Overall, though, it was a moving book that certainly had me reflecting on the fragility of my own journey, and the many ways it could have continued down a very different path that where I find myself today. Hopefully such a book would open us up to our shared humanity and make us less likely to use one dimensional categories like “thugs,” and “those people” to define other people. We would all be more compassionate if we identified more deeply with those whose journeys have taken hard and painful turns.
I was born in California. One side of my family immigrated to the United States in the early 17th century. The other side of my family arrived on tightly packed ships filled with misery and tears. We have been American for a long time. Yet, it wasn’t until a cool night in November 2008 that I felt a sense of belonging.
Many will look at the tribal and ethnic tensions that exist all around the world as a problem as old as human civilization. Isn’t this a strong argument for the reality that the racism that was practiced by white/western Europe is indeed just a reflection of what has always been?
Flesh is indeterminate. It flows, changes over time, and is consumed and transformed. It becomes the reality of rich spiritual encounter.
Tonight at 8 pm EST, Katelin Hansen will interview me about my new book, Trouble I've Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism, which was released in January.
W. E. B. Du Bois wrote his prophetic words “the problem of the 20th century is the problem of color line” decades before the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling. Yet those words allowed blacks to note how the removal of Jim Crow from educational institutions was slow in many parts of the country. Often among those responsible were Christian segregationists in Christian schools and colleges.
Most white people now say race relations are bad and getting worse. Black people overwhelmingly agree. Will we stop talking and do something?
We need more than a national conversation about race and policing. We need spiritual and political change at the local level.
Scandal and New Girl are not ordinarily “about” race. But as national conversations on police violence intensify, they’ve stepped into the discussion.
Between April 1831 and February 1832, two officials of the French government under Louis-Philippe toured Jacksonian America. These two officials—Alexis de Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont—were on assignment to research prisons in the United States and later produced a report of their findings in 1833. But while traveling through America, Tocqueville and Beaumont were also carefully observing political and social life in the new republic. Both men published works on their observations. Tocqueville wrote Democracy in America (1835/1840) and Beaumont wrote a novel, entitled Marie or, Slavery in the United States (1835). Most Americans are familiar with Tocqueville’s work, but Beaumont’s novel is less well known.