Cross-Cultural, Urban, Reformed, Ecumenical

The Miseducation of the Nation


As McCormick’s Initiative for Incarnational Ethics prepares for its Spring Lecture, Dr. Reggie Williams, associate professor of Christian Ethics and director of the Initiative, opens up the discussion that will explore how education has been used to form a society that embraces white supremacy as the norm.

“What was ‘stolen’ from the people who stormed the Capitol and ransacked the place on January 6,” questioned Dr. Reggie Williams, associate professor Christian Ethics and director of McCormick’s Initiative for Incarnational Ethics. “It wasn’t money nor an election; it was a belief that they were losing their coveted grip on the dominating concept of white supremacy.”

This is a recurring pattern, noted Dr. Williams, and one that will be a focus of the Spring Lecture that will be given by Dr. Willie Jennings, associate professor of Systematic Theology and Africana Studies at Yale Divinity School. “One of things that Dr. Jennings points out for us is a sensitivity to theological education that shapes us to an understanding of life that is governed by white supremacy as normal,” said Dr. Williams. “It’s a violent practice of inclusion that incorporates black people and other racial groups in ways that demonstrate that whites are superior. Think slavery, Jim Crow, housing discrimination, voter suppression and other political measures to keep ‘others in their place’ and away from experiencing full citizenship. Much of the education in this nation cunningly facilitates those political practices by teaching us all how to know our place in a racist society.”

Moving into its second year, the Initiative for Incarnational Ethics is seeing greater interaction among scholars, pastors, and the community. Its audience was expanded last year, recording more than 600 viewers from across the nation for its Gathering of Pastors that was held online due to the pandemic.

“One of the aims on our lecture series is to broaden the understanding of the Christian life to one that centers on justice as the way of Jesus,” stated Dr. Williams. “We want to look at how the ideology of white supremacy shows up in theological education in order to help dismantle, within our own psyche and that of others, the problems it poses for the well-being of us all.”

McCormick’s Initiative for Incarnational Ethics Spring Lecture will be held Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. CST. Register for the virtual presentation here.