American identity

AJB Recommends: Resources About Antiracism, the Enneagram, and Church in the 1960s

AJB recommends
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#Blacklivesmatter. Cancel culture. Free speech. Antiracism. Marxism. Classical liberalism. Democracy.

These are the ideas, words, themes that have been swirling in my brain for the past few weeks. Is Antiracism and Critical Race Theory really just thinly-veiled Marxism? Is it anti-democratic and nihilistic? Is it in and of itself racist, as John McWhorter has written? On the other side, is anything that critiques antiracism automatically racist? Is American democracy so flawed it cannot be redeemed? 

The Debate

For the most part, I’m hearing/reading the antiracist/white fragility/#blacklivesmatter movement pitted against the ideals of classical liberalism and democracy, as if one or the other of these ideologies is the only right and true way to view the world. The oppositional nature of the debate obscures the value that each system of thinking brings, and it negates conversation about another way forward that incorporates the areas of agreement between the two “sides” and considers the flaws of both and moves towards building something new. 

If you, like me, are trying to understand what is at stake as we consider who we want to be as an American people, here are some of the articles and podcasts I recommend:

AJB Recommends

Nature of Antiracist Conversations

Although I thought he did too little to consider what it would mean to reform classical liberalism, Andrew Sullivan’s Is There Room for Debate? still offered a helpful critique of the totalizing nature of antiracist conversations. 

Free Speech and Cancel Culture

I learned a lot from listening to Ezra Klein and Yascha Mounk discuss free speech and the recent letter published in Harper’s Magazine decrying the “cancel culture” of shame that can inhibit that same freedom. 


The other podcast I’ll recommend from this week has nothing to do—at least not directly—with antiracism or classical liberalism. It’s Suzanne Stabile and Russ Hudson talking about the virtues and passions of each number of the Enneagram. This conversation is one of the more helpful I’ve heard, in terms of spiritual formation, in understanding myself and other people through the lens of the Enneagram. 

Thoughtful Fiction

I’m also reading The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall, which is a novel set in New York City in the 1960s which follows two pastors and their wives as they consider questions of faith and activism and love and hope. It’s really great for anyone who enjoys thoughtful fiction.

To go further with Amy Julia:

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