How You Can Help Fight Racism, And 7 Books to Read

But in my opinion, and experience so far, if someone is unwilling to read something outside of their comfort zone, in order to better understand and empathize with a friend or family member, then they are unable to engage in productive conversation.


The number one problem I find in regards to continued racial segregation within our US Church, but of course not limited to, is a strong disconnect between those who benefit off of white privilege and their understanding in regards to the reality of racial oppression. I think this is due to a lack of knowledge, education, experience, and comprehension on the privileged Christian end.

[Read: WHITE PRIVILEGE EXPLAINED]

Having grown up in predominantly Eurocentric Christian communities I tend to get a lot of emails from friends, past congregants, students, or family asking to chat about race. They are all mostly well intentioned people seeking continued peace, but the disconnect is so far in between the two of us it’s almost always lead to unproductive and unhealthy conversation. There is not a realization that their privileges preserve racial oppressions, such as segregation, police brutality, economic disparity, etc. So any effort that suggests they play a roll in the preservation of these abhorrent acts is viewed as “unjustified malcontent” and/or unnecessary harassment seeking conflict.

After too many unproductive conversations that resulted in lost relationship, I now kindly ask many of them, to check out these books listed below, in gaining more of an understanding on the topic of racial oppression.

I’ve gotten a fair share of angry visceral reactions from some who feel insulted at this suggestion, but in my opinion, and experience so far, if someone is unwilling to read something outside of their comfort zone, in order to better understand and empathize with me as a friend or family member, then they are [most likely] unable to engage in productive conversation. Keeping in mind, most of these people have never read a book, in full [theological or not], written by a nonwhite person…

  1. A Black Theology of Liberation by James Cone
  2. From a Liminal Place: An Asian American Theology By Sang Hyun Lee
  3. Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study in Ethics and Politics by Reinhold Niebuhr
  4. Race Matters by Dr. Cornel West
  5. Discourse on Colonialism by Aime Cesaire
  6. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
  7. A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, and Salvation Gustavo Gutierrez
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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • http://stephenmatlock.com/ stephen matlock

    Thanks for the list of resources.

    I have people asking me “but what should I do?”

    I don’t have a lot to tell them because it’s ultimately not just something you do. It’s what you are. It’s Be, not Do. Being leads to Doing.

    But still, they ask because (I think) they want to enable the better angels of their nature. They want to grow out of their narrow lives. They dimly sense that they are constricted and sheltered and even comfortable, and they dimly sense the world is both far larger than they are led to believe and far more challenging than they expect it to be.

    So I appreciate it when I find tools to help me understand myself better, and to help others as they explore changes.