Maybe you have racism figured out. I thought I did. I thought I was pretty enlightened to the issues of race and racism in this country. Then I read Debby Irving’s book, Waking Up White…and finding myself in the story of race.
Irving’s book is her own discovery of the pervasiveness of racism in her own life. It is not meant to speak for all white people in America. She invites us into her own story of ‘waking up’ to the unconscious assumptions and embedded structures of race in America. She shares her experience with painful honesty and self-deprecating humor. Between the chuckling and wincing at Irving’s story, I found more than enough of my own experience. Many others have had the same experience. The spirit of the book isn't to hit people over the head with guilt, as much as it is to turn on a light in some unexamined parts of our brain.
Maybe that is why the Co-Moderators of our PCUSA invited all churches to read Waking Up White this year. It is offered as a “one church, one book” experience. Many churches have taken on this challenge and a few have shared their stories. I included it as one of the three books in this summer’s Pastor’s Book Club.