I was invited to write for the Pastoral Is Political feature at the RevGalBlogPals website, and my first post went live this morning. It’s a deeper dive into something I said in my interview that I shared last week, regarding white people being Legion. Here’s an excerpt; you can read the rest here.
“We are legion.” I used this phrase with intention, but why would I say such a thing about my(white)self, about my fellow white folk? Saying that white people are an unclean spirit is not very nice, really.
In Mark’s story, the Gerasene possessed by the unclean spirit is so unsafe, so violent to himself and his community that he cannot be restrained. He is isolated, apart, amongst tombs “howling and bruising himself with stones,” resistant even to Jesus’s healing. When Jesus asks the demon to name itself, they (!) name themselves Legion: the armies, occupiers, and enforcers of the Roman Empire. In other words, the Empire’s forces of death, oppression, violence, and idolatry have taken over this man, making him a threat to the well-being of others, and himself.
So with the Gerasene, my white friends and relatives, so with us. We likewise are possessed by Legion, the Empire of our day, the demon of whiteness that inhabits our minds, hearts, bodies like a multitude of Voldemort’s horcruxes. Regardless of where we fall on the political spectrum, we cause harm when we refuse to recognize how Legion – whiteness – acts out of us.