When believers first awaken to how the gospel calls us to confront racism, the first question we often ask is “what can I do?” We feel compelled to fix the external problems we are beginning to recognize. But the first problem we need to address is internal. A better question to start with is “how do I learn to see more clearly?” We need to unlearn some things we’ve taking for granted. We need to expose more of the blind spots that remain hidden in our assumptions. The best place to begin is to listen to others with a different point of view. Diversify your bookshelf. Get to know people from different racial, ethnic, or cultural backgrounds. Ask questions. Listen with humility. Cultivate friendship.

What can I do?

Do a Bible study with your Missional Community or small group.RightNow Media has a collection of video studies on racism and racial reconciliation that can guide your group in discussing these issues from a biblical perspective.

Join an Undivided study:Cross cultural groups in the area periodically gather around the teaching of Pastors J.D. Greear and Dhati Lewis as they unpack what it looks like to move your church toward genuine gospel community across racial lines. Contact your local campus to find out if one is meeting in your area.

Serve as a volunteer with Gospel Village:Invest in the life of a child by offering them another godly example, wisdom, friendship and most importantly, unconditional love. Remember that you can learn as much from them as they can learn from you. If you don’t live in Tyler, consider talking to your local school counselor about how you might mentor or tutor a student there. 

Diversify your (audio)bookshelf.Whether you like to read or listen, these books will inform you, surprise you, and inspire you to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly.

  • Oneness Embraced by Tony Evans:Pastor Tony Evans reflects on his experiences bridging black urban culture and white evangelicalism and offers a biblical perspective on how the church can pursue unity across racial and socioeconomic divides.

  • America’s Original Sin by Jim Wallis:A candid account of the deep roots of racism in America, primarily addressed to White Christians, that encourages believers to work together for racial justice and healing.

  • Rescuing the Gospel from the Cowboys: A Native American Expression of the Jesus Way by Richard Twiss:A survey of the complicated history of American Christianity , their missionary efforts among Native Americans, and how Native American Christians have contextualized their expression of faith in Jesus.

  • White Awake: An Honest Look at What it Means to be White by Daniel Hill:Pastor Daniel Hill’s journey of discovering his own white identity and seven stages white believers can expect to encounter on their path to understanding the significance of race, culture and identity.

  • Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria by Beverly Daniel Tatum: A pychologist and educator discusses the racial identity development of teenagers and explains the necessity frank cross-racial dialogue.

  • My Bondage And My Freedom by Frederick Douglass:An autobiographical narrative first published in 1855 about Douglass’s escape from slavery and advocacy for abolition. 

  • Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs:An autobiographical memoir first published in 1861, and one of the few first-hand accounts of slavery’s horrors written by a woman.

  • The Warmth Of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson:Chronicles the migration from 1915-1970 of nearly six million African Americans who fled the South looking for better lives in northern and western cities.

  • Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond:Based on years of fieldwork, this book follows eight families in Milwaukee and illustrates how our housing system perpetuates economic exploitation that disproportionately impacts communities of color.

  • The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein:A description of the methods used by the federal, state, and local governments to systematically create and maintain residential segragation based on race.

For your kids

  • Read books about children of color.Look at your child’s book collection. Do the books on their shelves represent racial diversity and teach them that the stories of children of color are important and worth listening to? If you don’t have any books featuring children of color, or only a few, change that. Google “book lists about children of color.” You’ll find stories like: Ada Twist, Scientist. Last Stop on Market Street. The Day You Begin. A Different Pond.Bring some of those stories home and read them together!