Church conducts course called ‘What Does it Mean to be White?’

CHARLOTTE — The Rev. Ben Boswell of Myers Park Baptist Church created a course that has drawn the attention of several people, including parent Loren Bent.

“As a mom, I want my kids to grow up in a world that is different,” Bent said.

Bent and her husband are taking Boswell’s course “What Does it Mean to be White.”

“Just the fact that it is called ‘What Does it Mean to be White’ triggered something in me,” she said. “That said, this is going to be different, because it is going to force me to look inward instead of focusing all of my efforts on outward change.”

“The course is eight or nine weeks of reading and watching Black authors, writers, filmmakers and in a lot of ways, the material does the work for you,” Bent said. “If you read it, if you honestly and genuinely sit down with it and let it sink in and take your time with it, they do the work for you.”

>> In the video at the top of this webpage, anchor Erica Bryant speaks more with Bent about the course and its impact on her and her family.

There is a reading assignment on an article called “To be a Christian Intellectual.”

“It’s complicated because whiteness is something Willie James Jennings describes it as a way of flowing through the world and the world flows around you,” Bent said. “And you’re at the center of it whether you choose it or not.”

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She said the curriculum covers several concepts about the ideology of whiteness, such as “whiteness as property.”

[Artist creates positive representation for Charlotte Black kids]

“The concept of whiteness as property can be confusing at first, or it doesn’t seem as it seems more specific,” Bent said. “We talk about in the course is whiteness as credit. So it doesn’t mean that I haven’t worked hard or other people haven’t worked hard or had their own struggles. But as a person born racialized white, I am born with a credit of certain advantages, whereas people born not racialized as white are born with a debt.”

(WATCH: Minister discusses program ‘What Does it Mean to be White’)