Over the last week or so, the social media hashtag #DearWhiteMormons has given Mormons of color an opportunity to share their experiences of being in a mostly-white church. Like this:
— Zion X Lion (@Zion_X_Lion) May 27, 2017
#DearWhiteMormons: I didn’t take get into BYU just bc I’m a WoC. I didn’t take your precious Billy’s spot, I just got a better SAT score.
— tinesha (@TineshaCapri) May 24, 2017
But it wasn’t long before some white Mormons appeared to feel threatened by the hashtag. Some called it “reverse racism” when Mormons of color explained how they had been treated or judged. The tenor of some of these tweets from white Mormons was that golly, gosh, and darn it, race just does not exist as a category in white Mormons’ minds! If blacks or Latinos bring it up, they are creating divisions and barriers where none exist. We’re all brothers and sisters in Christ, people; can’t we just get along? Stop playing the victim already.
As several people of color pointed out, such responses themselves revealed that Mormon racism is, sadly, alive and well. The very people who want to claim that racial differences do not exist and that we should forget the troubles of the past are often the same folks who perpetuate white culture and history as normative.
#DearWhiteMormons: how are you gonna celebrate Mormon pioneers every year but tell us to forget about history?
— The Hood Mormon (@thehoodmormon) May 24, 2017
And these whites’ responses are only the less extreme or overt brand of racism — the kind that wants to sweep the experiences of people of color under the rug so that whites don’t have to feel uncomfortable about the privileges they take for granted.
There’s a darker current at work as well, which is even more sinister.
This type is represented by LDS blogger “Wife with a Purpose,” who retweets appalling claims about “white genocide” and the need for white people to have more babies to they can counteract the growth of minority races who have a higher birth rate. Otherwise, she says, white culture will be eradicated and whites will be oppressed.
Remember when your ancestors fought and died for this country so that their posterity could be out bred by people who showed up yesterday? https://t.co/5rJPqtNJPB
— Wife With A Purpose (@apurposefulwife) May 30, 2017
Using hashtags like #whiteculture, #saveeurope, and, of course, #altright, she begs Americans (read: white people) to wake up and smell their coming extermination. This morning she tweeted that white people are “under attack, dying daily” in America — this despite the fact that while there has been a 20% rise in hate crimes, the victims are overwhelmingly Jews, people of color, and sexual minorities.
These women psychologically torture white children in the Mormon church to make money. It’s beyond sick. https://t.co/iUrzG9clkY
— Wife With A Purpose (@apurposefulwife) May 29, 2017
She also told the Sistas, “We will not let you shame, harass, belittle, attack and degrade white LDS members anymore. This has come to an end!” But it sure looks like the shaming, harassment, and degradation are directed from her, not to her.
Wife with a Purpose says the Sistas are “fake Mormons,” and says that white supremacy (a term she rejects for herself, but if the shoe fits . . .) is baked right into Mormonism’s founding:
It offends me bc it isn’t true. Our prophet had a vision and both were white.
Does everyone see how SJWs place PC above the Gospel? Sick. https://t.co/YavnTgiiT0
— Wife With A Purpose (@apurposefulwife) May 26, 2017
So apparently, because Joseph Smith saw “a pillar of light” that exceeded “the brightness of the sun,” that means that Jesus and Heavenly Father had white skin. Because of course.
This weekend she convened the first ever “Mormon Right” conference with “about a dozen” adults in attendance.
A dozen is small, but it’s a dozen Mormon racists too many. I call upon our church to speak out against this kind of injustice — or at least to speak louder. Those words are there from Jeffrey R. Holland, Gordon B. Hinckley, and many others. But the church has also never fully repudiated racist statements from earlier leaders like Bruce R. McConkie, Mark E. Peterson, and Brigham Young. Until and unless it does, it allows the ugliness of racism to fester and grow.