AJB Recommends books about racism and healing

AJB Recommends: One Book You Must Read, and Five More That I Recommend

AJB recommends books about race and justiceIf you’ve been tracking with me for a while in this space, you’ll want to go buy Dear White Peacemakers (or ask your library to buy it) by Osheta Moore. It comes out on May 18th, but I had a chance to read a review copy, and I then went and pre-ordered five more to give to friends. It’s a warm and welcoming invitation into the hard work of acknowledging the harm of racism and pursuing antiracism through the lens of peacemaking.

Moore begins with the belovedness of each and every one of us. She refuses to use shame or guilt or anger or fear to coerce White people into action. She also refuses to downplay the deep harm and tragic ongoing consequences of racism and our ability to respond to that harm. For anyone who wants to engage with hope and love in the work of antiracism, this book is required reading. (AND I get to talk with her for my podcast on May 4th, so stay tuned for that conversation and a book giveaway.)

More Books About Race and Justice

I’ve also been reading five other books that have to do with race and justice. (Yes, five others. It’s a problem.) I want to give you a glimpse of these in case they might be great additions to your bookshelves too:

  1. Reparations: The Christian Call to Repentance and Repair by Duke Kwon and Greg Thompson. I also get to talk with Duke and Greg on the podcast, which will air next Tuesday, April 27, so you can learn lots more about this book there (and a book giveaway!). But it basically traces the cultural and theological history of reparations in the United States and makes the case that Christians in particular must start to imagine how we can participate in restoring what has been stolen and repairing that which has been broken when it comes to racial injustice in our nation.
  2. Strength to Love by Martin Luther King Jr. Little did I know that this book by King would read like a devotional guide. It speaks to evil and injustice as well as to pastoral concerns like materialism and cynicism. I have found myself reading parts out loud to Peter daily. Highly recommend (read more about it here).
  3. The Inward Journey by Howard Thurman. I wanted to find non-white Christians who could help me along a contemplative path (in addition to people like Henri Nouwen and Thomas Merton and the like). I’ve heard Thurman is a “mystic,” and so far his book—which reads easily like a daily devotional in very short sections—has offered that type of thoughtful interior consideration in the presence of the Spirit.
  4. After Whiteness by Willie James Jennings. I’m only one chapter in, but I’m intrigued by Jennings’ critique of contemporary education as all about mastery and individualism. I’m hopeful to learn from him about, as his subtitle suggests, “an education in belonging.”
  5. The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee. This is a very readable but a little bit wonky book that underscores the point that racism harms all of us. White and Black and everyone else caught up in our racial hierarchy stand to lose by our social policies to protect whiteness. This is a helpful reference as McGhee wants us to stop thinking of social change in zero-sum terms and recognize the mutual benefit that would come from dismantling racism.

picture of books Amy Julia is reading

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