Persons and communities engaging in the processes of conscientization and conversion experience significant changes in all aspects of their worldviews: ways of being, thinking, perceiving, and working. These internal transformations lay the groundwork for the creation or recreation of relationships between persons and communities who can work together to bring about concrete, material changes that improve the life chances of persons experiencing oppression. White persons who have engaged the work of conscientization and conversion without being in relationship with people of color may find it necessary to revisit some of these earlier stages of work, in order to develop a shared, critical understanding of reality, including learning about issues faced locally and developing goals and strategies for dealing with those issues. The goal now is learning to work in ways that keep understandings of the workings of epistemological privilege uppermost, including the inverse relationship between social privilege and epistemological privilege. (White isn’t necessarily right.)


Critical Awareness White People Epistemic Authority Christian Theology White Person 
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  1. 1.
    Robert Jensen, The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism, and White Privilege (San Francisco, CA: City Lights Publishing, 2005), 83.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Tim Wise offers creative approaches to resist racist humor in ways that can increase opportunities for mindfulness and perhaps dialogue. See Tim Wise, White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son (Brooklyn, NY: Soft Skull Press, 2005), 104–05.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Mab Segrest, Memoir of a Race Traitor (Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1994). For more on white bonding,Google Scholar
  4. see Beverly Tatum, “Breaking the Silence,” in White Privilege: Essential Readings on the Other Side of Racism, ed. Paula S. Rothenberg (New York: Worth Publishers, 2005), 128. See also Wise, White Like Me, 103.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, “Can the Subaltern Speak?,” in Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial Theory: A Reader, ed. Patrick Williams and Laura Chrisman (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), 66 ff.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Musa Dube, “Postcoloniality, Feminist Spaces and Religion,” in Postcolonialism, Feminism, and Religious Discourse, ed. Laura E. Donaldson and Kwok Puilan (New York: Routledge, 2002), n. 22, 118. Emphasis added.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ada María Isasi-Díaz, “Solidarity: Love of Neighbor in the Twenty-First Century,” in Lift Every Voice: Constructing Christian Theologies from the Underside, ed. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite and Mary Potter Engel (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1998), 36.Google Scholar
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    Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, trans. Myra Bergman Ramos (New York: Continuum, 1970), 47. I note Freire’s noninclusive language, but will not mark each instance.Google Scholar
  9. 10.
    Andrea Smith (Cherokee) reflects on mujerista and womanist theologians’ use of and reliance on meta-ethnography (to maintain connectedness to real women’s lived experience): “The problem that this general meta-ethnography presents for a theology of liberation is that most people, even most women, are not activists for social change. Therefore, to identify women’s spirituality/liberation praxis, the theologian-cum-historian and ethnographer must focus specifically on the lives of activists.” Andrea Smith, “Walking in Balance: The Spirituality/Liberation Praxis of Native Women,” in Lift Every Voice: Constructing Christian Theologies from the Underside, ed. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite and Mary Potter Engel (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1998), 55. Emphasis in original.Google Scholar
  10. 16.
    See for instance Korie L. Edwards, The Elusive Dream: The Power of Race in Interracial Churches (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008). Edwards reports that interracial churches only maintain their interracial status—that is, keeping white members in church with peoples of colors—to the extent that white norms are maintained. White members and members of color collude to maintain white privilege through leadership and worship practices with which white members are comfortable.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 18.
    Darryl M. Trimiew, God Bless the Child That’s Got Its Own: The Economic Rights Debate (Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1997), 181.Google Scholar
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  13. 26.
    Ada María Isasi-Díaz, La Lucha Continues: Mujerista Theology. (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2004), 94.Google Scholar
  14. 28.
    Sallie McFague, “Theology as Action,” in Constructive Theology: A Contemporary Approach to Classical Themes, ed. Serene Jones and Paul Lakeland (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2005), 152.Google Scholar

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© Tammerie Day 2012

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