Amidst the scuffle that has arisen between Douglas Wilson and Anthony Bradley, Wilson has written a blog post explaining why white privilege is not a sin, although pride in response to such privilege is.
The sins that afflict the privileged are many, but the central one would be pride, a sleek arrogance that feels that they somehow earned or merited the blessings that surround them.
So long as the sin of pride is properly qualified, Wilson is exactly correct. If God blesses a people with a great history and culture, then it cannot be sinful of that people to be blessed. Their only sins can come in response to such blessing: they can be sinfully prideful of their accomplishments, viewing themselves as the ultimate cause of them, deserving of all due praise and glory. Alternatively, they can be ungrateful, feeling guilty over the fact that they are privileged – which is, indeed, the central sin concerning “white privilege” today. But it is clearly not sinful for whites to be proud of their peoples’ accomplishments, in the sense that they derive pleasure from the gifts and feats God has granted to whites. The sinful form of pride instead banishes God from the picture, exalting the privileged as the only source of praise. (This is clarified better in the article on pride, linked above.)
While Wilson gets this right, he unfortunately errs in his decrying of “white pride.” He writes:
But if I regard it as a blessing from God for me (like all my privileges), then this could be immediately twisted into an accusation that I have embraced some grotesquery like “white pride,” as though whiteness really is innately superior. I deny that — the privilege here comes from the culture and history of the thing, not genetics.
Here is a question that Wilson should answer: if it is not wrong for whites to be privileged through white culture and history, so long as we do not manifest sinful pride in response, then why would it be wrong to believe that some of our cultural and historical blessings come through genetics? Why couldn’t it be that God has so decreed to bless whites with certain genetic endowments that are not given to all peoples equally? (And wouldn’t that also be a better way to exalt God’s sovereignty in the accomplishments of man, rather than seeing them all as arising from pure man-made exertion?) There is nothing in principle contradictory with saying both (1) that we ought not to be sinfully prideful of our God-given privileges and (2) that God has given privileges to some people partly through their genetics. Of course, someone might think that it is simply false that God has privileged any people genetically…but he would be manifestly wrong. We here at Faith and Heritage hope that Wilson will embrace better consistency on this issue.