Invest with Me

Some ask me, why do you keep bringing up racism? — because uprooting it is urgent.

Don’t you think that makes it worse? — no, or I wouldn’t bring it up.

Isn’t it a creation of the media, liberal social science, or Obama?  Absolutely not.

But some ask, how do I learn more?  Where did you learn that?  I’ve been reading books and articles since about 12 years ago.  The first things I read were all from the perspective of  raising a trans-racial child, and I think we got a pretty good idea of how to be her ally and stand up against overt racism, but none of it addressed systematic racism or our country’s history and foundation of white supremacy.

Ferguson changed that.  I read all the links from this article and realized my understanding of race in America was woefully misinformed.  Oak read the Ferguson report.  I read a few more books on race, most notable Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book, “Between the World and Me.”  I listened to some radio shows.  And while my view changed, the problem still did not become mine.  Not to say it didn’t break my heart, impact where we chose to buy our house and send our kids to school, and form my conversations, but I was just dabbling.

But even dabbling, God was working.  I joined Be the Bridge (A Christian group dedicated to helping the church to commit to and do racial justice well.)  After the election, I pulled together some lists of books recommended and started reading through them as fast as I could.  I started by working through LeCrae’s list on facebook:

A Different Mirror, by Ronald Takaki

Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Cross the Lynching Tree, by James. H. Cone

Divided by Faith by Michael O. Emerson

Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson

Let Nobody Turn Us Around, an Anthology

More than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City by William Julius Wilson

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander

The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria, by Beverly Daniel Tatum

I have only gotten through six of the ten so far (and partly because I’d already read Coates or it would be 5), and I read other books as they came my way, but it is a good place to start.  Those that are Christian faith based are clear from the title, though Just Mercy, truly an amazing book, does not address religion but the criminal justice system.

The head of Be the Bridge told me that Divided by Faith by Michael O. Emerson is a great book to start with for Christians that are ready to learn and unlearn old thinking.

BJ Thompson, an African American preacher involved in anti-racism work sent me (and others) this list after Charlottesville.

150 resources for all people:
My (his) top 5:

 

Today a brother in Christ posted about the need of White Christians to Make an Investment in Learning about Racism.

In his article he suggests 3 books to start:

Wendell Berry’s The Hidden Wound

Lillian Smith’s Killers of the Dream

Tim Wise’s White Like Me

The author says that he likes to start white people off with white memoirs because he wants us to know there are a number of white people who have critically analyzed the way that racism affects white people.  It can help us understand that the problem of racism in America is a problem rooted in white society…and thus our problem; this was the hardest transition for me to make so I’ll be reading these books, too.

As you can see, many lists have overlaps.  Those overlaps are part of how I decided which books to pursue earlier than others, but rather than just list the books I’ve read and why I recommend them, I wanted to give you the recommendations behind them.  I have no special knowledge or wisdom about our racialized society, but I’m invested in learning about it.  I’d love the company.

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