As a staff we have valued opportunities to discuss this moment, racism, the transformation we each need to go through, and the type of place Capital City Mission is called to be. In a recent blog post, I shared that at CCM we seek for each person who visits to find a place of belonging and that the idea of belonging goes beyond inclusion. We seek that each person is known, welcomed, and seen. This does not mean that we do any of these things perfectly. It also doesn’t mean that it isn’t essential to spend time engaging with the ways people of colour, specifically Black people, have been treated unjustly in both America and Canada. We must each do the work of walking humbly in this season, open to the transformation that needs to happen in our own lives and communities. We must reflect, and we must do better.
There is so much important information circulating at the moment, and I will not pretend to have a unique contribution to make about racial injustice. I will instead share a few books that I have found challenging and thought provoking. I won’t vouch for these as the very best within each of their genres. They are simply the sampling of books that I (Keltie) have picked up to read and found helpful in recent weeks.
How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. This book was helpful as Kendi interwove his own story with historical, legal, and scientific research. He also highlighted a breadth of areas we might be prone to think do not relate to issues of racism.
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity – In a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown. This book was super helpful to read after Kendi’s book. Austin’s book is based on her life, much of it lived among white Christians. Her story helps highlight some of the ideas shared within Kendi’s book.
Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies And The Justice of God by Kelly Brown Douglas. After the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012 and the acquittal of his shooter, Douglas asks how an unarmed Black teenager is able to be shot on his walk home? Douglas examines the cultural, historical, and religious context which arrived at a stand your ground culture. This book was insightful in thinking through some theological implications of racism.
White Fragility: Why it’s so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo. If you are finding it hard to place yourself within these conversations, a good place to start might be this book. It acknowledges many of the ways that white people struggle to recognize that they are a privileged people. This book asks a lot of good questions for reflection.
The Skin We’re In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power by Desmond Cole. This book is useful as it pertains particularly to the Canadian context. It also includes one chapter on Indigenous issues within Canada.
The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America by Thomas King is insightful if you are looking to read further about Indigenous issues in North America.