I read this book in a few days, and books about race are not my normal fare. I have rarely been so impressed by a book that deals with race and inequality, and I’ve never read anything that addressed the issue of white supremacy in a non-Neo-Nazi way. And I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I’ve never even considered the concept of “white privilege.” Yes, I realize I’m blessed, and I’ve always been aware of it, and I’m really not a snob or a racist. But ignorant, yes. I have been that.
Ken Wytsma addresses white privilege as the underlying cause for racial tension in a fresh honest, and non-judgmental way. His context provides a logical and researched reason for our country’s inability to erase prejudice and discrimination, despite massive legislative agendas. It lays responsibility squarely at the feet of those in charge–yes, the white-skinned Americans.
I grew up in the Midwest as an average respectful middle-class American white girl. I was the norm and the majority. I did realize that there were stigmas attached to our Native Americans and our Mexican migrant workers, yet I never considered the dichotomy of opportunity and privilege between these races and myself. Altering this perspective changes everything.
Wytsma made so many profound and challenging comments throughout the book. I highlighted and starred many statements. I found this book to be a persuasive, compassionate, non-offensive, and well-informed threats of a national problem. This achievement is remarkable when addressing issues of race and equality. I am looking at my culture and my personal life differently now, and I’m grateful for the challenge. This book also made me want to read his other books. I highly recommend it.
Here are some quotes to get you thinking about race, inequality, and white privilege. Feel free to leave comments:
“If the church becomes an empire unto itself, self-interested institution concerned with its own power and influence (as the temple had become in Jesus’ day), it is capable of slipping into direct opposition to the kingdom of God–the very thing it is supposed to be nurturing, spreading, and protecting.” (92)
“It’s tempting to think that when we’ve learned a little bit of something that we’re really learned it.” (321)
“An excess of privilege plus a surplus of guilt equals an outflow of compassion.” (162)
“Faith looks outside itself. Fear looks to itself.” (171)
“Justice isn’t just about doing; it’s about being. It isn’t just about changing the world; it’s about changing ourselves.” (188)