What I mean is that what makes “white” theology “white” is that it does not do its work pentecostally; that is, it does not do it from within the distinctively Jewish-Christian horizon of the miracle of speech, the overturning of nationalism, the theological refounding of identity within the person of Jesus of Nazareth. It is unable to speak the truth of the God of Israel in a language–and therefore in a cultural and political orientation–that is not its own. It has been unable to fathom how another reality sacramentally and iconically bears God. This inability–the stammering of whiteness–infects its overall vision of the human person and leads to a repression of all other identities that it creates and then in binary fashion sets itself against.
J. Kameron Carter, ending a chapter on Frederick Douglass and offering what is a seminal and spirited explanation of theology from an historically informed and biblically and culturally sensitive location. I read it as part of a course I’m taking on African American Political Theology. The chapter itself dives into how Douglass, a key voice in American political inquiry and history, engages in a repetitive “symbolic construction of racial and national identity” as a critique of American religion and religious practice.