Delivered during the 2010 Annual Meeting, Nilson explores novelist James Baldwin’s reflections on the truth about racism and white supremacy. Whiteness, for Baldwin, functions as a kind of idolatry intimately connected with the fear of death. Although Baldwin never attempted to provide evidence for this observation, NIlson reveals a compelling proof through fascinating psychological experiments in Terror Management Theory (TMT). According to TMT, consciousness of one’s mortality – “mortality salience” – often results in a heightened tolerance of prejudice and bias. For a Church that seems far more concerned with keeping its white members untroubled and content, the price for peace is the suffering of millions of its black brothers and sisters. Can an understanding of how TMT functions offer a solution?


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