White Privilege 101

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Looking for a book to study in your small group or book club?

Buying books for your church library or for yourself? 

Dreaming about engaging your congregation with a book everyone can read and discuss together?

Check out Waking Up White. It’s readable. It’s challenging. And it's important.

Author Debby Irving describes it this way: 

Waking Up White is the book I wish someone had handed me decades ago. My hope is that by sharing my sometimes cringe-worthy struggle to understand racism and racial tensions, I offer a fresh perspective on bias, stereotypes, manners, and tolerance. As I unpack my own long-held beliefs about colorblindness, being a good person, and wanting to help people of color, I reveal how each of these well-intentioned mindsets actually perpetuated my ill-conceived ideas about race. I also explain why and how I’ve changed the way I talk about racism, work in racially mixed groups, and understand the racial justice movement as a whole. Exercises at the end of each chapter prompt readers to explore their own racialized ideas. Waking Up White's personal narrative is designed to work well as a rapid read, a book group book, or support reading for courses exploring racial and cultural issues.

The above description, along with a recommendation from my friend and colleague Shannon Jammal-Hollemans, led me to order a copy of the book for myself. This description and recommendation from the co-moderators of the Presbyterian Church (USA) led me to order copies of the book for others. 

Members of the PC(USA) are being invited to participate in a “literary journey on race” by reading Waking Up White as part of their One Church One Book initiative. In addition to a series of brief videos in which the co-moderators comment on topics in the book and links to further resources from Debby Irving,  they have posted a free, 4 session, small group study guide. As a result of their hard work, everything you need to study the book that's been described as “one of the most important books on race in recent memory” (Readers + Writers Journal) is at your fingertips.

But wait, there’s more! If having free study resources aren’t enough of an incentive for you to say to a book club/small group/whole church “Let’s do this!” Shannon tells me that the CRC’s Office of Race Relations is offering study resources to congregational groups at a discounted rate. Contact Idella Winfield at iwinfield@crcna.org for more information.

In the opening pages of the PC(USA) study guide for the book Rev. Denise Anderson and Rev. Jan Edmiston write, "Learning how to interrupt racism is part of learning how to be a disciple of Christ. We’re learning how to love God and to love others as ourselves."  

I’m ready to learn. How about you?

Posted in:
  • Racial Reconciliation
  • Resource > Book or Booklet

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