Professor Khyati Joshi addressed students and faculty of Rutgers University on the topic of “White Christian Privilege” Wednesday, tying Christianity and whiteness to a series of historical evils.
Professor Joshi, who teaches in the school of education at Fairleigh Dickinson University, explained to students via streaming how “white Christian privilege” is responsible for slavery, genocide, and colonialism, the College Fix reported.
A second-generation Hindu American who received a doctorate in Social Justice Education from the University of Massachusetts, Joshi said she wants people to understand “the role Christianity has had in the construction of whiteness,” claiming that research on whiteness in America has often missed the “explicit role of religion in the development of whiteness.”
Notions such as manifest destiny and colonizers’ belief they were led by God to take over land illustrate how white supremacy and Christianity led to colonialism.
“We have to also take into account the Biblical justification for slavery,” Joshi said.
Invited by Rutgers law school’s Center for Security, Race and Rights, Joshi spoke for an hour, drawing on material from her recently published book titled White Christian Privilege: The Illusion of Religious Equality in America.
Christian privilege is “built into the edifice” of American jurisprudence, she said, and therefore Christians do not regularly have to fight for their religious freedom in the United States.
Christian privilege is part of “white Christian supremacy,” she said, and is “a product of systemic religious oppression over the history of this country.”
The “overarching theme is always white Christian privilege or white Christian supremacy,” she stated.
The College Fix said that Joshi will sit on an Americans United for Separation for Church and State panel next week on “dismantling white privilege” and “Christian nationalism.”
The idea of “Christian privilege” is not new. In 2016, a national poster campaign originating at the Jesuit-run University of San Francisco invited Christian students to “check your privilege.”
“If you can expect time off from work to celebrate your religious holidays, you have Christian privilege,” the poster proclaimed.
In 2018, George Washington University hosted a diversity workshop to combat “Christian privilege” during Easter Week at the school’s Multicultural Student Services Center.
The training session for students and faculty sought to educate Christians — especially white ones — concerning their “unmerited perks from institutions and systems all across our country.”