The canon of reading in racial justice

This past week had an optic that was stark for me. It was during the confirmation hearing of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and the Republicans were working for their sound-bite “gotcha” moments. Senator Ted Cruz hammered away at the curriculum at Georgetown Day School, where Judge Jackson is on the board of trustees.

Here is what is clear: It’s not about “CRT” or “being woke.” It’s the nerve-racking thought, in the minds of some “conservatives,” that we should teach our kids to be anti-racist. The optic in my mind is Ted Cruz holding up a book called Antiracist Baby by Ibram Z. Kendi.

The thought occurs to me: “So, Mr. Cruz, you prefer raising racist babies?”

Call me “woke.” Call me “pro-CRT.” All that I will hear is the word “N” followed by “lover.”

I am not kidding.

I am done with hiding our racist pejoratives and I’m calling them out.

I follow Christ. I am deeply in love with Jesus. There is no way anyone gets to question my commitment to Christ and his Church and his Kingdom. It’s not possible.

And I follow Christ to the margins and those margins call for justice. In this particular case it is about racial justice.

In writing this post, I have become weary of our thinly veiled renewal of racism and I have learned over the past few years I can’t ignore this thin veil in the American white conservative church anymore. I have to say things.

Part of that is my continual education. In the early part of this year I have once again plunged into some current reading from key voices to learn more about the depth of American history and asking the Lord what to do.

I am still stuck on the “what to do” part and really need more guidance. For now, I pray, I learn, and I write.

I thus propose my current canon of reading to learn more about racial justice. I have read more than these, but I offer this list as a “starter” list.

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander is the starting point for me. This book launched my journey years ago.

The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby needs to be an evangelical must-read.

The Very Good Gospel and Fortune by Lisa Sharon Harper

My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem

Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. A work of fiction, but in the first 30 pages I could feel the weight of slavery and racism come onto me. It is a moving work.

How the Word is Passed by Clint Smith

Shoutin’ in the Fire by Danté Stewart. Stewart is a new, young voice that will be one to listen to for years to come.

There are so many more. I am so deeply grateful. These works have caused my heart to be molded by the fire of the Holy Spirit for a work in justice I have needed for a very long time.

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