The Myth of Equality
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The Myth of Equality

Uncovering the Roots of Injustice and Privilege

Ken Wytsma

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eBook - ePub

The Myth of Equality

Uncovering the Roots of Injustice and Privilege

Ken Wytsma

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About This Book

- 2017 Foreword INDIES Book Award Honorable Mention- Publishers Weekly's Five Best Religion Titles of 2017Is privilege real or imagined?It's clear that issues of race and equality have come to the forefront in our nation's consciousness. Every week yet another incident involving racial tension splashes across headlines and dominates our news feeds. But it's not easy to unpack the origins of these tensions, and perhaps we wonder whether any of these issues really has anything to do with us.Ken Wytsma, founder of the Justice Conference, understands these questions. He has gone through his own journey of understanding the underpinnings of inequality and privilege. In this timely, insightful book Wytsma unpacks what we need to know to be grounded in conversations about today's race-related issues. And he helps us come to a deeper understanding of both the origins of these issues and the reconciling role we are called to play as witnesses of the gospel.This expanded edition includes a new afterword with further reflections on race and privilege in today's cultural context

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1“U.S. Steps Closer to a Future Where Minorities Are the Majority,” Time, June 24, 2015,
2Rahiel Tesfamariam, “My Experience of Racial Profiling at Chicago’s Congress Plaza Hotel,” Urban Cusp, June 8, 2015, /my-experience-of-racial-profiling-at-chicagos-congress-plaza-hotel/.
3Barna Group Research: Culture & Media, “Black Lives Matter and Racial Tension in America,” May 5, 2016, /research-release/black-lives-matter-and-racial-tension-in-america.
4This quote is attributed to Tim Wise, author of White Like Me, but it is uncertain whether this exact wording comes directly from him or is actually someone else’s paraphrase of his perspectives. Cited in Sandhya Rani Jha, Pre-Post-Racial America: Spiritual Stories from the Front Lines (St. Louis, MO: Chalice, 2015), 109.
5Brooke Hempell, Barna Research Group: Culture & Media, “Black Lives Matter and Racial Tension in America.” Respondents were asked if they agreed with the statement “Reverse racism, or prejudicial treatment of white people, is a problem in society today.” Sixty-five percent agreed. Just over seven in ten white respondents afffirmed the statement, while black respondents feeling the same were fewer than half that number. Given that the Republican Party is 85 percent white, it really isn’t a surprise that 77 percent of Republican respondents answered in the affirmative, while 53 percent of Democrats shared that opinion. (White people make up 54 percent of the Democratic Party’s constituents.)
6Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter (New York: Random House, 2008), 65.

1 America’s White Standard

1See U.S. Department of Justice, “Correctional Populations in the United States, 2014,” December 2015,, and Washington Post, “Does the United States Really Have 5 Percent of the World’s Population and One Quarter of the World’s Prisoners?,” April 30, 2015, -the-united-states-really-have-five-percent-of-worlds-population-and -one-quarter-of-the-worlds-prisoners.
2An expression made more common after Jim Wallis’s November 1987 Sojourners article “White Racism: America’s Original Sin.”
3Benjamin Franklin, “Observations Concerning the Increas of Mankind, Peopling of Countries, etc.,” quoted in Roger Daniels, Coming to America: A History of Immigration and Ethnicity in American Life, 2nd ed. (New York: Harper Perennial, 2001), 110.
5Ibid., 113.
6John Tehranian, “Performing Whiteness: Naturalization Litigation and the Construction of Racial Identity in America,” Yale Law Journal 109 (2000): 819.
7Ibid., 819-20.
8Ibid., 820-21.
9Ibid., 819.
10Matthew Soeren...

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