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Recommended Reading on Diversity from a Christian Worldview

This list, though by no means exhaustive, provides a starting point for exploring ideas related to diversity from a Christian worldview.

We anticipate dialogue on the issues raised in these readings and others. It is our desire that this resource points you in the direction of resources for your use in the classroom as well as in your own personal thinking. Feel free to stop by the Office of Multicultural Development or contact  Dr. Sheila Caldwell, Chief Intercultural Engagement Officer, to ask questions regarding the resources listed or research others. 

Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America

by Lerone Bennett

An overview of Black American history which focuses on the great empires of West Africa, the transatlantic journey, the slavery era, reconstruction, the Jim Crow era and the civil rights era. The conclusion of the work puts an emphasis on black inventors/inventions. The study intentionally places the emphasis on the social-cultural milieu through which Black Americans have developed with. The conclusion is on the future which is to come. 

Between the World and Me

by Ta-Nehisi Coates

In a series of essays, written as a letter to his son, Coates confronts the notion of race in America and how it has shaped American history, many times at the cost of black bodies and lives. Thoughtfully exploring personal and historical events, from his time at Howard University to the Civil War, the author poignantly asks and attempts to answer difficult questions that plague modern society.

Beyond Black and White - Reflections on Racial Reconciliation

by George A. Yancey

Sociologist George Yancey answers the reader's concerns and helps the reader as a Christian, whether black or white, see where he or she fits into God's plan for peace among the races. For individuals and churches that have avoided confronting tough reconciliation issues, Beyond Black and White offers practical avenues for replacing the facade of false harmony with true oneness in Christ.

Breaking Down Walls

by Glen Kehrein and Raleigh Washington

Defining a Christian resource on the solution to issues of racial discord in the United States, the authors focus on Christ and their personal experiences to define a new model for interaction. Eight principles direct a life of reconciliation among them intentionally, commitment, sacrifice and empowerment. They conclude with a call to black and white Christians out of a mode that is used at Rock of our Salvation Evangelical Church. 

Building Unity in the Church in the New Millennium

by Dwight Perry

This book is essential reading for the Christian leader who is committed to promoting and repairing unity in the church. There are four areas of unity that are highlighted in this book: Unity Between Races, Unity Between Classes, Unity Between Gender, and Unity Among Other Barriers. Dr. Perry and the contributing authors focus on key contemporary conflicts that endanger our ability to live as one within the Body of Christ.

The Color of Faith-Building Community in a Multiracial Society

by Fumitaka Matsuoka

Matsuoka provides a theological perspective on racial and ethnic plurality by exploring such issues as alienation across shifting race lines; race and justice; the interworkings of race, class, and culture; and signs of hope amid an enduring culture of opposition. Interdisciplinary in its approach, this is a constructive theological work that reflects on the role Christian faith communities play in a multiracial society-and forges a new vision of human relatedness and community building. 

The Color Line-Legacy for the Twenty-First Century

by John Hope Franklin

Distilling more than two centuries of history, Franklin reflects on the most tragic and persistent social problem in our nation's history-the color line-as it becomes our legacy for the next century. His message is that the color line holds fast in education, in housing, in health care, and in the legal system. Franklin illuminates some of the key episodes in our nation's history that have brought us to the present day. 

A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America
by Ronald Takaki

As the author of Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans and editor of From Different Shores: Perspectives on Race and Ethnicity in America, Takaki is well founded in contemporary racial and ethnic theory. This volume attempts to view differing immigrant groups from their own voices rather than an Anglo voice. Beginning with colonization through to contemporary issues, the work examines differing groups that create the American mosaic. Concluding that though from diverse backgrounds we must continue to fight to be one people, a fight which will be hard.

Dismantling Racism: The Continuing Challenge to White America

by Joseph Barndt

Clearly stating that his work is intended for White Americans to address the issues of racism in America, Barndt defines 3 tiers of racism and their influence on all Americans. Racism occurs on a cultural, institutional, and personal level and the major result is one of debilitating separation. The work is not designed to produce guilt, but rather address ways in which we can dismantle racism in the U.S. 

Divided by Faith

by Michael O. Emerson

Emerson and Smith provide an interesting account of how white evangelicals perpetuate the very racial divisions they publicly oppose as the authors describe the racial attitudes of white evangelical Protestants. It is an account of the deep racial division within American religion. In addition, it is a penetrating look at the societal and religious-based reasons for this division within the evangelical Christian sector, and a compassionate plea for Christians to engage the issue of race and to lead the country in solving this "American Dilemma." 

Everything You Need to Know About Asian American History

by Himilce Novas

In a question-and-answer format, this informative guide chronicles all the important dates and figures in Asian American history, and also provides a complete understanding of the traditions and ideas that people of Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Indian, Pacific Island descent have brought to bear on American life, while exploding myths and stereotypes. 

The Gospel in Black and White

Edited by Dennis L. Okholm

Christians of both African and Euro-American decent affirm that the gospel calls them together, that they at least should be one people, of one Lord, one faith, one baptism. In this spirit, the essays in this book consider what rigorous theological work can contribute to the noble and ongoing quest for racial reconciliation. Some of the church's most exciting black and white thinkers here address issues of theological method, hermeneutics, soteriology, ecclesiology and social ethics-always with an eye to closing the gaping wound of racism and serving God across color lines. 

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

by Erika L. Sánchez

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian meets Jane the Virgin in this poignant but often laugh-out-loud funny contemporary YA about losing a sister and finding yourself amid the pressures, expectations, and stereotypes of growing up in a Mexican-American home.

I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

by Austin Channing Brown

In a time when nearly all institutions (schools, churches, universities, businesses) claim to value "diversity" in their mission statements, I'm Still Here is a powerful account of how and why our actions so often fall short of our words. Brown writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice, in stories that bear witness to the complexity of America's social fabric--from Black Cleveland neighborhoods to private schools in the middle-class suburbs, from prison walls to the boardrooms at majority-white organizations.

Letters Across the Divide: Two Friends Explore Racism, Friendship, and Faith

by David Anderson and Brent Zuercher

This book consists of letters between two friends, one African American and the other Caucasian American, as they explore issues in race, friendship and faith. Specifically, some of the topics they explore are the definition of racism, what is African American culture, who should apologize and reconciliation. 

More than Equals: Healing for the Sake of the Gospel

by Spencer Perkins and Chris Rice

Perkins is an African-American from Mississippi, while Rice is an European-American from Vermont who grew up in Korea. They define their hard-fought friendship that has been forged through years of work with each other. Racial reconciliation must begin with the church as an example to society. This process is facilitated by becoming "yokefellows" sharing each others' burden. 

Race Matters

by Cornell West

Cornell West assumes a role much like that of a prophet in analyzing racial issues in society. West praises and criticizes the workings of conservatives, liberals and those deemed leaders of various movements-while carefully distancing himself from any particular group. Without simply conveying societal ills, West gives feasible direction and insight to racial problems, placing the burden on society as a whole. A prophetic work that is both challenging and encouraging. Designed to stimulate public discussions on the subject of race in the U.S., West attempts to dismantle the pessimism and cynicism of this nation to address the prejudices of American people. A deep faith drives his social analysis and a firm belief that each of us can make a difference if we commit ourselves to do so. 

Racial Conflict and Healing: An Asian-American Theological Perspective

by Andrew Sung Park

Park seeks a theological model that will help transform a society of oppression, injustice, and violence into a community of equity, fairness, and mutual consideration. Park emphasizes that such a transformation does not and cannot begin only with good intentions, but must be grounded in an understanding of all the socio-economic and cultural issues that lead to oppression and tension. Using the Korean term han to describe the deep-seated suffering of racial oppression, he then suggests resources for understanding and healing in both Christian and Asian traditions.

Racial Formation in the United States

by Michael Omi and Howard Winant

In this second edition Omi and Winant further develop their provocative theory of "racial formation" and extend their political analysis and the developments in American racial politics up to the 1990s. Offering a more detailed account of the theory of racial formation processes, they include new material on the historical development of race, the question of racism, race-class-gender interrelationships and everyday life. They introduce the concept of "racial project" linking race as representation with race as it is embedded in the social structure. They include interpretation of contemporary racial projects which covers those of the "new Democrats," in the United States. The authors offer a critique of the limits and contradictions inherent in racial identity, social analysis and politics. This work provokes further pivotal and productive debates in the rapidly developing field of race theory. 

Reconciliation: Our Greatest Challenge - Our Only Hope

by Curtiss Paul DeYoung

DeYoung offers a moral guide and practical road map through the difficult and ultimately liberating process called reconciliation. It is a work about daring to make strangers and enemies begin to view one another as friends and equal members of the body of Christ. DeYoung provides a blueprint for a biblical, multi-racial, and multicultural response that will contribute significantly to the shalom of the city. 

Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Justice 

by Paul Kivel

Uprooting Racism is designed to help white people act on the conviction that racism is wrong. It is a supportive how-to book for white people who are willing to work to end racism. It talks about racism without rhetoric or attack. It helps readers understand the dynamics of racism in our society, institutions and daily lives, and it shares stories, suggestions, advice, exercises and approaches for working together to fight racism.

What Color is Your God?: Multicultural Education in the Church

by James Breckenridge and Lillian Breckenridge

What Color is Your God? gives an in depth picture of what the people of God represent. It also illumines the necessity for all races within the church to actively pursue the biblical principles of reconciliation. It is a well-researched textbook on the timely topic of multicultural Christian education. It serves as a tool for pastors, teachers and evangelists who face the challenge of evangelizing and discipling all segments of American society. 

White Awareness: Handbook for Anti-Racism Training

by Judith H. Katz

A step by step model on anti-racism training. This work was designed for educators, counselors and facilitators who are concerned about social change. It focuses on racism as a "white" problem and suggests ways of changing it. The book provides the practitioner with a six stage program of designed activities that will move a group from awareness to positive action. 

"Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" and Other Conversations About Race

by Beverly Daniel Tatum

Beverly Daniel Tatum is a psychologist who explains the development of racial identity while providing a new framework for thinking and talking about race, offering skills and experiences for an epiphany of racial enlightenment. It is an unusually sensitive work about the racial barriers that still divide us in so many areas of life. Topics include defining race, the complexity of identity (racial identity in adulthood, the development of white identity, identity development in multiracial families), affirmative action, and embracing a cross-racial dialogue.