Introduction by Derrick Peterson
Of the many things people take for granted today "race" is undoubtedly foremost among them. This is so even for those who--with good intentions no doubt--say they "don't see color." For the idea of colorlessness not only ignores the fact that our cultures, heritages, and skin colors do in fact shape who we are, or have been (or have been perceived; or how we have felt under the "gaze" of others); but also forgets that "colorlessness" is a paradigm itself invented by European theological, philosophical, and political discourse. "White" is often the assumed "neutral" with all others being variations. To ignore color of any type--white, black, or otherwise--by subsuming all under the umbrella of "colorlessness" is to assume now that all people fall into this type of European normativity or American individualism--to say, ultimately, that people are just people as individuals with no history, no bodies, only contextless choices.
It is just such a "docetic" interpretation (to borrow the theological term, meaning Christ only "appeared" to be a Jewish man, but in fact was only a spiritual being untouched by the world) that is the legacy of certain forms of Christianity which believed they could understand themselves and the world apart from their Jewish roots. What follows is an unnerving but necessary story of theology's failures, but also occasional triumphs. For this "throwback thursday" we make available for your reading pleasure an interview with J. Kameron Carter (Ph.D., University of Virginia, now Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Black Church Studies at Duke Divinity School) originally published in New Wine, New Wineskin's academic journal Cultural Encounters: A Journal for the Theology of Culture Voume 5 Number 2 (Summer 2009). In this interview, Adam McInturf (who works at Wipf and Stock Publishers as a Reprint Acquisitions specialist, and at Window's Books which is in our humble opinion at New Wine, the best theological bookstore Portland, Oregon has to offer) talks to Dr. Carter about his book, Race: A Theological Account, and about Carter's experiences and research that led to its publication.
[Pictured: A Mural of Frantz Fannon in Montreal. Picture Courtesy of Photography Montreal]