In our prayers and conversations lately, many of us have written, forwarded, tweeted, and shared powerful words about racism, its ill effects, and its pervasiveness in American culture. Due to the vast nature of this web ring and our corresponding Facebook group, there are RevGals and Pals from all kinds of backgrounds, races, creeds, and cultures. Many of us live in areas where the primary racial tensions are between white and black Americans. However, it is just as likely that your area’s primary struggle may be a divide between Native Americans or Alaska Natives and whites, Anglos and Hispanic populations, established populations and immigrants, or any number of religious tensions. 

I would like us to use this space today to name some of the books, speakers, movies, documentaries, or other media that have helped to inform our understandings of cultures other than our own (meaning your own culture.) I’ve done a little informal research by asking for some initial recommendations and offering a few of my own. 

Please add your own suggestions in the comments, especially noting if you’ve found anything particularly useful in your ministry or work context. 


Why are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? Beverly Daniel Tatum

But I Don’t See You as Asian: Curating Conversations About Race  Bruce Reyes Chow

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

White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son Tim Wise

Power, Racism, and Privilege Wiliam J. Wilson

Breaking the Fine Rain of Death: African American Health Issues and a Womanist Ethic of Care Emilie M. Townes


What has shaped your thinking on race and culture? What’s the thing you read or saw or heard that made you see things differently? What do you wish everyone could (or would) read? 

Let’s discuss in the comments! 

13 thoughts on “RevGalBookPals: Reading about Race

  1. Traces of the Trade: A Story From the Deep North. Documentary film. Directed by Katrina Browne. See for background, study resources, and worthwhile links. Browne’s ancestors, the De Wulf family of Rhode Island, made their fortune in the slave trade; she led a group of relatives to retrace the route and reflect on their legacy. This documentary is an excellent starting point for discussion about slavery, race, and our “inherited” history.

    This summary is from the Rev. Lynn Barker of MS. She compiled an excellent bibliography (in 2010) of resources about civil rights, particularly in MS. I will be glad to forward the list to people, or could ask her permission to post it somehow.


  2. The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James Cone….I’m 3/4 through it and highly recommend it. Cone reviews the lynching period of America (1887-1940) and then comments on a white theologian’s (Reinhold Niebuhr) silence during the period, MLK Jr’s response to lynchings, images of Christ lynched in Black art, and the chapter I haven’t read yet, about Black women, lynching, and suffering.


  3. I just received my copy of White Like Me. I am only beginning this journey and there is so much to learn…it’s stunning.

    There is a national conference on race in Dallas in November called Facing Race.

    I plan to attend with a friend. I’m able to sleep 2 folks if out-of-towners want to attend. I live 35 minutes from Dallas.


  4. A helpful book for small group conversations on race (and also a quick reference guide on “how to not say some problematic pseudo-colorblind ridiculousness”), I recommend ‘The Anti-Racist Cookbook: A Recipe Guide for Conversations about Race that Goes Beyond Covered Dishes and Kum-Bah-Ya.’ (Sorry, I’m forgetting how to add direct links into this comment.)

    For an academic excavation of the interrelatedness of whiteness and theology, ‘White Theology: Outing Supremacy in Modernity’ has been an important read for me. (For example, there’s this line in the book that keeps me up at night: “Theologically, whiteness constitutes a spiritual predicament.”)

    And finally, some clergywomen friends and colleagues have recently shared their stories in a new book called ‘Streams Run Uphill: Conversations with Young Clergywomen of Color.’


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