Jin S. Kim speaks on White American’s “fetish for innocence”

Our nation’s origin in religious Utopianism, coupled with the myth of American Exceptionalism, the Manifest Destiny–that we were warring Europeans but now we are supreme White people in America–all of that mythology leads White Americans to have this permanent fetish for innocence. So they don’t really want to know–and I call it a fetish for innocence–it’s just rampant, it’s pervasive, and I would say it’s almost without exception. I hardly know a White person that doesn’t have this driving need to be personally innocent. And it’s a very strange thing because that’s not in my culture. I mean we are a collective people and we collectively sin and we collectively do well. But White people are individualistic and then they have to be pure in God’s sight. So they have to be personally innocent. And the only way in the midst of an incredibly oppressive society–with our foundation of land theft, genocide, and slavery–is basically to not know. So ignorance becomes the primary tool to maintain innocence. And because it is so insisted upon, despite all evidence to the contrary, it can be nothing more than a fetish, right? And so how to cure White people of the fetish for innocence is truly a monumental challenge. And we’re actually trying to do that at Church of All Nations–cure our people of that fetish.

That fetish, by the way, destroys marriage because married couples that I’ve noticed can’t confess and repent because they need to insist that they had good motives. However much I’ve hurt you, I meant well. That’s the primary thing that White people are obsessed with. That they have good intentions. It’s crazy, you know, why that would be so important?!? But through our background, that’s the kind of people we have. And it leads people not to be honest and real and get to the bottom of things. So we’re constantly covering over real problems, and covering it over with ideology and propaganda and marketing on top of marketing. We just can’t seem to really solve our problems because the average American isn’t really interested in solving the problem. They’re interested in their personal innocence project. Mic drop! Somebody close us in prayer, doggone it!

Jin S. Kim (transcribed from audio–2:08:00-2:10:30–in “The American Century: Neoliberal Stirrings (1914-1945)”)

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