Racial Justice

Books:

  • Banaji, M. R., & Greenwald, A. G. (2016). Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People. New York, NY: Random House.
    • “These self-perceptions are challenged by leading psychologists Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald as they explore the hidden biases we all carry from a lifetime of exposure to cultural attitudes about age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, social class, sexuality, disability status, and nationality. “Blindspot” is the authors’ metaphor for the portion of the mind that houses hidden biases. Writing with simplicity and verve, Banaji and Greenwald question the extent to which our perceptions of social groups—without our awareness or conscious control—shape our likes and dislikes and our judgments about people’s character, abilities, and potential. In Blindspot, the authors reveal hidden biases based on their experience with the Implicit Association Test, a method that has revolutionized the way scientists learn about the human mind and that gives us a glimpse into what lies within the metaphoric blindspot. The title’s “good people” are those of us who strive to align our behavior with our intentions. The aim of Blindspot is to explain the science in plain enough language to help well-intentioned people achieve that alignment. By gaining awareness, we can adapt beliefs and behavior and “outsmart the machine” in our heads so we can be fairer to those around us. Venturing into this book is an invitation to understand our own minds. Brilliant, authoritative, and utterly accessible, Blindspot is a book that will challenge and change readers for years to come.”
  • Brown, A. C. (2018). I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness. New York, NY: Convergent Books.
    • “From a powerful new voice on racial justice, an eye-opening account of growing up Black, Christian, and female in middle-class white America. Austin Channing Brown's first encounter with a racialized America came at age 7, when she discovered her parents named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. Growing up in majority-white schools, organizations, and churches, Austin writes, "I had to learn what it means to love blackness," a journey that led to a lifetime spent navigating America's racial divide as a writer, speaker and expert who helps organizations practice genuine inclusion. In a time when nearly all institutions (schools, churches, universities, businesses) claim to value "diversity" in their mission statements, I'm Still Here is a powerful account of how and why our actions so often fall short of our words. Austin writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice, in stories that bear witness to the complexity of America's social fabric--from Black Cleveland neighborhoods to private schools in the middle-class suburbs, from prison walls to the boardrooms at majority-white organizations. For readers who have engaged with America's legacy on race through the writing of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Michael Eric Dyson, I'm Still Here is an illuminating look at how white, middle-class, Evangelicalism has participated in an era of rising racial hostility, inviting the reader to confront apathy, recognize God's ongoing work in the world, and discover how blackness--if we let it--can save us all.”
  • Cone, J. H. (2013). The Cross and the Lynching Tree. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.
    • “The cross and the lynching tree are the two most emotionally charged symbols in the history of the African American community. In this powerful new work, theologian James H. Cone explores these symbols and their interconnection in the history and souls of black folk.”
  • DiAngelo, R., & Dyson, M. E. (2018). White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
    • “The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality. In this “vital, necessary, and beautiful book” (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people’ (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.”
  • Emerson, M. O., & Smith, C. (2001). Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
    • “Through a nationwide telephone survey of 2,000 people and an additional 200 face-to-face interviews, Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith probed the grassroots of white evangelical America. They found that despite recent efforts by the movement's leaders to address the problem of racial discrimination, evangelicals themselves seem to be preserving America's racial chasm. In fact, most white evangelicals see no systematic discrimination against blacks. But the authors contend that it is not active racism that prevents evangelicals from recognizing ongoing problems in American society. Instead, it is the evangelical movement's emphasis on individualism, free will, and personal relationships that makes invisible the pervasive injustice that perpetuates racial inequality. Most racial problems, the subjects told the authors, can be solved by the repentance and conversion of the sinful individuals at fault. Combining a substantial body of evidence with sophisticated analysis and interpretation, the authors throw sharp light on the oldest American dilemma. In the end, they conclude that despite the best intentions of evangelical leaders and some positive trends, real racial reconciliation remains far over the horizon.”
  • Harper, L. S. (2016). The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong Can Be Made Right. New York, NY: WaterBrook.
    • “Through careful exploration of the biblical text, particularly the first three chapters of Genesis, Lisa Sharon Harper shows us what “very good” can look like today—in real time. Shalom is what God declared. Shalom is what the Kingdom of God looks like. Shalom is when all people are treated equitably and have enough. It’s when families are healed. It’s when churches, schools, and public policies protect human dignity. Shalom is when the image of God is recognized, protected, and cultivated in every single human. It is the vision God set forth in the Garden and the restoration God desires for every broken relationship. Shalom is the “very good” in the gospel. Because despite our anxious minds, despite divisions, and despite threats of violence, God’s vision remains: wholeness for a fragmented world. Peace for a hurting soul. Shalom.”
  • Irving, D. (2014). Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race. Cambridge, MA: Elephant Room Press.
    • “For twenty-five years, Debby Irving sensed inexplicable racial tensions in her personal and professional relationships. As a colleague and neighbor, she worried about offending people she dearly wanted to befriend. As an arts administrator, she didn't understand why her diversity efforts lacked traction. As a teacher, she found her best efforts to reach out to students and families of color left her wondering what she was missing. Then, in 2009, one "aha!" moment launched an adventure of discovery and insight that drastically shifted her worldview and upended her life plan. In Waking Up White, Irving tells her often cringe-worthy story with such openness that readers will turn every page rooting for her-and ultimately for all of us.”
  • Jennings, W. J. (2010). The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race. New Haven, CT: Yale University.
    • “A ground-breaking, magisterial account of the potential and failures of Christianity since the colonialist period. Why has Christianity, a religion premised upon neighborly love, failed in its attempts to heal social divisions? In this ambitious and wide-ranging work, Willie James Jennings delves deep into the late medieval soil in which the modern Christian imagination grew, to reveal how Christianity’s highly refined process of socialization has inadvertently created and maintained segregated societies. A probing study of the cultural fragmentation—social, spatial, and racial—that took root in the Western mind, this book shows how Christianity has consistently forged Christian nations rather than encouraging genuine communion between disparate groups and individuals. Weaving together the stories of Zurara, the royal chronicler of Prince Henry, the Jesuit theologian Jose de Acosta, the famed Anglican Bishop John William Colenso, and the former slave writer Olaudah Equiano, Jennings narrates a tale of loss, forgetfulness, and missed opportunities for the transformation of Christian communities. Touching on issues of slavery, geography, Native American history, Jewish-Christian relations, literacy, and translation, he brilliantly exposes how the loss of land and the supersessionist ideas behind the Christian missionary movement are both deeply implicated in the invention of race. Using his bold, creative, and courageous critique to imagine a truly cosmopolitan citizenship that transcends geopolitical, nationalist, ethnic, and racial boundaries, Jennings charts, with great vision, new ways of imagining ourselves, our communities, and the landscapes we inhabit.”
  • Kohn Rivera, N., Vega Quiñones, N., & Garza Robinson, K. (2019). Hermanas: Deepening Our Identity and Growing Our Influence. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
    • “God calls Latinas to lives of influence. He created his Latina daughters to partner with him, live into the incredible plans he has for each of us, and walk in his grace and strength to help change this world. But many of us have heard cultural messages that make us doubt our adequacy. We have not seen many Latina women in positions of leadership, and we need more mentors and role models. Natalia Kohn, Noemi Vega Quiñones, and Kristy Garza Robinson share their own journeys as Latinas and leaders. They find mentorship in twelve inspirational women of the Bible including Esther, Rahab, Mary, and Lydia, who navigated challenges of brokenness and suffering, being bicultural, and crossing borders. As we deepen our spiritual and ethnic identities, we grow in intimacy with God and others and become better equipped to influence others for the kingdom. The insights here will help any who seek to empower Latinas in leadership. You are not alone on this journey. Join your sisters and partner with our heavenly Father as you become the Latina leader God has called you to be.”
  • Lee, S. H. (2010). From a Liminal Place: An Asian American Theology. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.
    • “Drawing on decades of teaching and reflection, Princeton theologian Sang Lee probes what it means for Asian Americans to live as the followers of Christ in the "liminal space" between Asia and America and at the periphery of American society. As one moves away from the societal center, either intentionally or by virtue of marginalization, one often finds oppression and dehumanization. Yet, Lee argues, one can also sometimes find liminality - a creative and edgy space with openness to the new, the emergence of community, and the ability to take a prophetic stance over against the status quo. For Lee, the liminal is key to the authentic calling and future of Asian Americans, other ethnic-racial groups and minorities, persons with mixed identities, and indeed all Christians. From this insight, Lee unfolds a systematic theology. Searching the Gospels, one discovers that God became incarnate as a liminal and marginalized Galilean. Jesus the Galilean in his life and ministry widened the meaning of liminal creativity and exercised that creativity in embodying the boundary-breaking love of the Father. On the cross, he entered the ultimate space of liminality in which sinful humanity can experience communion with Christ. United in loving communion with God in Christ, Asian American Christians and all other believers are transformed into a new existence in which they are emboldened to struggle for justice and reconciliation. Asian American Christians, like the Galilean followers of Jesus, have the particular vocation to exercise the creative potentials of their liminal predicament and thereby to participate in God s own project of repeating in time and space the beauty of God s inter-Trinitarian communion.”
  • Morrison, L. (2019). Be the Bridge: Pursuing God's Heart for Racial Reconciliation. WaterBrook. 
    • "In an era where we seem to be increasingly divided along racial lines, many are hesitant to step into the gap, fearful of saying or doing the wrong thing. At times the silence, particularly within the church, seems deafening. But change begins with an honest conversation among a group of Christians willing to give a voice to unspoken hurts, hidden fears, and mounting tensions. These ongoing dialogues have formed the foundation of a global movement called Be the Bridge—a nonprofit organization whose goal is to equip the church to have a distinctive and transformative response to racism and racial division. In this perspective-shifting book, founder Latasha Morrison shows how you can participate in this incredible work and replicate it in your own community. With conviction and grace, she examines the historical complexities of racism. She expertly applies biblical principles, such as lamentation, confession, and forgiveness, to lay the framework for restoration. Along with prayers, discussion questions, and other resources to enhance group engagement, Be the Bridge presents a compelling vision of what it means for every follower of Jesus to become a bridge builder—committed to pursuing justice and racial unity in light of the gospel."
  • Oluo, I. (2019). So You Want to Talk About Race. New York, NY: Hachette Book Group, Inc.
    • “In this New York Times bestseller, Ijeoma Oluo offers a hard-hitting but user-friendly examination of race in America. Widespread reporting on aspects of white supremacy--from police brutality to the mass incarceration of Black Americans--has put a media spotlight on racism in our society. Still, it is a difficult subject to talk about. How do you tell your roommate her jokes are racist? Why did your sister-in-law take umbrage when you asked to touch her hair--and how do you make it right? How do you explain white privilege to your white, privileged friend? In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to "model minorities" in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.”
  • Sechrest, L. L., Ramírez-Johnson, J., & Yong, M. (2018). Can “White” People Be Saved?: Triangulating Race, Theology, and Mission (Missiological Engagements). Downers Grove: IL, InterVarsity Press.
    • “Yes, White people can be saved. In God's redemptive plan, that goes without saying. But what about the reality of white normativity? This idea and way of being in the world has been parasitically joined to Christianity, and this is the ground of many of our problems today. It is time to redouble the efforts of the church and its institutions to muster well-informed, gospel-based initiatives to fight racialized injustice and overcome the heresy of whiteness. Written by a world-class roster of scholars, Can “White” People Be Saved? develops language to describe the current realities of race and racism. It challenges evangelical Christianity in particular to think more critically and constructively about race, ethnicity, migration, and mission in relation to white supremacy. Historical and contemporary perspectives from Africa and the African diaspora prompt fresh theological and missiological questions about place and identity. Native American and Latinx experiences of colonialism, migration, and hybridity inspire theologies and practices of shalom. And Asian and Asian American experiences of ethnicity and class generate transnational resources for responding to the challenge of systemic injustice. With their call for practical resistance to the Western whiteness project, the perspectives in this volume can revitalize a vision of racial justice and peace in the body of Christ.”
  • Steele, C. M. (2011). Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do (Issues of Our Time). New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
    • “The acclaimed social psychologist offers an insider’s look at his research and groundbreaking findings on stereotypes and identity. Claude M. Steele, who has been called “one of the few great social psychologists,” offers a vivid first-person account of the research that supports his groundbreaking conclusions on stereotypes and identity. He sheds new light on American social phenomena from racial and gender gaps in test scores to the belief in the superior athletic prowess of black men, and lays out a plan for mitigating these “stereotype threats” and reshaping American identities.”
  • Stevenson, B. (2015). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. New York, NY: Spiegel & Grau.
    • “Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever. Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.”
  • Tibsy, J. (2019). The Color of Compromise. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
    •  “An acclaimed, timely narrative of how people of faith have historically--up to the present day--worked against racial justice. And a call for urgent action by all Christians today in response. The Color of Compromise is both enlightening and compelling, telling a history we either ignore or just don't know. Equal parts painful and inspirational, it details how the American church has helped create and maintain racist ideas and practices. You will be guided in thinking through concrete solutions for improved race relations and a racially inclusive church. The Color of Compromise: takes you on a historical, sociological, and religious journey: from America's early colonial days through slavery and the Civil War, covers the tragedy of Jim Crow laws, the victories of the Civil Rights era, and the strides of today's Black Lives Matter movement, reveals the cultural and institutional tables we have to flip in order to bring about meaningful integration, charts a path forward to replace established patterns and systems of complicity with bold, courageous, immediate action, and is a perfect book for pastors and other faith leaders, students, non-students, book clubs, small group studies, history lovers, and all lifelong learners The Color of Compromise is not a call to shame or a platform to blame white evangelical Christians. It is a call from a place of love and desire to fight for a more racially unified church that no longer compromises what the Bible teaches about human dignity and equality. A call that challenges black and white Christians alike to standup now and begin implementing the concrete ways Tisby outlines, all for a more equitable and inclusive environment among God's people. Starting today.”
  • Wallis, J. (2017). America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press.
    • “America's problem with race has deep roots, with the country's foundation tied to the near extermination of one race of people and the enslavement of another. Racism is truly our nation's original sin. It's time we right this unacceptable wrong," says bestselling author and leading Christian activist Jim Wallis. Fifty years ago, Wallis was driven away from his faith by a white church that considered dealing with racism to be taboo. His participation in the civil rights movement brought him back when he discovered a faith that commands racial justice. Yet as recent tragedies confirm, we continue to suffer from the legacy of racism. The old patterns of white privilege are colliding with the changing demographics of a diverse nation. The church has been slow to respond, and Sunday morning is still the most segregated hour of the week. In America's Original Sin, Wallis offers a prophetic and deeply personal call to action in overcoming the racism so ingrained in American society. He speaks candidly to Christians--particularly white Christians--urging them to cross a new bridge toward racial justice and healing. Whenever divided cultures and gridlocked power structures fail to end systemic sin, faith communities can help lead the way to grassroots change. Probing yet positive, biblically rooted yet highly practical, this book shows people of faith how they can work together to overcome the embedded racism in America, galvanizing a movement to cross the bridge to a multiracial church and a new America.”
  • Williams, D. S. (2013). Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.                                                                                                                  
    • “This landmark work first published 20 years ago helped establish the field of African-American womanist theology. It is widely regarded as a classic text in the field. Drawing on the biblical figure of Hagar mother of Ishmael, cast into the desert by Abraham & Sarah, but protected by God Williams finds a proptype for the struggle of African-American women. African slave, homeless exile, surrogate mother, Hagar’s story provides an image of survival & defiance appropriate to black women today. Exploring the themes implicit in Hagar s story poverty and slavery, ethnicity and sexual exploitation, exile & encounter with God Williams traces parallels in the history of African-American women from slavery to the present day. A new womanist theology emerges from this shared experience, from the interplay of oppressions on account of race, sex & class. Sisters in the Wilderness offers a telling critique of theologies that promote liberation but ignore women of color. This is a book that defined a new theological project & charted a path that others continue to explore.”

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