In recent years, discourse over race and the privileges one color or another can afford an individual have come to the forefront. There is no doubt, the issue has reached Good Samaritan Church in Pinellas Park, Florida.
The church recently put a sign up that read “If you are white, use your privilege to fight for justice,” and some aren’t happy with the message, Bay News 9 reported.
“Everybody has rights no matter if you’re black or white, or Hispanic or anything. Everybody has basic human rights and we should all be guaranteed and we are all guaranteed under the constitution. I don’t think there is a such thing as a white privilege,” said resident David Garman.
Pastor Jennifer Daysa explained that the Good Samaritan Church is predominantly white, but that they’ve been discussing race and the congregation feels they should do more to promote equality. “We really feel that white privilege and having a lot more advantage in our community is just a fact of reality and history," she explained. "We think we need to work on that so we can be a more reconciled people among all groups.”
Daysa added: “We very much put forward the message that everyone is equal and a beautiful child of God. But we also feel like those who are in positions of power and privilege have an obligation to lay down that power and work for a more just, equal society.”
Daysa told The Tampa Bay Times that she’s received some hateful comments on Facebook and “some pretty strongly worded voicemails.”
"The negative reactions I've heard so far have been from Caucasian or white people in our community who don't believe white privilege exists and are upset that we're drawing attention to it," she said. "We could go through life as white people in our community and not even recognize it. But we need to acknowledge it.”
Dayas has no plans to back down and said it’s part of a larger campaign. “We had a sign out there a few weeks ago over Martin Luther King week. It came directly from our national denomination who has a media campaign right now confronting white privilege and power, and the sign read: 'White Privilege: If you can’t see it you’ve got it,'" she said.
"And there were a number of people calling ... us anti-racist and a disappointment to Martin Luther King Jr.”