cover image White Christian Privilege: The Illusion of Religious Equality in America

White Christian Privilege: The Illusion of Religious Equality in America

Khyati Y. Joshi. NYU, $28 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4798-4023-6

Joshi (New Roots in America’s Sacred Ground), professor of education at Fairleigh Dickinson University, explores Christian privilege, Christian normativity, and Christian hegemony in this powerful analysis. Her argument is simple: Christianity (particularly the European Protestant strain) has been established as the unacknowledged common culture, not simply religion, of the United States, leading to a situation where anything not white, Western, and Christian is seen as abnormal. Providing something of a whistle-stop tour—rather than an in-depth exploration—Joshi whisks through the development of white Christian privilege in just under two chapters. She explores the effects of the 16th-century papal “The Doctrine of Discovery” that authorized any Christian monarch who “discovers non-Christian lands has a right to claim a superior and paramount title to these lands” and argues it was used to justify the conquest of indigenous people. She also uses National Geographic’s 2018 apology for decades of racist coverage as a jumping-off point to examine contemporary problems in the representation of non-Christian minorities and foreigners. Joshi’s notes and bibliography will prove an invaluable guide for readers who want to continue exploring these ideas in more depth. This brisk overview is a must-read for those interested in America’s Christian foundation. (July)