Blackness is not a racial designation. Although race can sometimes be a marker of blackness, it need not be. The plight of black people and their collective experience illustrates the framework of blackness. Anyone of any race or nationality can engage in blackness, yet the most vested individuals are always those who have a personal interest in the outcome of racial, class, gender, and spiritual struggle. Blackness is a construction that presupposes solidarity with the downtrodden, the emiserated, the least in society, the dispossessed, the disenfranchised, and those who understand the world from the underside. Quite often these are the poorest among us. They are those who are powerless and have experienced generational subjugation in ways that do not allow them to easily emerge from the cycle. Blackness reflects those whom Jesus said that he came to set free. As such, blackness is the frontier for American Christians because it is a call that reflects what it means to deny oneself, take up one’s cross, and follow Christ in a market economy. Consequently, when evangelical efforts toward integration and multiracial churches fail, the unrecognized truth is that in a consumerist culture one cannot simultaneously repair the racial breach among Christians while retaining unearned privilege and embodying a faith that is complicit in the oppression of the population with whom one intends to reconcile. Either one denies him or herself, or he or she does not. It cannot be both ways.
Darryl Scriven, “Theological Afterword: The Call to Blackness in American Christianity,” in Christians and the Color Line: Race and Religion after Divided by Faith, eds. J. Russell Hawkins and Phillip Luke Sinitiere (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), 266-267.