this experience over time. Our neural pathways and meaning perspectives become so strongly reinforced and continually reshaped over time that we are often not fully aware of what has contributed to our views toward racism and race. Only when we are challenged to critically reflect, openly discuss our perspectives, and deeply internalize concepts around race will we be able to begin to unravel white normativity, privilege and racism. This does not happen overnight.

Robin DiAngelo, author, professor and consultant in the area of whiteness studies and social justice, presents another perspective for why it is so difficult for us to effectively address the issue of white normativity and racism. She puts forth the concept of “white fragility” as a key block to disentangling white privilege and racism. White fragility is a “state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves.” She notes the reason for such a defensive action is to “reinstate white racial equilibrium.” Race and ethnicity scholars Michael Omi and Howard Winant, in their book Racial Formation in the United States, use the term “habitus” when speaking of the embeddedness of white privilege such that it has generated clear perceptions, practices and a sense of social subjectivity.

But when someone tries to question or challenge the order of things — the habitus — it creates disequilibrium, which then becomes uncomfortable at best and intolerable at worst. White fragility becomes a way to deal with the disequilibrium, a way to return to what is known racially, and to restore the habitus. This is heard through a variety of responses.  Common responses from the perspective of white fragility to challenges that one’s comments or actions could be perceived as racist include: “I am not racist. I am a good person;” “You’re playing the race card;” “That’s an example of racial politics;” or, “I’ve been a victim of reverse racism.” Similar statements are made if the challenge concerned is sexism.

Some may question whether those of color and women may not also have formed their own neural pathways around being victims that may impact their perceptions. While there is some truth to that point, the dominant issue is discrimination has been based on real acts of racial intolerance and discrimination in the past, and we can expect to have similar experiences in the present and future until we begin to effectively address systemic racism, white normativity and white privilege. The fact remains that victims of whiteness are not the majority and so do not have the same degree of power as that of the dominant culture.

Another expression of white fragility includes affirmations we live in a color-blind or post-racial world, pointing to Barack Obama’s presidency as proof. While we might believe this is a nice dream, the reality is we do not live in a world in which racism is no longer an issue. We have not gone beyond a superficial understanding and simple view of toleration and acceptance. In addition, to say we are color-blind is not healthy. For one, it shields us from recognizing the ill effects of racism and white normativity. Second, it communicates there is something negative about being associated with color and that there is no value to be a person of color. Finally, being color-blind keeps us blind to ourselves. As education professor Shelly Tochluk describes, if we cannot see the color in someone else, we cannot see the “whiteness” issue in ourselves.

More importantly, rather than living in a color-blind world, we need to encourage a more color-conscious world and encourage what sociologist Parker Palmer calls “communities of truth.” Communities of truth challenge us to get closer to the other and engage in deep discussion and reflection. As law professor Bryan Stevenson suggests, if we are to experience real transformation, we need to be close or proximate to the challenge and willing to embrace discomfort. What would this mean for the challenge of racism and white normativity? We need to dare to engage in discussion and reflection as to how we allow white privilege to continue and how Caucasians continue to benefit from white normativity.

Finally, I surmise another reason it is so difficult for religious men and women to appropriately address white normativity is because of our assumption that because we are religious, we are, therefore, people who are conscious of our sinful natures and are trying to be good, and who could not possibly be guilty of an attitude so antithetical to our scriptural and theological tenets as that of white privilege and whiteness. As faith-based men and women, we see ourselves as basically good people. As good people who love God, we cannot consciously be racist or do anything that could be perceived as racist because we equate that with being a bad person who cannot see his or her sinful or fallen nature. And godly people are not inherently bad or evil. Whether this is an issue of white fragility, or our inability to recognize how we may unconsciously contribute to white privilege, or our inability to recognize how we may have benefited from white privilege, the result is the same — white normativity and white privilege continues.

In the midst of such violent acts as we have witnessed in Ferguson, Charleston, Charlottesville, and most recently, Sutherland Springs (Texas) and New York City, I believe we must remain hopeful and make the effort to seek out the beloved community of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This was what Rev. Moon was all about during his life.  He was never afraid of challenging discussions and to initiate change.

But much more work needs to be done. As men and women of faith, we should not be afraid to follow his example as we dare to engage in the level of deep reflection and discussions around racism, white privilege, white normativity, and whiteness that is needed. Will it be uncomfortable? Yes. Will it be confronting? Yes. Will it be worth it? Absolutely.♦

Dr. Kathy Winings is Professor of Religious Education and Ministry; Director, Maryland Instructional Site; and Director, Doctor of Ministry Program at UTS. She is also Vice President of the Board of Directors for the International Relief Friendship Foundation.

56 thoughts on “The Challenges in Addressing White Normativity

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  1. Thanks for your thoughtful piece, Dr. Winings.

    I have been thinking about this issue a lot lately. Is “Trump’s America” really just White America? But then I realized something: It is indeed White Europeans who brought Christianity to America, and, over time, Jewish Europeans who filled out the creation of the free “Judeo-Christian” culture which built America. Not forgetting the oppression and genocide of the Native Americans who lived here and the forced migration of Africans through slavery, we must nevertheless remember it was these White Europeans who created the Judeo-Christian nation that Rev. Moon so often spoke of and even moved his family here to help revive and protect.

    It seems to me the main issue is not skin color, but culture. At present, the Judeo-Christian culture in America is at risk of being shuttled off to the sidelines as the humanistic forces of “inclusion” and “fairness.” However, the Judeo-Christian root of America is still possible to revive.

    Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon has recently called for a new interfaith organization, the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development, to bring together Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and leaders of all faith traditions in an effort to lead in this time of cultural uncertainty. I believe it is finally time for this to happen, and for the “communities of truth” that you mention to take place in this context — among the religious leaders.

    Hopefully, we can move into a post-racial world where God comes into the hearts of all people. As Dr. King said, we will then assess each other “by the content of our character” rather than the color of our skin.

    1. I especially like the “development” aspect of the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development.

  2. Dr. Winings,

    In the summer of 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., led the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. In a discussion of racial inequality, the perception of white privilege is inseparable from the issue of economic inequality and the shortage of economic opportunity. Although major strides were made by the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the economic fortunes of minorities lagged behind. Dr. King, clergyman and civil rights leader, was fatally shot in Memphis, TN, on April 4, 1968. By the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, the MLK message of racial harmony was swept under the rug.

    Social consciousness would take its focus in new directions towards free market prosperity. This new trend towards higher and higher gains in productivity would have predictable consequences: the gradual growth of an economic underclass with the majority of the underclass being blacks and other minorities. Over the next 40 years, the wealth class consisting of a majority of prosperous whites, would grow until 95% of wealth was concentrated in 1% of the population by current calculations. The issue of white privilege is inseparable from the overwhelming concentration of wealth into a select economic class. The reality of white privilege is grounded in the wide disproportionate distribution of wealth and power into an elite white upper class of society.

    The history of white privilege can be traced back to the age of exploration and the age of colonization. It is a simple fact of history that European and Nordic peoples set up economic colonies throughout the world. Across the globe, by the 20th century, at the height of political, economic, military, and social domination, white Euro-American privilege reigned.

  3. Seeing Unificationism fall hook, line and sinker for the leftist, communist worldview True Father always hammered — is debilitating.

  4. Kathy,

    I have a question. You write, “White normativity is the defining of cultural practices, attitudes, assumptions, and ideologies in the wider society and culture using the white culture as the standard, the norm.”

    Could you explain what you mean by “the white culture”?

    1. Reading her article I was also waiting for her to come up with real world examples of racism or “whiteness.” In my view, we can tackle the problems only as they present themselves in reality, not in abstract thought, theory or opinion. I can’t say “whiteness” absolutely doesn’t exist, but show me where and what it is and let’s work towards solving it.

  5. A couple of excellent points made in this article.

    One is what the author refers to as “white fragility,” referring to a state of mind that is unaware (or in a state of denial) that there is an advantage to being white. If this awareness is lacking, efforts to remediate present and past wrongs are just seen as reverse discrimination.

    The author also refers to “Neural pathways and meaning perspectives that need to be actively pruned and consciously addressed.” This is a tough one. It means our viewpoint has been skewed through stories and historical conditioning such that it has become a natural way to perceive ourselves and the world.

    One might hope the Principle would help us get to that higher ground. But it appears to me, at least, that for the most part, DP hasn’t engaged members with these insights.

    The issue as Henri Schauffler correctly pointed out has been coopted by the humanistic forces of “inclusion” and “fairness.” Shame on us.

  6. The article’s rhetoric used the word “white” 54 times, each time relating this color as a signifier of racism. What does this rhetoric contribute to? It contributes to securing our neural pathways to hearing rhetoric and imaging that overkills or advocates “impaling” white people only, based solely on their “color” and regardless of their orientation, experience or deeds, rather than a concern for positive rhetoric, relationship practices and reconciliation which should be the greater emphasis for peace.

    For consciousness of white racism is often misused for the advocacy of increased resentment and violence, rather than the elimination of racism and violence. Regardless of professed goals and the academic references about groups such as “Black Lives Matter,” their concerns about racism are directly coupled with tactics of violence and destruction. In the incidents of Ferguson, Baltimore and Charlottesville, agitators, oftentimes paid, were sent out-of-state to incite violence and destruction. This is directly contrary to the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi and Rev. Moon, who each advocated non-violence in calling for change and transforming culture.

    So, we must also be aware of the implications, connotations, and misuse of rhetoric and imaging in shaping our neural pathways to violence. In the recent showing of the film documentary, “I Am Not a Negro,” about the life of writer James Baldwin, we find the deliberate attempt by the film director to shape our neural pathways to choose violence, both consciously and unconsciously. Prior to viewing the film, I had already re-read Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time and appreciated his powerful art of oratory and heartfelt pleas for justice and equality for his people. In the details of his text, I also read about his hatred for “whites” coupled with a vehement rejection of Christianity.

    So, it did not surprise me that, while the film captured historic footage of Baldwin’s powerful heartfelt words, the film director not only graphically documented the past history of violence in the 1960’s Civil Rights’ Era, but then went on to drag the viewer through all the recent graphic images of violence from Ferguson, Baltimore, Chicago, etc. Then, the film ends with the narrated words of Baldwin that “if America did not change, we (blacks) will wreck it.”

    After reflecting on the film’s impact, I turned to my African-American writer friend (who went with me to see the documentary,) and we discussed the film. We both marveled at the powerful oratory of Baldwin. I noted that the documentary film about Baldwin and “racist America” made little mention of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s presence in the 1960’s and famous speech, “I had a Dream,” nor of his call for non-violence, a philosophy he was well-known for (as well as his admiration for Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence.) Of course, no mention of the appearance of Rev. Moon in the 1970’s (he admired both Gandhi and King in their philosophy of non-violence and peace) since American media in general manipulated rhetoric and imaging to exclude Rev. Moon’s presence and philosophy from most publicly viewed reports.

    In evaluating the meaning and impact of the film, I detected that the film director had a not so “hidden agenda” to advocate and foment violence, rather than to offer a peaceful alternative. Afterall, the film had ended with the powerful declaration of Baldwin’s words on America, “We will wreck it.” How did my African-American friend respond? Significantly, in response to my comments on a “not so hidden agenda,” she said, “I don’t see it.” (She only saw “how wonderful Baldwin was because he was a famous black orator for black equality.”) Neural pathways?

    1. This is a good observation by Donna regarding neural pathways and assessing people on moral and ethical grounds primarily on race.

      I have long believed that the reason why the progressive left has all but ignored (or rejected) Dr. King’s guidance on racial matters is because although they may love his stand on racial equality, they tend to loathe the faith tradition that inspired Dr. King’s actions as a social justice advocate. James Baldwin’s “vehement rejection of Christianity” is perhaps why the film that Donna cites downplays Dr. King’s role as a social justice advocate.

      It should be noted, too, that when the Civil Rights Act, the Voter Rights and the Fair Housing Act were passed into law, far greater percentages of GOP legislators voted in favor of these bills than their Democratic counterparts.

      There is clearly a double-standard at work here. The left always chides its opponents about how intolerant and unjust it is to blame a particular culture (Islam, the black community, or immigrants) for the heinous acts of an individual, yet these same folks have no problem to claim that the Alt-Right, or the GOP, or “white fragility” are the causes of so many sins of a particular race.

      As David Marcus writes in The Federalist, “Either we get to talk about the cultural influences on gang violence, workplace violence, sexual violence, and domestic violence, or we don’t. Either every mass murderer of any race should enjoy the mentally disturbed ‘quiet one’ identity that the Left accuses the mainstream media of coddling white spree killers with, or nobody deserves it.”

      But having it both ways is a classic example of the left-wing Hegelian dialectic. Any opposing party to progressive orthodoxy must always be wrong — all the time. Resentment is the opiate of the progressive left. Resentment incites divisiveness, rage and retaliation. Progressives trade heavily in resentment, identity politics and “tribalism.”

      As Unificationists we know that healing can only take place when root causes are properly identified and remedied, so until people begin to understand the course and motivation of the Human Fall there can be no real healing.

  7. What an unfortunate piece offered here by Dr. Winings.

    First of all, xenophobia, racism and “intolerant attitudes” are not solely proclivities of the white race or Western culture. As Divine Principle posits, these problems are the result of the human fall and have been part of the human condition for eons. For instance, a case could be made that the Christians and Jews who lived under Muslim rule on the Iberian Peninsula were the victims of “Islamic privilege.” They were known by the ruling Muslim class as dhimmis (alien minority) and “the devil’s party,” and were subjected to excessive taxation. Might we also say that the Edict of Expulsion in 1492 that forced the Jews from Spain was an expression of Spanish/Latino privilege? But why go there when it’s clear from the DP perspective what the root cause is?

    As Bruce S. Thornton asserts in his co-authored book, The Bonfire of the Humanities, it was in the West where the fundamentals of civil liberties “cohered into a system of abstract concepts that could be the subject matter of a rational intellectual tradition,” that ultimately culminated in the Enlightenment. Many of the civil liberties that we take for granted are the progeny of rational, white, European intellectuals of the era. (Of course there has been a persistent strain of anti-Semitism in Europe, but again, that’s fallen nature at play.) Moreover, it has become increasingly clear that as non-Western peoples strive for freedom, dignity, civil rights, and respect, that “the other” is looking to become more Western rather than the Westerner is becoming more “the other.”

    I didn’t know of the various commentators that Dr. Winings cited in her essay, so upon investigation I heard Robin DiAngelo in a YouTube video saying: “The jig is up. All white people are racists…from the way that I’m talking about it.”

    So, no matter what I say, do or think, according to Ms. DiAngelo, am I a de facto racist just because I’m white?

    In another video, Ms. DiAngelo says that the “demand to be seen as an individual outside of race” by white people is a symptom of “white fragility.” But isn’t that what being “beyond race” is all about? Dr. King’s axiom that the content of my character is more important than my race, or ethnicity, seems to have no relevance to Ms. DiAngelo — or Dr. Winings.

    This narrative is right out of Derrick Bell’s Critical Race Theory which is rooted in the cultural Marxism of Adorno, Fromm, Marcuse and the Frankfurt School philosophers who have turn liberal arts colleges into hotbeds of “intolerant” progressive thought where any objection to progressive orthodoxy is not met with rational intellectual responses, but rather ridicule and baseless accusations of racism and bigotry. This also smacks of Michel Foucault’s “discursive method” whereby truth becomes victim to ideological sloganeering. (See Graham Simon’s fine essay on this Blog about living in the “post-truth” world).

    Of course, I now understand that according to Dr. Winings my critique of this essay is merely my “white fragility” and/or “white normative” attitudes being on display. But I contend that any rational discussion about better race relations — particularly any discussion predicated on DP’s understanding of Chapter II — would likely bring us to the same conclusion that Dr. King came to: namely that content of character is more important than race and that “we can either choose to live together as brothers and sisters, or die together as fools.”

    Let’s remember too that our founder cited Dr. King as being the among the greatest Americans for leading the charge against racism and intolerance.

  8. Interesting day today for Dr. Winings’ article to appear. While speaking to Native American Code Talkers, who are war veterans, the President referred to a female U.S. senator who claimed some Native American blood as “Pocahontas.” Meanwhile, Britain’s Prince Harry publicly announced his engagement to a biracial American woman.

    1. Dr. Barry,

      Regarding Donald Trump’s insensitive characterization of Elizabeth Warren: I know many white people who decried his rhetoric vis-a-vis Senator Warren, as did I.

      Conversely, I know white people who criticized Senator Warren for her cultural appropriation of a Native American identity for personal gain.

      1. A lot of people born in Oklahoma, like the senator cited and others I know, may have some amount of Cherokee blood, but it is very difficult to document due to a lot of intermarriage. They only know from family oral histories. And what member of Congress does not use whatever is useful for political advancement?

        But whether or not a person has a questionable claim to Native American blood, no President should use a racial or ethnic slur against her or him, much less in front of Native American war vets. The veracity of the senator’s claim is a separate matter and has absolutely nothing to do with the utter impropriety of a President publicly using an ethnic slur.

        Meanwhile, it should be noted that the Royal Family itself announced Prince Harry’s engagement with a biracial American woman, which not long ago would have more than raised eyebrows.

        1. Brilliantly written, Dr. Winings! When black people pen the experiences of black people, the most common response by many is that there is a “hidden agenda.” Or another is that it is a leftist agenda. White people who try to understand the black experience and verbalize it often get ostracized.

          True Parents’ words are used to justify all sorts of motivations. I dare say that anyone who truly understands the teachings and heart of love of Heavenly Parent and True Parents cannot think left and right. The thinking is True Parentism. Moreover, they will not ignore people’s pain and justify wrongdoing with good-sounding words. We must see from God’s point of view if we are to create a world of peace. If Heavenly Parent thought about good and evil only in this way, Abraham would not have been chosen, Paul would never be a Christian Apostle, True Father could never embrace Kim Il Sung.

          The whole world is waiting for America to overcome racism and become a shining elder son nation. Followers of True Parents should do our utmost to create a world of goodness. We are free to say what behavior does not meet the Heavenly Parent standard, but it’s better to speak about HP expectations for all of us. I noticed that this is how True Mother speaks. She shares HP’s expectations with us and urges accomplishments.

    2. I want to know what is meant by white. I mean many of us get along about as well as the British and the Irish, or the British and the French or the French and the Germans, or the Poles and the Germans. And of course we can look at how wonderfully we all get along with the Russians. It’s obviously because we have such a common white normative culture. It seems we might get along just about as well as all blacks do, with the shining example of the Tutsi and Hutus. Or all those African rulers that sold their people to Muslim slavers for the last 1200 years or so. Or the way that the rulers of Sudan treated the South Sudanese. But of course that’s the result of white culture too, coming as you know, from the famous white religious leaders, Jesus and Muhammad.

    3. My comment above about what it means to be white was not intended as a reply to Mark’s comment. It should have stood on its own.

      Mark, you might find the President’s comment on Senator Warren offensive, but I’d bet that some of those veterans believe that he misspoke because they believe her true nickname should be Fauxcahontas.

  9. Nice to see a discussion of these points. Would be good to see a discussion about why white males should love themselves. (All whiteness is about insecurity or something like it?) Anyone got any ideas?

    1. Jude,

      The justification for loving who you are (regardless of race) stems from the DP tenet that are all God’s children and should rejoice in that fact. Our identity is largely determined by what we treasure, what we value and what we love. Those of us who joined UC in the 1960s or 1970s came to an epiphany that this Asian couple from Korea were setting a standard of True Love and filial piety that if understood and practiced fully could assist in the removal of the fallen nature that lies at the heart of resentment, jealousy, envy, intolerance, and sexual immorality. What we held to be true back then still holds true for most of us here now.

      It didn’t matter that TPs weren’t white. True Love transcends all that racial nonsense. Anyone who thinks any particular racial makeup is a character trait is seriously out to lunch. And as any serious historian will tell you human proclivities such as slavery, colonialism and racism have existed throughout human history. These sins are endemic to one race in particular — the human race!

  10. I appreciate and enjoy the diversity of comments here. It makes sense that points of cultural and racial friction should emerge in the Unification movement because they relate to Collective Sin, which is the next level of sin after Original Sin. The Blessing only solves Original Sin; dealing with Collective Sin is our responsibility. Collective sin means that our interactions are not neutral, but carry with them echoes of past oppressions and wrongs. Coming to terms with the wrongs that our collective groups were historically responsible for allows us to take steps for healing. Without facing these problems, the sin only persists.

    It seems to me that as we are formed by experiences within our diverse cultural backgrounds, we should see the world differently when it comes to culture and race. My wife, who is Asian, constantly decries the racism that she sees pervasive in our community, while I as a white person hardly notice it. Clearly, our neural pathways have formed differently, and we are challenged to appreciate the differences rather than condemn them.

    Dr. Winings is right to see white entitlement as a problem in America today, just as David, Donna and others are correct to recognize the exceptional value of European Christian culture in the forming of America as a special nation in God’s providence. The two views need not be seen as in opposition — an unfortunate byproduct of our politicized times — but rather as in creative tension. One premise of many Americans’ attraction to Unificationism, an Asian-based religion, is that the Christian West needs to absorb elements from the East in order to be completed as a universal culture. This was Arnold Toynbee’s view as well.

    As a white American, I need to reckon with the prejudices of my dominant culture. If I were a Korean living in Korea, I would need to reckon with the prejudices of Korean culture. There’s racism everywhere. Yet, seeing the specks in other peoples’ eyes does not excuse us from looking at the logs in our own.

  11. This is a wonderful and timely article for the AU Blog, addressing what is the very core of the problem in America. The abuse and exploitation of Native Americans and African Americans has left us with a very narrow worldview, and a limited range of perceptions with which to reflect upon ourselves. Only submersion in the worldview of another can truly lead to deep appreciation of the other’s value, and of the character of God expressed within that person or persons.

    Neural pathways dominate, but can also be retrained, or rather superceded by the formation of other neural pathways. That, however, requires investment of time and persistent application to relearn behaviors and put new behaviors into practice. Simply trying to change one’s thinking is no match for neural pathways forged through long and often unacknowledged habit. Therefore, appropriate practices may be joining an African American church, or moving into an area dominated by another race or ethnicity. After all, both these recommendations fall short of marrying a person of a different race, which was always a possible path for each of us. After years of such investment, we will change. Without a radical path, it is too easy to hold on to ways of thinking that conform to societal norms.

    Women are more sensitive to perceiving the depths of character that are hidden from immediate view within our society because women have been the subservient gender within the nation defined by the Founding Fathers, and within a religion defined by a lack of a female counterpart to Jesus and the messianic mission. As we embrace the traditions and values of indigenous peoples and of those we previously brought to serve us as slaves in dominating and conquering a land, let’s hope we are in time to learn how to live in harmony with nature and with respect for all people as we go forward.

    1. As Michael Emerson of the Christian Ethics Center at Baylor University notes, in discussions concerning race, we are dealing always with a very sensitive topic. It becomes all the more sensitive when someone is called a “racist.” That is why one standard I have tried to follow when dealing with the issue of racism is to never call someone a racist, in order to encourage healthy and appropriate reflection and dialogue around such a sensitive issue.

      So I appreciate the comments posted for this article. Such is the beginning of dialogue and reflection. As something we are seeing globally in its diverse forms, this last headache of God needs our attention. Hopefully this will lead to what I have tried to encourage in the article — continued authentic reflection and dialogue, personally and corporately. After all, “all fall short of the glory of God” and each of us has much to learn before we contemplate inheriting God’s kingdom.

      I also believe that we can certainly generate a better discussion than some of our geopolitical leaders who still find it important to make use of certain terminology and language that shuts down discussion rather than opens it up constructively. As an educator, I see our present time as a teachable moment. This means that as men and women of God, we can show a different standard in our ability to listen, hear, respect, and speak.

      1. Thanks, Dr. Winings. You and the readers and commenters on this article may be interested in a comment True Mother made here in DC to a group of about 200 members gathered in The Washington Times ballroom right after the Parliamentarians conference at which she spoke.

        Among the many things she said was the following: “You Americans must realize that you are indebted to all other peoples in the world.”

        To people from other cultures, “Americans” usually means white folks, since the predominant culture here is descended from the European immigrants who founded and built the country. So to me and some others with whom I discussed this, she was saying, “You white folks must realize…” Why would she say we are indebted?

        The word, “indebted” was from a simultaneous translation. I suspect Mother may have actually meant something close to, “Many other people in the world feel resentment toward Americans.” Now, mind you, I am not saying I agree that they should — but I do think there is a perception in much of the undeveloped world that Americans (which means whites to most others) are privileged, etc. Further, decades of leftist propaganda have taught them that America has “ripped them off,” is “taking all the wealth,” and such lies.

        So — while I may not concur with all that Dr. Winings has written, nor those writers whom she cites, I do think white Americans must get more self-reflective and humble to the rest of the world’s peoples. Believe it or not, only 11.5% of the world’s population is white. The Principle explains why we have become dominant in the world — because God enabled America to rise up so He/She could work through this Christian nation to help the rest of the world.

  12. I want to thank Dr. Winings for this very substantive and provocative piece. It has caused me to spend much of the day in reflecting on my own attitudes and experiences. I was raised in a white-cotton-surrounded environment. The neighborhood where I grew up in Northwest Washington banned all minorities, including Jews. The local amusement park was “Whites Only.” The large Methodist church my family went to would permit a random minority person to attend, but they were prohibited from singing in the choir (too visible!). My graduating class of Sidwell Friends School (yes, where the children of two presidents have attended) was all white, and this was ten years after Brown vs. Board of Education.

    The only black person I knew was Laura Williams, who cleaned our house once a week. I was never told that black people were inferior, but I was recently informed by my older brother that my mother counted the silverware each week after Laura left. I was totally oblivious to the fact that I grew up in a totally segregated environment. It was all too easy for me to assume that being white was the norm.

    Naturally, I gave myself a pat on the back when I joined the Unification movement. Here I was, having way more interaction with one particular minority, Asians, than I ever thought I would! There are all these terrific “inter” organizations! And I know so many wonderful African and African-American brothers and sisters! Hey, we’re doing fine!

    But my eyes kept being drawn back to the first paragraph of Dr. Wining’s piece, to the phrase “humanity’s inability to live in authentic relationships with those considered to be “other.” As Unificationists, we have all felt the sting of being tagged as the “other” whenever we’ve been called “Moonie.” How many times did friends distance themselves when they found out? How well did the line “I’m raising money for Reverend Moon” work?

    And then, as I mentally traveled along this line, I received an emotional jolt. The stigma of having an unpopular religious affiliation can be hidden, just not brought up. But the “otherness” of minority races is literally written on their faces, for the world to see and use against them. The old saying of walking in another’s shoes is nice as far as it goes, but striving to be inside another’s skin (although literally impossible) would be a more appropriate metaphor, in my opinion.

  13. Specks, logs definitely.

    History (world, etc.) is an odd convolution of intersections, not usually happened upon, naturally. Normativity? White, Black, Yellow, Green… Purple? Other than Origin accounts/stories — what is that? Maybe change that narrative — again? Archaeology points to the first woman, at least, being African. Important? The Mormons could be something of an example here. Maybe.

    Exchange Marriages, still the “ultimate solution,” as previously, incessantly noted — hence soap operas, back stories remain relevant.

    Speaking of which, recently viewed the movie “The Man Who Invented Christmas.” I thought it was marvelous!

  14. The timeliness of this issue was again evident after hearing about the recent disturbance that took place at the University of Connecticut because of the public speech by Lucien Wintrich. Wintrich, a conservative writer, had been invited by the school’s Republican club/organization. The title of the talk was “It’s OK to be White.” The problem occurred when people reacted to the title and, rather than engage in conversation and reflection, began to shout how racist the title was. This led to an audience member running up to the podium and angrily taking Wintrich’s notes, causing him to chase her down and get into a public brawl to take his notes back. This is not, of course, the way to deal with these issues.

    The same goes for this morning’s firing by NBC of Today Show co-host Matt Lauer over sexual misconduct. Sexual harassment stems from white normativity because gender has been, and continues to be, a target of discrimination as corporeal or physical differences between men and women have provided a means to make distinctions or to discriminate, in the broader sense of the word, against women by the segment of society that is more dominant. To sexually harass a woman does not become a problem in some people’s minds because a woman is not seen as being of equal value and so one can do as they wish with her. None of this is a way of dismissing the ontological basis of the problem which stems from our original sin. But it is a more contemporary expression of our fallen nature.

  15. This line of reasoning in paragraph 2 of the comment above is simply illogical. Of course, this is “not…the way to deal with these issues” as stated in paragraph 1. This kind of bullyism and irrational violation of free speech is a consequence of the inflamed rhetoric about “whiteness” which serves to exacerbate, rather than remedy the situation. But, the two incidents are not the same. To say “sexual harrassment stems from white normativity” is sheer nonsense.

  16. To follow up on Donna’s observation…I’m curious as to how “white normativity” played a role in the sexual misconduct of Bill Cosby, John Conyers, Russell Simmons, and other non-white abusers. Britain and other European countries have huge problems with sexual abuse by non-Caucasians. If we are going to agree that racism, sexual misconduct and a host of other human proclivities are the result of the Human Fall and its effects on all (!) people, why not just end the discussion there?

    Slavery, colonialism, imperialism, etc., are not endemic to only the white race. One simply cannot have it both ways. If these practices are wrong then they’ve always been wrong no matter who engaged in them — contemporary or otherwise. A favorite narrative among our far-left brethren is to say that it’s racist for Westerners to expect non-Western cultures to live according to Western attitudes regarding morality and ethics as if there are no universal or absolute standards to live by. The anti-Essentialist crowd claims that there are no “essences” or metaphysical realities on which to base moral and ethical behavior. But is that true? No Unificationist will take that position, so again, why not leave it to the DP view of fallen nature and get beyond racial stereotyping?

    1. So, David, it seems to me that what you are actually saying here is that Western culture is the absolute standard which everyone should live by. By whose criteria can you decide that? Surely this unconscious assumption of superiority is precisely what Dr. Wining’s article is trying to get at.

  17. David,

    At the risk of sounding “triumphalist” and superior, I gladly assert that DP — which has deep roots in the Western, Judeo-Christian tradition (the central religion of God’s providence) — is a serious cut above most understandings about moral and ethical principles and how we might overcome sin — original, personal, collective, historic, inherited, and ancestral — and attain salvation. As I’ve already stated here, no person, race or culture is without the fallen nature that results in racism, bigotry and other proclivities. The West certainly has its share of proclivities in that regard.

    On Nov. 27, I wrote, “As Unificationists we know that healing can only take place when root causes are properly identified and remedied, so until people begin to understand the course and motivation of the Human Fall there can be no real healing.” DP identifies the root causes of fallen nature and the proper remedy. Intrinsic to this process is freedom, for without individual choice (volition) we cannot accomplish our 5% portion of responsibility and thus our redemption is never realized.

    If we believe that particular premise, then the “criteria” is clear. The question isn’t “whose criteria,” but rather “what criteria” ought we advocate and practice in the pursuit of the true purpose of our lives.

    Furthermore, if as Unificationists we believe that individual freedom and the right to pursue happiness according to God’s ideal (the 3 Blessings, e.g.) is a fundamental right of all the children of our Heavenly Parent, then any person, family, tribe, nation or culture that advocates, promotes and attempts to realize that particular ideal can be said to be closer to Godism than ones that do not — regardless of race or ethnicity. It’s a matter of objectively assessing “what,” not “whose,” moral and ethical precepts are those that can bring us closer to realizing God’s ideal — individually and collectively.

    There are certain attributes in Western/European moral theory that comport more closely to Godism than other cultures. For instance, Thomas Hobbes, like Father, believed the condition of humankind was “a condition of war” in which there is conflict everywhere because of fallen nature (re: the war of mind and body). The emergence of Hobbes’ “social contract theory” and his concept of “the mutual transferring of right” became a foundational principle for modern civil society in which the scriptural tenet of the Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would have others do unto you,” is a guiding moral principle to assist in overcoming fallen nature and attaining a better social condition.

    Is this not a more virtuous premise than say, Sartre’s existential argument that there was no position from which he could be judged but his own, and that the only thing that could legitimize or authenticate his moral judgments was his choice to act according to his personal view of morality? Hobbes and Sartre were both white — as was Nietzsche who was also quite the existentialist and asserted, like Marx, that any religious belief was a product of “false consciousness” and as such, the idea of absolute moral values should be rejected.

    I’m suggesting that we make moral and ethical distinctions as to “what” might be the better way to achieve a Godly culture based on objective criteria. Race is not a character trait, nor is it a signifier of virtue — or lack thereof.

    1. David,

      Despite your eloquent response I believe you are missing something of fundamental importance to Divine Principle that sets your position on the wrong track. Father’s main critique of the U.S. that I remember was one of self-centered individualism. That is our Western culture puts individual purpose in subject position to whole purpose. You seem to do the same in your writing and I would therefore suggest that you are missing the heart of Divine Principle. Divine Principle puts whole purpose in subject position to individual purpose. That changes everything.

      Placing whole purpose in subject position in turn leads Divine Principle to suggest some form of socialism as the ideal. We also see this in restoration. Since Satan knew God’s plan, he established a false copy in advance. Communism as the last gasp of Satan is then a false copy of God’s ideal. To be sure, we must also take care of individual purpose, but it is not subject and should be taken care of in the context of the whole, not independently of the whole.

      1. David,

        It’s a balance issue —- as always. The first blessing is about individual maturity and choosing to act in accordance with Godism. Father explains that the “ism” Godism means “way of life.” As we know, how we choose to live our life as individuals is the first step in the process of maturity, hence the importance of freedom and individual liberties in the pursuit of our maturity and the “way of life” that comports with a proper whole-purpose modality.

        This gets to the central point of my critique here.

        Moral and ethical propriety begins with individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity or cultural norms. We can say that American culture has become more individualistic and self-centered, but we can also point to myriad examples of individual Americans being sacrificial and good-hearted, whether it’s the numerous charitable organizations that operate in the USA, or the kind of individual heroism we witnessed in the aftermath of the hurricane in Houston.

        On a national level, we can point to the blood and treasure the USA expended in several world conflicts, or the immense foreign aid that this nation provides to other countries, or the military protection it offers to Europe (NATO) and South Korea, or the huge amounts of entitlement spending that the country offers the less fortunate.

        As another commentator suggested, we should examine the “orientation, experience or deeds” as a way to assess one’s “content of character” along with other factors. As DP posits, a religious orientation, specifically a Judeo-Christian orientation, is necessary to get beyond our fallen reality and find redemption — individually and collectively.

        1. Ah David, something still doesn’t sit quite right with me. You do cherry pick things, and I don’t see that you are giving sufficient credence to the need for whole purpose and individual purpose to relate as subject-object. Individual purpose should be understood in the context of the whole, not as a standalone. First Blessing is no exception to this because the measure of growth in the First Blessing is determined by the priority given to whole purpose. However it is something else to your position that gives me pause, and is tricky to untangle.

          I think it goes back to my question of whose criteria do you use to decide? It seems to me your argument taken as a whole is fundamentally self-referential. You use the content of your faith/culture to determine the criteria by which to judge your faith/culture and that of other faiths/cultures. Then lo and behold in that judgement your faith comes out on top. What a surprise! It is a closed loop with no external referent. You couldn’t come to any other conclusion. Your personal faith provides the criteria and the evaluation.

          Such a closed loop is almost guaranteed to become discriminatory in a multicultural setting where there are different faiths each just as ardently held, and each just as self-referential. In such a setting those in power will discriminate against those who are not and call it moral. The rich will blame the poor for their poverty and call it moral.

          Dr. Winings’ article is absolutely needed. How else can we recognize this self-referential thinking in order to justly deal with “other” — whether “other” is other race, other religion, other culture, or other gender. To really live for the sake of other means we cannot assume superiority even if the content of our faith seems to tell us that we are. To my mind this has been one of the major failings of Christianity, and Christian culture has been extremely discriminatory without recognizing it as a problem.

  18. As noted in my article, the black/white binary is not the only form of discrimination, racism and white normativity. But the limitation of space did not allow the extensive conversation about the history of this issue throughout our global community. So the United States does not have the “honor” of being the only place in which this has been practiced. Nor does my discussion of normativity in the United States limit it to the black/white binary. As Dr. Wilson so eloquently pointed out, the Asian community has experienced discrimination and racism. The First Nations people and Hispanic community have also been victims of racism and discrimination. But then nothing in my article is about “racial stereotyping.”

    White normativity is an attitude, mindset and perspective — both subtle and overt. Once it is established, anyone can practice aspects of it or perpetuate it in their pursuit of maintaining power and dominance over and against a specific group or type of people. So while the dominant white culture (composed of so-called virtuous, Christian men) may have defined and shaped this attitude and mindset, anyone can be guilty of living out aspects of it. Nor is white normativity just about race. The intersectionality of race/ethnicity, class, gender, and religion have helped create this web or ball of white normativity. As Gloria Wekker notes, this is what makes it such a complex problem to disentangle and dismantle. We have seen far too many examples where Christianity has been guilty of it, as one example.

    In terms of gender, in the beginnings of white normativity, it was as easy to rely on the physical differences between men and women as it was to rely on the physical differences of the black race in defining power, control and normativity. Women were viewed by many as chattel and property. Regardless of one’s theological understanding of women, the reality was that women were perceived as less than or inferior to men. Therefore, men could do as they wished to and with women. This subtle reasoning helped shape and give form to some men’s understanding of women and their role and relationship to men. This then has fed the neural pathways and fallen nature of some men throughout history including Bill Cosby, Russell Simmons, Harvey Weinstein, and others who are facing allegations of sexual harassment. This mindset, initially forged as part of the beginning views of white normativity and enhanced over time, tells them that it is OK to not just discriminate against women but to go much further and mistreat and abuse them in such a despicable manner.

    As to my overall purpose for writing the article, I remain hopeful that we can reach a level of personal and corporate reflection and dialogue that engages the realm of how we can live our faith and identify changes we may need to make in order to begin the process of becoming a beloved community.

    1. Kathy,

      When you say that sexual harassment of and discrimination against women are the result of “white normativity,” it seems you are implying that there was no such thing in nonwhite cultures. The solution is for us to see beyond race and address more fundamental causes.

  19. How interesting this conversation is, with its ebbs and flows. I work at an institution of higher education that is within the sector often disparaged as being elitist and intolerant of more conservative messaging. What I have found interesting at my school, however, is the way in which the college president, and other senior leaders, have invested hugely in helping students here, as well as our faculty and staff, listen long and hard to each other, rather than respond heatedly to one another. This has worked well, thus far, and has contributed to a campus culture that has not (to date) had incidents where speakers representing diverse, and perhaps less popular or normative, views or perspectives are shut down.

    I’m a “both-and” kind of gal and am interested both in the way that Dr. Winings risks opening an important discussion using a term that is potentially polarizing, and in the way that this provocative approach can be used to explore and expand upon core tenets of Unificationism. How do we go deeper in the questions we ask and in the applications of Unification Thought to still unresolved issues of our day, most of which are rooted in the inability to recapture, restore, or manifest our original nature? One way is to turn an issue on its side, or upside down, or inside out, and look at that issue with fresh eyes. This is what Dr. Winings has done in her thoughtful article.

    I am, I must admit, a tad disappointed in a vocal respondent to Dr. Wining’s article. This disappointment stems from my admiration to date of this respondent’s clarity of thought and ability to communicate clearly and well around complex issues pertaining to the extension of Unification thought and culture. I think I would have preferred responses that engage in the push-and-pull or extrapolation of meaning, rather than what seems to be a protectionist stance that could have the unfortunate effect of shutting down conversation around an important topic.

    In any case, I have just been exposed to Jay Newton-Hall’s book Broad Influence: How Women Are Changing the Way America Works (2016). I’ve not yet read the book, but am intrigued by her apparent premise that, in most sectors, when women make up a critical mass of 20-30% of a sector this critical mass changes the dynamics of relationships and improves outcomes. I’m going to read this book and see if it lives up to its billing, but this idea of critical mass as a means of changing culture (or other conditions) is intriguing to me.

    Of course, the conditions of most interest to me are those that relate to the human condition(s) and how closely that corresponds to God’s ideal. In current events, it’s interesting that so many folks, of all political framings and racial backgrounds, have been called out for the fallen nature of not seeing women from God’s point of view. Does this emergent issue pertain to the critical mass argument?

    Conversely, it’s interesting to me that the racial issue still seems so entrenched — so normative, to use Dr. Wining’s terminology. Following the 20-30% critical mass idea, could this relate to the fact that in the U.S. overall, according to July 1, 2016 U.S. Census data, the black or African-American alone Census category represents only 13.3%?

    The power of Unificationism is in its broad applicability across multiple sectors. I’m pleased Dr. Winings as a thought leader has taken on this sticky wicket issue. I would be interested in opinions that help further and expand such thought leadership on this, and other, issues.

  20. Contemporary, yet an underwhelming article in that there is no proof or even an attempt of a reasoned discussion of examples to support the broad indictment: “In the United States, our xenophobic fears and intolerant attitudes, stemming from our history, have resulted in a society heavily focused on white privilege, white supremacy and systemic racism.” Of course America needs work but it is progressing toward the ideals stated by Martin Luther King. Probably that is why Rev. Moon noted in his Yankee Stadium speech that America is a society for the world to emulate, highlighting the unique mixing and cooperation of races, sexes and creeds. Seems to me that in a world that still has open slaves, women systematically raped for being Christian, and gays thrown off of rooftops — the writer’s starting point seems hopelessly naïve and confused. I find the approach (which is rooted in prevailing academic orthodoxy) not only historically naïve but socially perverse and spiritually counterproductive.

    1. Thank you very much, Jeff.

      The writer’s viewpoint is detached from the current realities and actual events happening in society, such as the tragic shooting of a young woman in San Francisco by an illegal immigrant who had been deported five times but overprotected by sanctuary city officials, the brutal assault of a woman in Oregon by a 20 times-deported illegal immigrant, the assault of a free speech activist at a rally in Boston by an Antifa protestor….just to name a few.

      These are additional evidences of the misuse of compassion to condone sanctuary cities hiding and protecting criminality and the censorship of free speech on many campuses and in society influenced by the rhetoric of “anti-white” theoreticians that is detached from the rise and realities of violent crimes attached to this “counterproductive” and “naive” philosophy. In fact, it is said that Antifa is the new KKK group of leftist philosophy.

  21. Telling a lie about me will make me a little mad. But if you want to make me really mad, tell the truth about me! Thank you Dr. Winings for this timely and necessary conversation.

    1. Charles,

      Have we now arrived at a point where any vigorous debate or discussion as to the merits or demerits of Dr. Wining’s assertions, or any assertion that one might have reason to believe is erroneous, is either de facto “protectionism” or an admission of guilt? If that’s your belief then it seems that we’ve entered the post-modernist malaise that Alasdair MacIntyre describes as the “emotivist rationale” in which objective criterion is no longer a part of the equation in ascertaining moral and ethical standards — about anything. I believe that is anathema to Divine Principle.

  22. As a nine-year student of Tai Chi, the reality of neural pathways and how they are developed is very real to me. In Tai Chi, we learn and practice a set “form” or set of exercise movements combined with breathing. In doing this, you create neural pathways that provide active relaxation, add muscle strength and flexibility and allow you to create and experience a mind completely in the present, one that I believe enhances ones ability to focus our minds on the Divine, however we interpret or experience that.

    To the extent that what Dr. Winings is expressing is that our neural pathways are already set by society in general, our upbringing and perhaps our race, I am not clear what we need to do to create new pathways, to free ourselves of prejudice.

    I study with a teacher 1-2 hours per week and practice on my own another 2-3 hours per week. In my experience, creating new neural pathways requires a lot more than belief or even talking or reading about Tai Chi; you need an instructor and a specific method to create these.

    1. Rob,

      Neural pathways are not already set by society. Our pathways are formed and strengthened and added to by our own experiences, learnings, family culture, and experiences of the wider culture and society. So our pathways are not pre-set or done to us. But over time, these pathways can grow and strengthen. For those pathways that are not ideal or that reflect our fallen nature, they can be changed through consciously building new pathways and strengthening existing networks that are closer to what they should be through our learning new or better content and our focused experiences, while also pruning existing pathways that are less ideal or more problematic, shall we say.

      The benefit of Hoon Dok Hae, for example, is part of this process. Constant study, prayer, our prayerful and faithful attendance to God through worship and service and living a life that reflects a godly nature are all part of this process of creating new pathways or strengthening existing pathways. One thing neuroscience has taught me is understanding the wisdom of Father Moon’s statements that it takes many years to change our fallen nature. Certainly practices such as Tai Chi are quite beneficial as you note. And there is still so much more to learn about the mind-body connection.

      That is why I am excited to see more and more church ministries and medical practices in Maryland, where UTS has another campus, investing more in mind-body ministry and integrative health.

  23. This article is provoking a lot of tension, just as in real life. As an introduction to a DP lecture, it may very well serve as a basis in my witnessing, thank you.

    Here are a few of my thoughts:

    We are the fruits of history; as such we cannot leave out karma. As an individual I should not judge my neighbour’s background, since he is born into it. In witnessing I am meeting a number of people with African descent; I cannot see or feel a difference to me or any other human being. Every soul belongs to God and each has the same responsibility in the age of attendance.

    Here a quote from CSG, page 879: “Then what kind of person can enter heaven? Is it the place for those who believe in the Lord so as to receive blessings or for those who go forth for blessings? No. Those who prepare themselves for wholeheartedly attending God can go to heaven. It is a place for those who can leave a life of attendance as their legacy and joyfully move on even if they were to die in the process. That is resurrection.”

    Just went to see ”The Mountain Between Us” with Kate Winslet and Idris Elba, an interracial romance/adventure film. Looking forward to reading your review of this movie, Dr. Winings. Initially, I went to see it because the nature depicted is very much like my own surroundings, but in my memory it became one about these two great artists (and the dog).

  24. I have never been white, but came across this posting and thought the discussion was interesting. Here is a man who is white and explains what white privilege is, not from the “Unification Thought perspective,” but gives insight into, in my opinion, what Unificationists who are white, struggle explaining and expressing.

    Go for it. Keep in mind that we can never separate who we are from our ancestral “baggage.” Because many of us cannot see our ancestors to know what we have to pay for in terms of “sins of our fathers,” we must live a life of “paying indemnity (conditions).” We are responsible for what we know, but “ignorance of the law (in this case spiritual law) is (k)no(w) excuse”.

    In my limited study of Unification Thought Headwing, I see the dilemma of learning that if you are a providential person, which all of us are who came into contact with Rev. and Mrs. Moon, whether through happenstance, birth, or proximity to someone, you learn that every action taken can either further the providence of God or prolong it.

    How you think or analyze, discuss, and act upon “being white” may have a profound shift in God providence or the prolongation of building “the beloved community,” which is short-term here on earth, or eternally “the Kingdom on Heaven in the spiritual world,” to paraphrase the founder of the Unification Movement (Church).

    The subtle nuances are what I think about, internalize, and act upon, selfishly or unselfishly. That determines whether it will progress or prolong God’s Providence.

    Hope you see through me “interfering in the discussion” of being white — as some of my ancestors are from Ireland…which last time I checked…”looked white”…

    1. Bruce,

      I appreciate your thoughtful response. I would just take issue with one sentence, the one in which you state “that we can never separate who we are from our ancestral ‘baggage.'” It is true we all have ancestral sins that we must atone for in some way. It’s also true that God wants us to be able at some point to be free of that baggage. The heavenly kingdom will be a post-racial society. That will require not only the complete payment for the sins of our ancestors but a willingness to forgive by those who were victims of those sins. However, there are some I believe who see themselves as eternal “victims” who, rather than forgiving, wish to seek revenge on those whose ancestors did their ancestors wrong. Both sides need to work together to put fallen history behind us.

  25. Robert,

    With 7 billion+ people on the planet living, and more in the spiritual world, I can not speak for anyone but myself and be responsible for my own thoughts, beliefs and actions. I will never presume what other’s baggage is or who was a victim. I know whom I have victimized and what others have done to me. Forgiveness, repentance and separation from selfishness along with empathy work for me. I understand through the teachings that I have discovered one simple truth which is etched in my heart. I believe in an eternal spiritual world. We are born into this world in one moment in time as a culmination of our parent’s lineage. In a moment we die. So at each moment we live we are living for eternity. So moment by moment we have a chance in thought, word, or deed to change the providence of eternal spiritual world, before we enter it. To think that this world is more important than eternal peace must be each person’s decision.

    If you take a look at Tim Wise, you may have a different thought about the topic of white privilege. At least a view from “another white man who has experienced being white,” not me.

  26. I see this and it makes me really sick to my stomach. White is used over and over as a pejorative. That is the very definition of racism as I learned it, actually, to treat people differently based on skin color. The article doesn’t focus on actions, or attitudes or internal things but focuses on skin color over and over, which you can’t change.

    If one wants to have an honest discussion, the truth is that Western and European countries have been overwhelmingly more welcoming and generous than non-Western countries:

    Japan accepts 4 hundredths of 1 percent of refugee applicants. Korea is a bit more generous at 0.3 percent of refugee applicants granted asylum. With 1.4 billion people, you might think that China could tolerate a few thousand Africans, but that’s not the case.

    1. Whites are a slender minority in the UC movement and an article like this could scare away the remnant.

      When I attended Father’s Seung-Hwa, organizers tried to be welcoming to Westerners and ensure that we were able to get in to the full stadium because there were so few of us, so dramatically underrepresented, and that was six years ago. This article echoes the American extreme left, yet we must realize what the Unification family actually looks like.

  27. Sorry I’m so late to the party.

    Dr. Winings, I see three issues in your piece which seemed designed to trigger those from a different political persuasion. Firstly, you provide no evidence for structural racism in the U.S. and simply assert it. Secondly, you reference Ferguson, MO, implying it was a site of violent white racism. And thirdly, you leap too quickly into discussing the psychosomata of neural pathways, assuming that that is the best way to address culture and habit, and again assume that this science comes down on your side. What about the neural pathways of minority members affected by inculcated resentment?

    David Burton, you also, my friend, seem intent on triggering. You suggest socialism as an antidote to excessive individualism. What about family, community, brotherly love, voluntary association, charity, all of which were championed by our brilliant founding fathers?

    And how could David Eaton not be offended? His life has been spent in the service of the only universal music – the Western tradition. Has any other culture produced a Mozart or a Bach? No.

    1. Interesting to note that in her Rally of Hope address (November, 22, 2020), True Mother cited the Western Classical Art tradition as being important based on its being the progeny of Christian heritage. She said:

      “In the past, as the Christian cultural realm waited for the Messiah to come again, an ancient, beautiful culture was formed with the European continent at its center. It is still loved today by all peoples of the world. That culture is the culture of longing for the Messiah. What I want to say now is that although due to the Fall, people have been lacking in filial devotion to our Heavenly Parent, who has endured and waited six thousand years for us, I wish to see their beautiful arts—which express the love, joy and praise they return to their Parent—shining forevermore through the revolution of the culture of heart. The arts are also a swift path by which the world can become one.”

      True Father essentially said the same thing regarding Western classical music in a meeting with musicians in Cartagena, Colombia in 1983 at the Sixth World Media Conference. He encouraged us to study and learn from the great European composers and use that tradition as our foundation for composing music.

      Though all music is the result of physical phenomena (vibratory energy in motion), the development of the musical grammar and syntax in the Christian Church in Europe evolved in a way that embodied many of the tenets of the Principle of Creation as defined in the Divine Principle. The tenets of polarity, subject/object, give and take action, the triple object purpose, origin/division/union, the three stages of growth and numerology are fundamental to the Western classical musical tradition. As such, this particular music is ontologically in accord with the primary characteristics of our Heavenly Parent and therefore possess a certain universality in its basic components.

  28. Super late on commenting here, but couldn’t resist…

    Oh, how I wish the “human condition” DP identifies and putatively seeks to ameliorate in all races could be achieved if “we whites” became “conscious” of our “unconscious” privileged/normative/supremic proclivities, and transmogrified them into a P-N-S proclivity-free brain function. It’s the fulfillment of all utopian dreams — not!

  29. I did not read all the comments, so this may have been brought up already. My research and my experience with the Real Love book series point to fear as the cause of all problems, fear caused by the lack of real love in our lives. We continuously make decisions to try and establish our identity and value. Racism is an unconscious safety mechanism to preserve our identity because if someone else goes “up” that must mean that I go “down”.

    The answer is love. When all people feel unconditionally loved and their identity is firmly rooted in our origin, God, then we will not feel the need to prevent others from rising. How do we break down these “neural pathways” and grow our heart toward others? Rev. Yong said in his morning devotion (11/11) we grow our heart by serving. That is our goal now. How can I serve my enemy? How can I serve someone who is different from me? How can I serve my family to the extent that my children are secure in their identity and can be free to lift up all those around them?

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