Have you ever heard the slogan “Black Privilege”? Most, I think would say no. My guest Pastor Roy Niedfeldt will discuss what he terms black privilege and why it’s so important that it’s recognized.

Pastor Roy Niedfeldt was born and raised in Cudahy, Wisconsin a southeastern suburb of Milwaukee. For several years, he pastored his church and ran a charity for the previously incarcerated. At this time, he and his wife are looking at possibly doing a church plant. In the interim, they attend Evolve Church on North 76th Street in Milwaukee.

Show Highlights:

 ·  Why he wrote the article “Black Privilege”

·   Community’s reaction to George Floyd’s killing

·   The Slogan “White Privilege” comes out

·   God wants us to see the good in people

·   Spirituality is very important

·   Black people’s great spiritual heritage

·   Slavery – In suffering people cry out to God

·   White people in America shifting away from God

·   Black people pass down spirituality to children

·   The advantage of spirituality

·   The response to his article “Black Privilege”

·    Black young people see themselves as lower

In next week’s episode, we will conclude this interview. Be sure to tune in then.


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praise God for the black grandparents and their parents and the generations of black people who've passed down very specifically their faith in God. I can't tell you how many kids I talked to and they're like, Oh, my grandma's a minister. My grandpa's in the church. my uncle's a deacon. And so, there's just this godly heritage. Almost every African American grandma I know is usually a sweet old lady who loves Jesus. Now I'm not saying all of them, but the majority. And in white society, that's just not true. So there's this great heritage that Black people have preserved and have passed down. If white people have passed down economics, Black people have passed down spirituality, and that's something to be proud of, something to celebrate, and really gives them an advantage. If white people have passed down economics, Black people have passed down spirituality, and that's an advantage. Hello, everyone, and welcome to a prisoner's pardon podcast with me, your host Michi J. Today, we're going to be talking about an interesting subject. And it's called black privilege. I know it almost sounds like an oxymoron, but my guest today doesn't seem to think so. My guest is Roy Neafelt. He is a pastor, a white pastor, actually, who lives in a predominantly. Black area. And he has some interesting ideas about black privilege that I had the pleasure of talking to him about briefly. I wanted you to hear it. So I invited him on the show. Welcome Pastor Niefeld. How you doing today? I'm doing good. Thank you so much for having me. Okay, great. Great. Thank you for coming. Like I just told our audience, we want to talk about, I believe it was the article you did. It was called black privilege. And, first off introduce yourself a little bit more. I know it's a lot more to you and I want my audience to know who you are. Okay. So my name is Pastor Roy and, um, I, I live here in Milwaukee. I was born and raised on the South side of Milwaukee on a little suburb that most people will know called Cudahy. And, um, Didn't have a lot of familiarity with the black community. but you know, definitely had friends and stuff of different colors and different races and all kinds of stuff. But we moved to me and my wife moved to the meadows as it's known for most people. And, uh, currently actually called the woodlands, which is 91st and Brown deer, roughly about 10 years ago. And, um, it really, you know, has been an experience to, um, Live in the all black culture as a white pastor and get to know my neighbors and, uh, get to love people and know people and serve the people of the neighborhood. we started a church out there. That church is currently not going. We actually currently attend Evolve Church. Shout out to Evolve. Woo woo! Awesome church in Milwaukee on 76th and Mill. And we're in between being active pastors. We've actually been pastoring on Tetonia as well, at another great church, and had recently resigned there, and are looking at possibly doing a church plant, or getting involved maybe with Evolve More. We'll have to see what God has. So, we've had some very unique experiences. I've ran a charity for ex felons for several years. And, um, I'm just a super involved individual, so I like to get involved and help wherever I can, which has sometimes put me in some crazy good and sometimes some crazy bad situations, but it's been a learning experience and I'm open to learning more. Wow. Okay. Wow. I applaud you for that, for your, you and your wife moving. a very, area that can be, you know, kind of really struggling challenging area. I know last year we had, I think the most homicides of any block in Milwaukee or probably Chicago per capita, I believe. Uh, technically, I think a few of them were off the block by just a couple feet, 50 feet or 100 feet, depending on how you measure. Um, but last, last year, I know we had like eight homicides on our city block. It was a, it was a rough year, but this year so far zero that I know of at least. Oh, okay. It's a, it's a, it's a crazy area. Oh yeah. I know. I've heard of it. So tell us about why, why did, why did you write this article and tell us about that? Yeah, so this article, um, this happened right after the killing of George Floyd, and, um, I wanted to be part of a solution, and I, and you know, everybody, um, everybody was trying to do something. I don't want to say everybody, but a vast majority of people wanted to do something, and there were a lot of, uh, thoughts, a lot of ideas on reform, on what exactly went wrong, what exactly, you know, should change, and how it should change, and, I didn't want to say something stupid, for lack of a better word, so I, I just prayed for a while, like a few days, and listened to different neighbors and different friends of mine, saying, you know, what do you think about this, you know, what do you, what do you think should change, you know, what do you think caused this exactly, and, and led up to these circumstances, and so on and so forth, and I will say it was fascinating to me that I heard opinions in the black community from one end of the spectrum all the way to the other. Thank you. Thank you. And as I was praying about it, I really felt like God, God spoke to me, uh, a few days into that and said some things very, very clearly to me. The first thing he said was I needed to be extraordinarily sensitive. And, uh, there was just, he said, you, you, you have to know that there's an, uh, like basically my people that this group of people, um, with it, you know, God loves everyone the same. Let me just. say that first. I don't believe God distinguishes us by color. But to say that humans haven't and don't, um, often do it, it would just be a pure factual lie on its face. And so I just felt like God spoke to me and said, you need to be incredibly sensitive towards the African American community. They've been through a lot of pain. You know, and and I just really felt it as he told it to me, like the sense of like God's compassion. And so I felt like I would, I shouldn't be quick to speak. I shouldn't be quick to, um, you know, quick to just say, well, maybe this or maybe that would help. Um, and then he told me something that I just. Never would have thought of and I thought, Lord, are you sure, are you sure you want me to say these words because there were definitely some slogans, you know, that came out and just kind of like some statements. Obviously, Black Lives Matter came out as a group, but it also came out as a slogan and there were other slogans that came out of it and one of them was white privilege. And I mean, that had been around for a while, but people were using that that term a lot more just to refer to the fact that white people had had privilege in this country and. In reference, obviously, they were implying that black people did not have that same privilege. And so I felt like the Lord just spoke to me. He said, I want you to write an article called black privilege. And I thought, Oh man, my wife is going to be so mad. This is going to make people mad at me. I thought, Oh Jesus, are you sure? And I prayed about it again and I really felt it. And Uh, it definitely made a few mad, but I would, I would say that probably 95 to 98 percent of African American people responded very positively to it, and, um, I am, I'm very glad that I wrote the article, um, and I'd be glad to, to tell you all about it. Okay, great. I want to copy if you still have it as well. Yeah. Okay. It's on my Facebook page and I will, I'll go back, copy it and send it to you. If you want, I can break down the whole contents now, or if you want to. Oh, yeah. Oh, for sure. Go ahead. So black privilege is a very just simple idea, but it's not an idea. I really felt this came from the Lord. This isn't something that I thought of. This isn't something that I got from interviewing people or asking questions or, you know, gathering data or anything like that. Um, It's, I really feel God always wants to point out the good in people and in society, and God is not bypassing or not acknowledging the pain and the difficulty that there is in many black communities, and that historically that black people have gone through in many ways. Um, but he was pointing out to me instead of saying, Hey, let's, he wanted society instead of saying, Hey, you know, white people have better economics here. Which is true overall, you know, and again, it differs from individual to individual. Of course, nobody's going to say an NBA player has, you know, bad economics, but overall, there's a lot of African American people who don't have as good economics as white people and. A lot of people just look at that and they just get angry and they get frustrated. And, and a lot of times people talk to me about that and they're just, you know, you white people, are you this, are you that, or, or white people. Sometimes they don't include me 'cause I'm their friend and they just kind of, you know, white people have it easier and better. Mm-hmm. and in many ways economically that's true and has been true. And, and hopefully that will improve, but there's a much more important aspect of one's life that people are missing out on when, when they look at it that way. And that is spirituality. In the end, all that's really going to matter is, is where we go when we die. You know, every, everyone's going to die. So people who believe in religion, people who specifically believe in Christianity, um, you know, we believe we're either going to go to heaven or we're going to go to hell. And so in the end, nobody's going to care if you're a billionaire on earth, or if you lived in a tin shack. It's going to matter what reward do you have in heaven and where did you go? And what God told me is that Black people have a great privilege that they're not Realizing now that doesn't again mean all of them aren't realizing it, but the majority and in America, black people have this great spiritual heritage. I am not going to pretend to know exactly how it all came about, but my. The little bit I know, and, and people can correct me and, and educate me on this a little more if I'm wrong, is I think slavery had, um, obviously it was a negative thing. But when, when things go negative, people cry out to God. And so in the history books, in movies, if they're accurate, which I know a lot aren't, um, you see a lot of people reaching out to God. You hear of godly people like Harriet Tubman, and you hear of godly other people who rose up. within the difficulty of it. And a lot of African Americans turned for the Lord strongly. I mean, you have the, the spirituals, which I believe is the proper name for a lot of the songs that came out of the, that era and African American people have held onto that through all their struggles, through the sixties, through all the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King was obviously a minister. And so if you go in the black society and you drive up and down the streets where it's predominantly black Here's what you're going to see church church church church church If you talk to uh african american kids, which I do all the time as well as adults I remember I was speaking to one specific group I said how many of you believe in god and one kid looked at me and he said pastor. Are you stupid? He said everybody believes in god And I thought, how sad, because he didn't realize that there's this huge society in America, which is primarily the white society, which is shifting away from God. They're primarily becoming atheistic, they're becoming agnostic, they're becoming just the belief in some other type of God. The white population in America is not a very godly population. Maybe they used to be, you know, 70, 80, 90 years ago. But they have shifted away. Where African Americans have this society that still has just hundreds more churches. They have the biggest, um, um, Pentecostal denomination, the church of God in Christ, and is primarily all African American. So there's just this godly heritage. Almost every African American grandma I know is usually a sweet old lady who loves Jesus. Now I'm not saying all of them, but the majority. And in white society, that's just not true. So there's this great heritage that Black people have preserved and have passed down. If white people have passed down economics, Black people have passed down spirituality, and that's something to be proud of, something to celebrate, and really gives them an advantage. And I think that's the premier, um, Aspect that's looked at when black people say, you know, there's white privilege and they're frustrated and they're angry and they're disappointed. They're saying, listen, I don't have, I don't have the honor. I don't have the advantage. I'm at a disadvantage. But you know what, you're also growing up at an advantage of spirituality, that majority of black people have Christianity in their homes and have a faith in God to some degree. Wow, that is like, I believe that's incredibly insightful, and it definitely had to come from God for sure. And, I think you're right on target with that because that is what I've been seeing as well, that, for a spiritual ality and having an openness to, the spirit of God, it's, it's easier. We seem to grasp it. Easier, I should say, and I didn't know, um, you know, pinpoint exactly why until you just mentioned about when people are getting persecuted and broken down, they get to cry out to the Lord. They have no choice in a get to have a relationship with him, which becomes very rich. Well, and praise, praise God for the black grandparents and their parents and the generations of black people who've passed down very specifically their faith in God. You know, I can't tell you how many kids I talked to and they're like, Oh, my grandma's a minister. My grandpa's in the church. My, my uncle's a deacon. And so, you know. People have to take pride in what's important in life and make sure they pass it down to their kids. And just being brutally honest, the white society has not done that at this point in America. I'm terrified for white society. When I try to go to a suburb and I'm... trying to witness. And if I'm in a grocery store, wherever I am, and I'm trying to tell some white person about Jesus, usually their response is extraordinarily negative. They're like, leave me alone with that BS or mother blinker. Get away from me. I mean, I get incredibly hostile responses regularly. And I could walk up to anywhere from a wealthy, uh, elite dressed businessman in the African American, uh, community to a gangster who's got his pistol with an extended mag tucked out of his pants and his grill on and say, Hey, what up, man? Can I talk to you about Jesus? Almost every time the response is going to be yes and and a lot of times people say everybody needs a prayer And I think there's just there is large differences, you know, um between the black in In certain areas where it's predominantly all african american or black or in certain areas So it's predominantly all white or caucasian. I think that's where you would notice the biggest differences and Again, there's certainly neighborhoods that are a little bit mixed and I think, you know, then cultures begin to blend, which is, which is a healthy thing as long as we're blending the positive things of both culture. And I just think this is a positive thing. Matter of fact, you know, it might be hard to always feel that way, like, certainly, and it can be super stressful and you don't have the money to pay your bills or. You're struggling with, you know, economics at any factor of your life. But in the end, this is actually the more important of the two. And I think that's what God was really highlighting to me as well, is if I could pick one or the other as a human being, you'd actually rather be in the one. group than the other if you had an advantage of spirituality, because in the end that will lead to the better, you could even say that would lead to the better economics, because in heaven, that's the reward that will last, you know, that's the streets of gold and the house that has been prepared for you by Jesus. So, there is an advantage in being African American. You know, is there some disadvantages? Absolutely. And should those be changed? Absolutely. That's like I said, that's incredibly insightful and yeah, these eternal things are way more important than what's actually passing like seasonal. I should say. And, so you said you had a 95 percent approval with the article in, um, dealing with the African American community. Community, the black American community. I mean, whenever living, living in all African American neighborhood, the last 10 years has been eye opening because sometimes I'm a little quick with my mouth. I like to talk and sometimes I have to apologize because I, you know, say something real fast or I don't let somebody finish talking or. You know, whatever. So I was nervous about writing this article just because living in an African American community, you know, there's been a few times I've offended people and, um, I just thought, man, I do not want to be offensive during such a sensitive time that I had nothing to do with, you know, I just kind of wanted to make sure that I accidentally didn't offend anybody. And, um, I was nervous. I was, I was actually very nervous. And I told my wife, she was like, Oh, no, are you sure, you know, like, this is not the article for you to write. And if I remember it, I think I even got a call from three separate pastors, all African American pastor friends of mine. And I think they were like, Bro, what are you doing? Like, are you serious? Did you really just write that? And I just told them very point, pointedly. I just said, listen, like, I know I heard from God. So regardless of whether people approve or disapprove, this is a message he's trying to get out. And if people don't believe it, that's, that's up for them to decide. They think I'm trying to get out my own opinion or they somehow think I came up with this. That's, that's for them to decide, but it's not, it's something that he told me. Um, and it's something that he told me he wanted me to write. Um, So when I put it out there, I, I think I actually boosted it just because my Facebook isn't super popular. I don't, I don't post that often. And I thought, Lord, if you really want to get this out there, I'm going to boost it. I'm going to, I'm going to add to this. And I want to, I want to get this article hopefully copied and shared and get people to, to take this concept and really. Feel something positive from God and and focus on what God is saying about their community. So So yeah, I got I had a lot of responses and I would say 95 percent of it was positive again You get a lot of african american Older people saying amen brother and you know, you're right. We do have something positive and quite a few people who just said And again, I don't want to, it was a while ago, it was during the George Floyd time, and so, um, I don't remember every comment, but I believe a lot of them are just saying, hey, this is eye opening, or I never quite saw it that way, or I never quite framed it that way. And so there was a, there was a very positive response. There was a few people who just said, sure, coming from a white past, or how would you know, or, or whatever. And, um, you know, I just kind of ignored those comments and just thought, you know, I wouldn't know necessarily, but, but God knows, you know, God knows everybody and he knows all things. So, all right, so the article left it at that. Yeah, so my question is with the negative feedback were they. Were they God believers or were they atheists? Um, I'm just wanting to know if you know, if you remember that, or if you even know that. Yeah, I think, um, I don't remember if they specifically referenced whether they were or weren't, but I, I do know, like, just, you know, I guess just living and talking. I love the jibber jabber and I think I know every 1 of my neighbors fairly well. And, um. Yeah. I'm guessing some of them were and some of them weren't. I mean, I think, again, I think 90 percent of African American people that I know are in some way affiliated with Christianity. It doesn't mean they attend church regularly. Um, it doesn't mean they read the Bible every day. Um, but a lot of them just have an affiliation where if you said, hey, what's your religion? They said, well, of course, I believe in Jesus, not realizing that Jesus is. Not the only world religion, you know, almost as if that's, it's either Jesus or not. And majority of people do believe in Jesus in the African American community and have, again, some history with Christianity. Maybe, again, maybe they're active, maybe they're not. So, I think there, there definitely, let me just put this, I think there definitely is a good 4, 5, 6%, maybe 10%. I don't know, I don't know exactly, again, what the numbers are. Um, but there are people within the church even who are offended. I mean, I got a call from three different pastors, so, in minutes of posting, saying, please, one of them said, please take this down. You are not the person. And I just said, listen, I, this was not my idea. This was not something I wanted to write. Um. This is just something that God told me, so I'm gonna post it, you know, and, and I just said, respectively, this is my Facebook page, and if people, you know, give me a hard time and hate me, I'm willing to swallow that. I'm willing to take that. So... You know, there's some kickback and, and I think a large, a large part of that kickback focuses around one thing. It's just because, because I talk to people all the time about issues and I try to listen to people about what's going on in the black community and, and you had a long talk and I'm sure you could have taught, uh, you know, figured out within that talk. There were plenty of points that if somebody wanted to be offended, they could have been offended, you know? Um, and I think it's impossible to discuss important subjects without offending people. How do you have something that's important? And everyone agree. If everyone does agree, then why are you discussing it? What's the point? Right? So if you're discussing something important and And people don't agree, then you have to offend people because it's important to them. It's important to you. You have disagreeing opinions and humans are easily offended. And so it's just, it's kind of something that just goes with the territory of saying something that matters. And, um, Talking about it openly. So I think I offended a few people. And I think the majority defense just came from the fact that how dare you be a white person and have an opinion or in their mind, probably an opinion or try to say something factually on what would help the black community. And to me, that's a very dangerous thought pattern because what we're saying then is that if you're not somebody, like, if you're not a female, you can't understand females. If you're not a, you know, an older person, you can't understand older people. And it just doesn't work. I mean, we have therapists and psychologists who are counseling people all the time who are different than them. You know, we have people who are helping people like yourself in the prison system. And I don't know your, your full history, but I'm guessing you haven't been in the prison system actively. So prisoners could look to you and say, you can't help me. You've never been in my shoes. And you know, I believe God has given us empathy. And I believe God has given us the ability to, to look at something from the outside and try to understand each other as fellow human beings so that we can lift one another up when we're in negative situations. Does that mean It's easy to understand something you've never been through. I don't necessarily know if it's easy. I think the more you surround yourself, the more you study, the more you look into something, um, the more you can understand. And I think Within that, it's important to always have an open mindset. Like I always tell people, like, this is what I think and I'm pretty sure of it, but I could be completely wrong. And as I get new information, um, I'm willing to change my thoughts. Now, the only way I'm not open to changing thoughts is if I believe God has shared in me his thoughts and if I'm very certain and clear on that. So I don't believe God makes mistakes, but I do believe I do. And, um, I certainly could even make mistakes about what I think God is saying. Um, I will say about this article, I am, I am positive. I am sure that God spoke to me, and I'm sure that he feels that way. I'm sure that he wants to uplift the African American society and see, help them see, hey, we have something to be proud of. We have something to boast about. We have something to look at in a positive light. And if they can grasp that, you know, one of the, the areas that I see in the black community as I interact with them is that a lot of young people, they, they kind of, for lack of better words, they see themselves as lower. And they're just like, you know, we're lower than you and we, we shouldn't be. And who, who wouldn't agree with that? Unless you're an evil person, that no human being should look at another and just feel lower, just feel on a lower value. You know, if there was a chart, you know, you're a 10, I'm a 7, or you're an 8, I'm a 5, and that's just demeaning. Like, I don't like to walk into a party or a group or a church and just feel like, like everyone here is better than me. I shouldn't be able to speak up my opinions, my thoughts, my contributions are valued less. And I think that's what a lot of African American young people, as well as people in general, have felt over the years. And God said, okay, yes, economically, you drive through the black inner cities and you see worse economics. Then they drive through a white neighborhood and you see, well, most people own a house. Most people, you know, have several cars. Most people's kids are, you know, going to college. The schools are better. These are, these are facts that, that we need to change as a society. But also when they drive through the African American neighborhoods, they should see church, church, church, church, church. And you drive through. White America and you you just don't see that many churches anymore. Matter of fact, the churches are closing at an alarming rate. And so You know, there's, there's more than just economics. Economics are a huge deal, and I actually think they're, uh, one of the biggest deals that, that need to change, um, in one of the most important of matters, but above them is spirituality. Like, again, you make me pick Jesus, or you make me pick my house and my car, uh, where do I live? Show me my shack. I want to go to heaven, you know, and I need him, I need his support and I need his friendship and I need him to be God over my life to help guide me through this life. And I need that more than I need anything else. Exactly. I definitely agree. And going back to what you said about, you know, me not being in a prison system, like literally in jail or somewhere, not because of. Lack of chances. So it's just, I was by the grace of God. I didn't go. But, I want to say I did have a response 1 time from a particular. Um, pastor, black pastor, and he thought I wasn't. Worthy enough to help in this area because he thought he thought so, because I've never been a president. So, again, I totally agree with you. And the whole point is that everybody, regardless of your background have to work together. to solve the problem, as long as everybody is at the table, you know, so to speak, but when we have these sort of, I call it prejudices. It's not, it does not help with the solution because sometimes it has to be someone on that's close to it. Not necessarily inside of it to see something where the person inside cannot see. So, you definitely have to have a diverse of counselors to solve this issue. And I, I really. Congratulate you for doing this article. It did take bravery and, it, we do need to see the value of our black culture. And it's not being widely said in for you. I know. Anybody they're going to get offended when they want to get offended. They're going to find something and get offended about regardless of how you say it. Some people like, oh, it's how you say it is what you know. It does not even matter. Um, I've seen that before. So, you know, that uses the most. You know, unordinary people to do miraculous things and you really hit on a good point where a lot of us have an identity issue where we don't think that we are of value. We see ourselves that way and. That's what I see being played out with the young people, with young women, young men. They're thinking that all they can aspire to be is to be a drug dealer, a basketball player, you know, some form of entertainer. That's it. They don't look at us being in the sciences and, um, just. Being good at math or anything like that. We, we have our, I would say generalizations that we all have our prejudices and how we view particular cultures and stuff. So, again, we do need to see ourselves positive in this and you're right. The spirituality is huge that we can capitalize on if we get. The right information, so I think I think it's a huge emotional boost, you know, if. You have to start somewhere. So somebody can, you know, when you walk out your door in the morning, you're on your way to a job interview, you're on your way to school, you know, you have to kind of think like, why, you know, why am I important? You can tell by the way a lot of people walk, you know, are your shoulders up? Are you looking up? Can you look someone in the eye? And that comes, you know, if you just left your house and your mom and your dad are awesome and they both live with you and they're telling you, you know, we love you. You're important. You're valuable.

Microphone (2- AT2005USB):

That was part one of Black Privilege. With Pastor Niefeld. This is some good conversation to listen to again, hold your judgment to the end and see just what you think after you hear the second part. Remember tune in next week for that. Thank you for listening and God bless.