The Myth of Colorblind Christians

Evangelicals and White Supremacy in the Civil Rights Era
 
 
New York University Press
  • erschienen am 9. November 2021
 
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978-1-4798-0941-7 (ISBN)
 
Reveals how Christian colorblindness expanded white evangelicalism and excluded Black evangelicals

In the decades after the civil rights movement, white Americans turned to an ideology of colorblindness. Personal kindness, not systemic reform, seemed to be the way to solve racial problems. In those same decades, a religious movement known as evangelicalism captured the nation's attention and became a powerful political force. In The Myth of Colorblind Christians, Jesse Curtis shows how white evangelicals' efforts to grow their own institutions created an evangelical form of whiteness, infusing the politics of colorblindness with sacred fervor.

Curtis argues that white evangelicals deployed a Christian brand of colorblindness to protect new investments in whiteness. While black evangelicals used the rhetoric of Christian unity to challenge racism, white evangelicals repurposed this language to silence their black counterparts and retain power, arguing that all were equal in Christ and that Christians should not talk about race.

As white evangelicals portrayed movements for racial justice as threats to Christian unity and presented their own racial commitments as fidelity to the gospel, they made Christian colorblindness into a key pillar of America's religio-racial hierarchy. In the process, they anchored their own identities and shaped the very meaning of whiteness in American society. At once compelling and timely, The Myth of Colorblind Christians exposes how white evangelical communities avoided antiracist action and continue to thrive today.
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Jesse Curtis is Assistant Professor of History at Valparaiso University. His work has appeared in the Journal of American Studies, History & Memory, and Religion and American Culture.
Powerfully tells the story of how white evangelicals in a post-civil-rights era fashioned an allegedly colorblind evangelicalism 'in which investments in whiteness continued in the name of spreading the gospel.' Curtis tells us not so much about white evangelicals familiar from other histories, as about evangelical whiteness, a distinction that makes all the difference in this original and important work. -- Paul Harvey, Distinguished Professor, Presidential Teaching Scholar, University of Colorado This book shows how platitudes about equality and not seeing racial differences actually perpetuated the segregated and unequal status quo in many white evangelical churches, colleges, and institutions. It is vital reading for understanding just how salient race remains in some Christian circles. This is the book on the history of white evangelicalism I have been waiting for. -- Jemar Tisby, New York Times-bestselling author of The Color of Compromise and How to Fight Racism Religious history at its best. An immensely clarifying book, it should be required reading for all who seek to understand white evangelicals' fraught engagement with race over the past half century. -- Kristin Kobes Du Mez, author of Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation

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