12 Books to Help Christians Develop an Anti-Racism Perspective

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Brown Church: Five Centuries of Latina/o Social Justice, Theology, and Identity

By Robert Chao Romero

brown churchFor five hundred years, Latina/o culture and identity have been shaped by their challenges to the religious, socio-economic, and political status quo, whether in opposition to Spanish colonialism, Latin American dictatorships, US imperialism in Central America, the oppression of farmworkers, or the current exploitation of undocumented immigrants. Christianity has played a significant role in that movement at every stage. Robert Chao Romero, the son of a Mexican father and a Chinese immigrant mother, explores the history and theology of what he terms the “Brown Church.” Romero considers how this movement has responded to these and other injustices throughout its history by appealing to the belief that God’s vision for redemption includes not only heavenly promises but also the transformation of every aspect of our lives and the world. Walking through this history of activism and faith, readers will discover that Latina/o Christians have a heart after God’s own.

Is Christianity the White Man’s Religion?: How the Bible Is Good News for People of Color

By Antipas L. Harris

christian white man religionAntipas L. Harris, a theologian and community activist, believes that biblical Christianity is more affirmative of cultural diversity than many realize. In this sweeping social, theological, and historical examination of Christianity, Harris responds to a list of hot topics from young Americans who struggle with the perception that Christianity is detached from matters of justice, identity, and culture. He also looks at the ways in which American evangelicalism may have incubated the race problem. Is Christianity the White Man’s Religion? affirms that ethnic diversity has played a powerful role in the formation of the Old and New Testaments and that the Bible is a book of justice, promoting equality for all people. Contrary to popular Eurocentric conceptions, biblical Christianity is not just for white Westerners. It’s good news for all of us.

Parable of the Brown Girl: The Sacred Lives of Girls of Color

By Khristi Lauren Adams

brown girlThe stories of girls of color are often overlooked, unseen, and ignored rather than valued and heard. In Parable of the Brown Girl, minister and youth advocate Khristi Lauren Adams introduces readers to the resilience, struggle, and hope held within these stories. Instead of relegating these young women of color to the margins, Adams brings their stories front and center where they belong. By sharing encounters she’s had with girls of color that revealed profound cultural and theological truths, Adams magnifies the struggles, dreams, wisdom, and dignity of these voices. Thought-provoking and inspirational, Parable of the Brown Girl is a powerful example of how God uses the narratives we most often ignore to teach us the most important lessons in life. It’s time to pay attention.

Healing Racial Trauma: The Road to Resilience

By Sheila Wise Rowe

healing racial traumaAs a child, Sheila Wise Rowe was bused across town to a majority white school, and she experienced the racist lie that one group is superior to all others. We experience ongoing racial trauma as this lie is perpetuated by the action or inaction of the government, media, viral videos, churches, and within families of origin. In contrast, Scripture declares that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made. Professional counselor Rowe exposes the symptoms of racial trauma to lead readers to a place of freedom from the past and new life for the future. In each chapter, she includes an interview with a person of color to explore how we experience and resolve racial trauma. With Rowe as a reliable guide who has both been on the journey and shown others the way forward, you will find a safe pathway to resilience.

Related: Interview: Sheila Wise Rowe on Why Every Multiethnic Church Needs a Racial Healing Ministry

Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery

By Mark Charles, Soong-Chan Rah

unsettling truthsYou cannot discover lands already inhabited. Injustice has plagued American society for centuries. And we cannot move toward being a more just nation without understanding the root causes that have shaped our culture and institutions. In this prophetic blend of history, theology, and cultural commentary, Mark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah reveal the far-reaching, damaging effects of the “Doctrine of Discovery.” In the fifteenth century, official church edicts gave Christian explorers the right to claim territories they “discovered.” This was institutionalized as an implicit national framework that justifies American triumphalism, white supremacy, and ongoing injustices. The result is that the dominant culture idealizes a history of discovery, opportunity, expansion, and equality, while minority communities have been traumatized by colonization, slavery, segregation, and dehumanization. Healing begins when deeply entrenched beliefs are unsettled. Charles and Rah aim to recover a common memory and shared understanding of where we have been and where we are going. As other nations have instituted truth and reconciliation commissions, so do the authors call our nation and churches to a truth-telling that will expose past injustices and open the door to conciliation and true community.

Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation

By Latasha Morrison

be bridgeWith racial tensions as high within the church as outside the church, it is time for Christians to become the leaders in the conversation on racial reconciliation. This power-packed guide helps readers deepen their understanding of historical factors and present realities, equipping them to participate in the ongoing dialogue and to serve as catalysts for righteousness, justice, healing, transformation, and reconciliation.

Related: Interview: Latasha Morrison Talks ‘Be the Bridge,’ Knowing History, and How Lament Leads to Justice

The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism

By Jemar Tisby

color of compromiseThe 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.

Related: Interview: Jemar Tisby Exposes US Christianity’s Racism From Columbus to Black Lives Matter

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

still hereBy Austin Channing Brown

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.

Rediscipling the White Church: From Cheap Diversity to True Solidarity

By David W. Swanson

rediscipling white churchConfronted by the deep-rooted racial injustice in our society, many white Christians instinctively scramble to add diversity to their churches and ministries. But is diversity really the answer to the widespread racial dysfunction we see in the church? In this simple but powerful book, Pastor David Swanson contends that discipleship, not diversity, lies at the heart of our white churches’ racial brokenness. Before white churches can pursue diversity, he argues, we must first take steps to address the faulty discipleship that has led to our segregation in the first place. Drawing on the work of philosopher James K. A. Smith and others, Swanson proposes that we rethink our churches’ habits, or liturgies, and imagine together holistic, communal discipleship practices that can reform us as members of Christ’s diverse body.

Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do

By Jennifer Eberhardt

biased book jennifer eberhardtHow do we talk about bias? How do we address racial disparities and inequities? What role do our institutions play in creating, maintaining, and magnifying those inequities? What role do we play? With a perspective that is at once scientific, investigative, and informed by personal experience, Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt offers us the language and courage we need to face one of the biggest and most troubling issues of our time. She exposes racial bias at all levels of society—in our neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, and criminal justice system. Yet she also offers us tools to address it. Eberhardt shows us how we can be vulnerable to bias but not doomed to live under its grip. Racial bias is a problem that we all have a role to play in solving.

Woke Church: An Urgent Call for Christians in America to Confront Racism and Injustice

By Eric Mason

woke churchThe prophets of old were not easy to listen to because they did not flatter. They did not cajole. They spoke hard words that often chafed and unsettled their listeners. Like the Old Testament prophets, and more recent prophetic voices like Frederick Douglass, Dr. Eric Mason calls the evangelical church to a much-needed reckoning. In a time when many feel confused, complacent, or even angry, he challenges the church to:

Be Aware – to understand that the issue of justice is not a black issue, it’s a kingdom issue. To learn how the history of racism in America and in the church has tainted our witness to a watching world.

Be Redemptive – to grieve and lament what we have lost and to regain our prophetic voice, calling the church to remember our gospel imperative to promote justice and mercy.

Be Active – to move beyond polite, safe conversations about reconciliation and begin to set things aright for our soon-coming King, who will be looking for a WOKE CHURCH.

Related: Interview: Eric Mason Talks Redeeming ‘Wokeness’ and Abandoning ‘Evangelicalism’

White Awake: An Honest Look at What It Means to Be White

By Daniel Hill

white awakeDaniel Hill will never forget the day he heard these words: “Daniel, you may be white, but don’t let that lull you into thinking you have no culture. White culture is very real. In fact, when white culture comes in contact with other cultures, it almost always wins. So it would be a really good idea for you to learn about your culture.” Confused and unsettled by this encounter, Hill began a journey of understanding his own white identity. Today he is an active participant in addressing and confronting racial and systemic injustices. And in this compelling and timely book, he shows you the seven stages to expect on your own path to cultural awakening. It’s crucial to understand both personal and social realities in the areas of race, culture, and identity. This book will give you a new perspective on being white and also empower you to be an agent of reconciliation in our increasingly diverse and divided world.

Related: Interview: Chicago Pastor Daniel Hill on Getting White Awake

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    Written by FM Editors

    Faithfully Magazine is a fresh, bold and exciting news and culture publication that covers issues, conversations and events impacting Christian communities of color.

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