I always intend for my book reviews to be like 15-20 minutes or less, but this book struck a nerve, a chord, and resonated with so much of what I think and see today. I had to reflect more and give some context. I’m not going to retype all my thoughts here because it’s a lot, but I do suggest that you listen to the pod episode in its entirety—especially this one.
3 Favorite Parts
Normally I do 3 favorite parts to every book I read, but there is no “favorite” when it comes to racism. All of it is trash, genocidal, traumatic, cruel, and incorrectly retold by those with power—or folks imbued with whiteness.
Second, the framing of the shenanigans I see today from folks I grew up with, news I read, and social media makes sense. The response of no response or silent complicity has been the American church’s answer to racism for its entire history. This is nothing new. As Tisby shares time and again in the book, racism is not new nor is it going away—it consistently changes forms.
Third, I saw the convenience of switching from race relations—a problem that was too prickly and polarizing within the church due to money, influence, and power—to being anti-abortion. It almost seemed like the Southern Baptist Convention woke up and was like, “Aha! Since Black folks aren’t going away and neither is the civil rights movement, let’s attack something we CAN do without too much issue. Let’s focus on abortion. It’s simple and easy.” And then, boom. Everyone is pro-birth. How convenient. How droll.
Reasons to Read This Book
—It gives the reader specific, tangible, do-nows that help to right this ship today. Big steps and little steps. You have a plethora to pick from—pick one or several. But what is not ok is to not pick anything. That’s complacency and complicit and ought to be formally shunned from the pulpit.
—It frames what is happening in white churches and puts it into historical context so you’re not surprised by the daily malarkey.
—Not a single “But what about” was not addressed. So fully comprehensive and every argument and tangent addressed.
—So many folks think that Black folks are filled with rage and hatred. It’s not hatred. It’s righteous indignation because what we see in regards to whiteness, white privilege, racial inequity, and white complacency doesn’t have to be this way. White folks can and need to do better. We, the Black Collective, see where we are and where we can be, yet the divide and gumption—the wherewithal-to move in the direction of equity is sluggish and stalled. This for us is maddening. White folks need to do better.
Who Needs to Read This Book
—Every single white church leader and layperson. Tell your friends, your buddies, your social media following, your E-Board, your people. Do a book club and read this.
—Folks in church mad at Black Lives Matter who think this is something new and our rage just came out of the blue. We the Black Collective have had the same message for centuries and the White church has had the same non-action response for centuries. Black folks are not the racial problem, as Toni Morrison states, the racial problem is white people.
—People who think that American Christianity is doing a great job and needs no changes. American Christianity is great at being divisive and overlooking social justice issues. That’s not what Jesus would do.
—People going on mission trips who think American Christianity is the way the truth and the life. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, not American church. Stomping on indigenous cultures assuming that their way is depraved, second-class, more murderous than Christianity is whiteness and damaging for the whole society it’s trying to “help” and to “save.” Who really and truly needs to be saved? And who really has the truth? Who determines this?
Read this book. Amazing.
Description from Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee and Books:
A New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller!
An acclaimed, timely narrative of how people of faith have historically–up to the present day–worked against racial justice. And a call for urgent action by all Christians today in response.
The Color of Compromise is both enlightening and compelling, telling a history we either ignore or just don’t know. Equal parts painful and inspirational, it details how the American church has helped create and maintain racist ideas and practices. You will be guided in thinking through concrete solutions for improved race relations and a racially inclusive church.
The Color of Compromise
1. Takes you on a historical, sociological, and religious journey: from America’s early colonial days through slavery and the Civil War
2. Covers the tragedy of Jim Crow laws, the victories of the Civil Rights era, and the strides of today’s Black Lives Matter movement
3. Reveals the cultural and institutional tables we have to flip in order to bring about meaningful integration
4. Charts a path forward to replace established patterns and systems of complicity with bold, courageous, immediate action
5. Is a perfect book for pastors and other faith leaders, students, non-students, book clubs, small group studies, history lovers, and all lifelong learners
The Color of Compromise is not a call to shame or a platform to blame white evangelical Christians. It is a call from a place of love and desire to fight for a more racially unified church that no longer compromises what the Bible teaches about human dignity and equality. A call that challenges black and white Christians alike to standup now and begin implementing the concrete ways Tisby outlines, all for a more equitable and inclusive environment among God’s people. Starting today.
Author Bio from Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee and Books:
Jemar Tisby (B.A., University of Notre Dame, Mdiv Reformed Theological Seminary) is the president of The Witness, a Black Christian Collective where he writes about race, religion, politics, and culture. He is also the co-host of the Pass The Mic podcast. He has spoken nation-wide at conferences and his writing has been featured in the Washington Post, CNN, and Vox. Jemar is a PhD candidate in History at the University of Mississippi studying race, religion, and social movements in the twentieth century.
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