Ernest Grey attended the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago in 2002. One day, he was approached by a white student waving a baton.
“You remember Rodney King, don’t you?”
Rodney King was a black taxi driver who was severely beaten March 3, 1991 by Los Angeles Police Department officers. The incident was recorded and went viral.
Grey said the memory of this encounter was burned into his memory forever, but perhaps the most shocking part of the incident was the student was training to be a missionary–in Africa.
This is not the only story of racial prejudice at Moody. There are several others, including an account from Micah Bournes. Bournes is a poet and hip-hop artist who graduated from Moody in 2010.
To make Moody’s case even worse, curriculum for Biblical and theological studies excludes any prominent black figures. John Pendelton, a black student at Moody who began his freshman year in 2010, said it was difficult to learn about his faith when his culture had no part of it. Pendelton said his studies revolved around Western culture with no mention of diversity.
Finally, in 2015, a group of black students at Moody decided enough was enough. The group, called Embrace, hosted a forum to address white privilege at the university. The event was called “White Like Me.”
Controversy erupted as fliers were placed around campus from students and faculty. Bryan Litfin, a theology professor at Moody, was one of the leaders of resistance against the diversity initiative.
Litfin took to Facebook to call the forum event “offensive on its face and unworthy of Christian discourse.” The professor’s actions continued into this academic year.
At the beginning of the fall 2017 semester, Litfin began class by addressing the recent Charlottesville protests and shamed those who participated in counter-protests to the white supremacists.
These stories are only few of the several discriminatory incidents at Moody. It’s hard for me to believe this kind of prejudice still exists in 2018. It’s even harder for me to believe it comes from sources like a Christian institution.
The conversation of white privilege exceeds the limits of Moody. These ideals and sentiments echo from within groups of Evangelicals across the nation. Whether these ideals are subconscious or intentional, they need to be erased.
I once heard a quote that said, “If you want racism to go away, stop talking about it.” The quote resonated with me until I realized it’s not going to go away on its own. We can’t expect to be silent about racism or any other type of injustice and it vanish.
Justice requires the darkness to be brought to light. These conversations need to be intentional if we want to see real change, and change needs to happen now.