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Down on one knee, boy! White penitence over racism and George Floyd’s murder plunges new depths of piousness and pointlessness

Guy Birchall
Guy Birchall

Guy Birchall, British journalist covering current affairs, politics and free speech issues. Recently published in The Sun and Spiked Online. Follow him on Twitter @guybirchall

Guy Birchall, British journalist covering current affairs, politics and free speech issues. Recently published in The Sun and Spiked Online. Follow him on Twitter @guybirchall

Down on one knee, boy! White penitence over racism and George Floyd’s murder plunges new depths of piousness and pointlessness
A prayer meeting organiser in Houston split his congregation down racial lines so the white half could kneel and beg for forgiveness from the black half. Such self-flagellation doesn’t heal divisions, it highlights them.

Footage and photos have emerged of an open-air prayer group being held in Houston, Texas. The images of black and white Texans praying together as the rain hacked down and riots ripped across America, appeared to be a welcome note of racial harmony in a divided country. Races coming together in a spirit of prayer and forgiveness, united by their shared faith in a time of huge unrest and upheaval seemed to show the best of US society. This congregation in Houston weren’t divided by colour, they weren’t black or white, they were Texans, Christians and Americans. Or so it seemed.

However, the organiser, a gentleman going by the name of Trey 9, took it upon himself to split the mixed-race crowd along racial lines. Having got the black congregants on one side of the basketball court and the white on the other, he then proceeded to get the Caucasian contingent to kneel on one knee and beg for forgiveness from their “black brothers and sisters”. 

As many on both sides burst into tears, Trey, speaking for his fellow white people, prostrated himself and asked that they be forgiven for years and years of “bigotry and racism” and said “we’re sorry” on behalf of the “white race and the brown race”. After a couple of minutes of this rambling, the black half of the congregation also take a knee and they pray together. The clip has predictably been hailed as “powerful” and “emotional” on Twitter. 

How on earth is this sending out the right message? What exactly are these white people apologising for? I may be wrong, but I highly doubt that any white person in this particular crowd has been an avowed racist, or even accused of being one, at least until the horrifying video of George Floyd being knelt on by Officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis appeared last week. 

It seems unlikely that anyone at this meeting has a secret history of previously being a Grand Dragon in the Houston chapter of the KKK. It is obviously right for racism to be called out, and it is obvious that it still exists in America, but how does highlighting our differences help?

Large parts of the left in the US seem intent on bringing about segregation again. They keep wanting to divide the races, so often do you hear of instances on college campuses where there will be “black only safe spaces”. How is implying that the very presence of someone from another race makes you feel unsafe help promote unity? 

Why is it necessary for blameless people in the present day to apologise for the sins of the past, just because some of the evils were committed by people the same colour as them? As a prayer group surely they are aware that the Bible teaches that “Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. Each one shall be put to death for his own sin.”

The display in Houston is one of cringeworthy arrogance. Where does Trey 9 imagine he gets the right to speak for the entire “white race”? It would take an enormous amount of self-regard to imagine that he even spoke for the Caucasian population of Houston, but the entire white race? It seems unfair to say that the people of Minneapolis are responsible for the actions of one policeman, still more illegitimate to imply that George Floyd’s death is the fault of the people of Houston, but the entire white race? Is Trey suggesting that white Croatian fisherman or white Finnish mechanics are in some way culpable as well?

These ostentatious displays of self-flagellation do not help heal racial divisions, they only serve to heighten them. The answer to some white people being racist is not to try and make all white people feel guilty for being white. This video is far more likely to push those inclined to sympathise with white supremacy more quickly into the arms of Richard Spencer and the Daily Stormer.

A great man once said that he had a dream that his children would “one day live in a nation here they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.”  People are individuals and should be treated as such. Defining people by their race doesn’t defeat white supremacists. It plays right into their hands.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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