There are many great links to recommended reads as we continue to confront the horrific realities of racism that, as many have said, is this country’s original sin. In efforts for people of privilege to educate ourselves, we must remember the systems, structures, and powers of our day are not necessarily broken; rather, they are working precisely as designed in a nation with a history of enslavement, genocide, conquest of native peoples, and racism that targets people of color. Hauntingly, these are the primary backdrops of our social, economic, political, and even religious establishments and ideologies. The great evil is, despite endless pleas, protests, marches, movements, and orations by some of history's greatest activists and leaders, these very systems have not been deconstructed or reformed to eradicate systemic racism. Instead, they continue to be cowardly sustained and defended.
To be clear, the road towards such understanding has been slow and difficult, at times painful and humiliating. I have had to confront my own racism, biases, and privileges for the last twenty years and more. Most of my pilgrimage of faith and discipleship formation has come by way of confession and unlearning much of what I considered true, good, right, and “normal.” For white people on this journey, there is no such thing as an arrival as “not racist;” there is only the continual conversion of the heart, mind, and lenses through which we view the world and our movement through it. I am beyond grateful for the patient saints and cloud of witnesses who have walked alongside me, extended grace to me, and continue to aid in my own journey to be the best kind of ally and co-conspirer for God’s justice and reconciliation. There is much work to do and the place we all need to start, especially for us white folk, is by taking a long look in the mirror.
Or our book shelves.
So here are some recommended reads and a few podcasts, too. I have not been to my office for some time, so going a bit off memory here. There are an infinite others, and would love recommendations. Talk to one another and do the honest work together.
- White Privilege:Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michele Alexander
- How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
- Brené Brown with Ibram X. Kendi: How to Be an Antiracist (Unlocking Us Podcast)
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Anything by Coates)
- Stop Asking People Of Color To Explain Racism–Pick Up One Of These Books Instead
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (The incredible film can be viewed for free here)
- Let’s Talk About Whiteness (On Being Podcast with Krista Tippet)
- Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do by Claude M. Steele
- Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving
- Faith in the Face of Empire: The Bible through Palestinian Eyes by Mitri Raheb
- Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Talks about Racism by Drew G.I. Hart
- Binding the Strong Man and Say to This Mountain by Ched Meyers (Commentaries on the Gospel of Mark)
- The Prophetic Imagination by Walter Brueggemann
- Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church by Soong Chan Rah :) (I first read Next Evangelicalism, but have heard him speak live on this book and others)
- Outside the Lines: How Embracing Queerness Will Transform Your Faith by Mihee Kim-Kort
- The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James H. Cone
- Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
- Threatened by Resurrection and The Certainty of Spring by Julia Esquivel (poet, activist, and exiled Guatemalan)
- Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America by R. Eric Thomas
- Dear Church: A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the U.S. by Lenny Duncan
- But I Don’t See You as Asian: Curating Conversations about Race by Bruce Reyes-Chow
- Anti-Racism with Andre Henry (Liturgists Podcast)
- Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison by Shaka Senghor
*Picture above is a collection of old books turned into the base of the bar at the Modern Times Lomaland Fermatorium.