Americas Original Sin
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America's problem with race has deep roots, with the country's foundation tied to the near extermination of one race of people and the enslavement of another. Racism is truly our nation's original sin. "It's time we right this unacceptable wrong," says bestselling author and leading Christian activist Jim Wallis. Fifty years ago, Wallis was driven away from his faith by a white church that considered dealing with racism to be taboo. His participation in the civil rights movement brought him back when he discovered a faith that commands racial justice. Yet as recent tragedies confirm, we continue to suffer from the legacy of racism. The old patterns of white privilege are colliding with the changing demographics of a diverse nation. The church has been slow to respond, and Sunday morning is still the most segregated hour of the week. In America's Original Sin, Wallis offers a prophetic and deeply personal call to action in overcoming the racism so ingrained in American society. He speaks candidly to Christians--particularly white Christians--urging them to cross a new bridge toward racial justice and healing. Whenever divided cultures and gridlocked power structures fail to end systemic sin, faith communities can help lead the way to grassroots change. Probing yet positive, biblically rooted yet highly practical, this book shows people of faith how they can work together to overcome the embedded racism in America, galvanizing a movement to cross the bridge to a multiracial church and a new America.
How Christian supremacy gave birth to white supremacy -- The witchcraft of white supremacy -- When words create worlds -- The symbolic capital of New Testament love -- The cruciform Christ -- Christian love in a weighted world
Jim Wallis thinks our life together can be better. In this timely and provocative book, he shows us how to reclaim Jesus's ancient and compelling vision of the common good--a vision that impacts and inspires not only our politics but also our personal lives, families, churches, neighborhoods, and world. Now available in paperback with a new preface. "Personal/political, religion/politics, faith/power, ideology/pragmatism . . . Jim Wallis is a wrestler of values, ideas, and policies and how they interact to shape the world we live in. His deep, melodious voice is easy to listen to, but what he says takes a harder commitment to live by."--Bono, lead singer of U2; cofounder of ONE.org "Wallis persuades more powerfully here than ever before. . . . He lays out the theology of [Jesus's gospel of the kingdom] and then issues to all Christians a rallying cry to apply that theology both in private life and in the arena of public activity."--Phyllis Tickle, author of Emergence Christianity "Jim Wallis has long been an influential voice on Christian ethics and public life. . . . A fresh take on the interplay of faith and politics in America."--Relevant "Jim Wallis and I have a variety of differences on domestic and international policy, but there is no message more timely or urgent than his call to actively consider the common good."--Michael Gerson, op-ed columnist, The Washington Post "Reading this book will help you be more like Jesus, especially in the public square."--Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor, Northland--A Church Distributed
The New York Times bestseller A New York Times Notable and Critics’ Top Book of 2016 Longlisted for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction One of NPR's 10 Best Books Of 2016 Faced Tough Topics Head On NPR's Book Concierge Guide To 2016’s Great Reads San Francisco Chronicle's Best of 2016: 100 recommended books A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of 2016 Globe & Mail 100 Best of 2016 “Formidable and truth-dealing . . . necessary.” —The New York Times “This eye-opening investigation into our country’s entrenched social hierarchy is acutely relevant.” —O Magazine In her groundbreaking bestselling history of the class system in America, Nancy Isenberg upends history as we know it by taking on our comforting myths about equality and uncovering the crucial legacy of the ever-present, always embarrassing—if occasionally entertaining—poor white trash. “When you turn an election into a three-ring circus, there’s always a chance that the dancing bear will win,” says Isenberg of the political climate surrounding Sarah Palin. And we recognize how right she is today. Yet the voters who boosted Trump all the way to the White House have been a permanent part of our American fabric, argues Isenberg. The wretched and landless poor have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlement to today's hillbillies. They were alternately known as “waste people,” “offals,” “rubbish,” “lazy lubbers,” and “crackers.” By the 1850s, the downtrodden included so-called “clay eaters” and “sandhillers,” known for prematurely aged children distinguished by their yellowish skin, ragged clothing, and listless minds. Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over four hundred years, Isenberg upends assumptions about America’s supposedly class-free society––where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. Reconstruction pitted poor white trash against newly freed slaves, which factored in the rise of eugenics–-a widely popular movement embraced by Theodore Roosevelt that targeted poor whites for sterilization. These poor were at the heart of New Deal reforms and LBJ’s Great Society; they haunt us in reality TV shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty. Marginalized as a class, white trash have always been at or near the center of major political debates over the character of the American identity. We acknowledge racial injustice as an ugly stain on our nation’s history. With Isenberg’s landmark book, we will have to face the truth about the enduring, malevolent nature of class as well.
"American democracy is in precarious health. Books on tyranny and fascism are now bestsellers. Parents wonder whether their children will still grow up in a democracy. Gallows political humor about the collapse of the republic creeps into ordinary conversation. No longer a shining model for the world, American democracy today strikes a more cautionary note. An anxious pessimism dominates. By every expert judgment, the United States is slipping. In late 2017, the Economist Intelligence Unit downgraded the United States from "full democracy" to "flawed democracy," giving it the same ranking as Italy. In January 2018, Freedom House downgraded its rating of American democracy to 86 (out of 100), just above Poland (85) and Greece (85), but behind Latvia (87) (and down from 94 in 2010). The August 2018 "Bright Line Watch" survey of 679 political scientists concluded: "Our expert respondents perceive a consistent, ongoing decline in the overall quality of American democracy from 2015." In the August/September 2018 "Authoritarian Warning Survey," 747 democracy experts collectively gave the United States a one in six chance of democratic breakdown in the next four years, and were nearly unanimous (97.1 percent) in their assessment American democracy had declined over the last decade. Let me repeat: a one in six chance of democratic breakdown. That's like rolling a six-sided die, and hoping it doesn't land on Hungary"--
NOW A NEW YORK TIMES, PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY, INDIEBOUND, LOS ANGELES TIMES, WASHINGTON POST, CHRONICLE HERALD, SALISBURY POST, GUELPH MERCURY TRIBUNE, AND BOSTON GLOBE BESTSELLER | NAMED A BEST/MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2017 BY: The Washington Post • Bustle • Men's Journal • The Chicago Reader • StarTribune • Blavity • The Guardian • NBC New York's Bill's Books • Kirkus • Essence “One of the most frank and searing discussions on race ... a deeply serious, urgent book, which should take its place in the tradition of Baldwin's The Fire Next Time and King's Why We Can't Wait." —The New York Times Book Review Toni Morrison hails Tears We Cannot Stop as "Elegantly written and powerful in several areas: moving personal recollections; profound cultural analysis; and guidance for moral redemption. A work to relish." Stephen King says: "Here’s a sermon that’s as fierce as it is lucid...If you’re black, you’ll feel a spark of recognition in every paragraph. If you’re white, Dyson tells you what you need to know—what this white man needed to know, at least. This is a major achievement. I read it and said amen." Short, emotional, literary, powerful—Tears We Cannot Stop is the book that all Americans who care about the current and long-burning crisis in race relations will want to read. As the country grapples with racist division at a level not seen since the 1960s, one man's voice soars above the rest with conviction and compassion. In his 2016 New York Times op-ed piece "Death in Black and White," Michael Eric Dyson moved a nation. Now he continues to speak out in Tears We Cannot Stop—a provocative and deeply personal call for change. Dyson argues that if we are to make real racial progress we must face difficult truths, including being honest about how black grievance has been ignored, dismissed, or discounted. "The time is at hand for reckoning with the past, recognizing the truth of the present, and moving together to redeem the nation for our future. If we don't act now, if you don't address race immediately, there very well may be no future."
A provocative case for integration as the single most radical, discomfiting idea in America, yet the only enduring solution to the racism that threatens our democracy. Americans have prided ourselves on how far we've come from slavery, lynching, and legal segregation-measuring ourselves by incremental progress instead of by how far we have to go. But fifty years after the last meaningful effort toward civil rights, the US remains overwhelmingly segregated and unjust. Our current solutions -- diversity, representation, and desegregation -- are not enough. As acclaimed writer Calvin Baker argues in this bracing, necessary book, we first need to envision a society no longer defined by the structures of race in order to create one. The only meaningful remedy is integration: the full self-determination and participation of all African-Americans, and all other oppressed groups, in every facet of national life. This is the deepest threat to the racial order and the real goal of civil rights. At once a profound, masterful reading of US history from the colonial era forward and a trenchant critique of the obstacles in our current political and cultural moment, A More Perfect Reunion is also a call to action. As Baker reminds us, we live in a revolutionary democracy. We are one of the best-positioned generations in history to finish that revolution.
In 50 short, sharp, incisive essays, Jim Goad examines why the idea of being white has become the modern version of the unpardonable sin.
This book-length essay is a rigorously honest, deeply felt exploration of the "hidden wound" of racism and its damaging effect on American whites. Available for the first time in paperback.
Examines the continued emotional, economic, and cultural enslavement of African Americans in the twenty-first century.
Since the early twentieth century, the Baha’í religion has worked to establish racially and ethnically diverse communities. During Jim Crow, it was a leader in breaking norms of racial segregation. Each chapter of this book presents an aspect of Baha’i history that intersects with African American history in novel and socially significant ways.
The history of race relations on two continents is enormously enriched by this comparative study
A first-generation immigrant's exploration of race and assimilation in the United States, an American's journey into the heart of not-whiteness. At the age of 12, Sharmila Sen emigrated from India to the U.S. The year was 1982, and everywhere she turned, she was asked to self-report her race - on INS forms, at the doctor's office, in middle school. Never identifying with a race in the India of her childhood, she rejects her new "not quite" designation - not quite white, not quite black, not quite Asian -- and spends much of her life attempting to blend into American whiteness. But after her teen years trying to assimilate--watching shows like General Hospital and The Jeffersons, dancing to Duran Duran and Prince, and perfecting the art of Jell-O no-bake desserts--she is forced to reckon with the hard questions: What does it mean to be white, why does whiteness retain the magic cloak of invisibility while other colors are made hypervisible, and how much does whiteness figure into Americanness? Part memoir, part manifesto, Not Quite Not White is a searing appraisal of race and a path forward for the next not quite not white generation --a witty and sharply honest story of discovering that not-whiteness can be the very thing that makes us American.
In the years following World War II, American Protestantism experienced tremendous growth, but conventional wisdom holds that midcentury Protestants practiced an optimistic, progressive, complacent, and materialist faith. In Original Sin and Everyday Protestants, historian Andrew Finstuen argues against this prevailing view, showing that theological issues in general--and the ancient Christian doctrine of original sin in particular--became newly important to both the culture at large and to a generation of American Protestants during a postwar ''age of anxiety'' as the Cold War took root. Finstuen focuses on three giants of Protestant thought--Billy Graham, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Paul Tillich--men who were among the era's best known public figures. He argues that each thinker's strong commitment to the doctrine of original sin was a powerful element of the broad public influence that they enjoyed. Drawing on extensive correspondence from everyday Protestants, the book captures the voices of the people in the pews, revealing that the ordinary, rank-and-file Protestants were indeed thinking about Christian doctrine and especially about ''good'' and ''evil'' in human nature. Finstuen concludes that the theological concerns of ordinary American Christians were generally more complicated and serious than is commonly assumed, correcting the view that postwar American culture was becoming more and more secular from the late 1940s through the 1950s.
Since September 11, public discourse has often been framed in terms of absolutes: an age of innocence gives way to a present under siege, while the United States and its allies face off against the Axis of Evil. This special issue of Social Text aims to move beyond these binaries toward thoughtful analysis. The editors argue that the challenge for the Left is to develop an antiterrorism stance that acknowledges the legacy of U.S. trade and foreign policy as well as the diversity of the Muslim faith and the dangers presented by fundamentalism of all kinds. Examining the strengths and shortcomings of area, race, and gender studies in the search for understanding, this issue considers cross-cultural feminism as a means of combating terrorism; racial profiling of Muslims in the context of other racist logics; and the homogenization of dissent. The issue includes poetry, photographic work, and an article by Judith Butler on the discursive space surrounding the attacks of September 11. This impressive range of contributions questions the meaning and implications of the events of September 11 and their aftermath. Contributors. Muneer Ahmad, Meena Alexander, Lopamudra Basu, Judith Butler, Zillah Eisenstein, Stefano Harney, Randy Martin, Rosalind C. Morris, Fred Moten, Sandrine Nicoletta, Yigal Nizri, Jasbir K. Puar, Amit S. Rai, Ella Shohat, Ban Wang
Just as Reconstruction after the Civil War worked to repair a desperately broken society, our Christianity requires a spiritual reconstruction that undoes the injustices of the past. Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove traces his journey from the religion of the slaveholder to the Christianity of Christ, showing that when the gospel is reconstructed, freedom rings both for individuals and for society as a whole.
Drawing on history, public opinion surveys, and personal experience, Robert P. Jones delivers a provocative examination of the unholy relationship between American Christianity and white supremacy, and issues an urgent call for white Christians to reckon with this legacy for the sake of themselves and the nation. As the nation grapples with demographic changes and the legacy of racism in America, Christianity’s role as a cornerstone of white supremacy has been largely overlooked. But white Christians—from evangelicals in the South to mainline Protestants in the Midwest and Catholics in the Northeast—have not just been complacent or complicit; rather, as the dominant cultural power, they have constructed and sustained a project of protecting white supremacy and opposing black equality that has framed the entire American story. With his family’s 1815 Bible in one hand and contemporary public opinion surveys by Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) in the other, Robert P. Jones delivers a groundbreaking analysis of the repressed history of the symbiotic relationship between Christianity and white supremacy. White Too Long demonstrates how deeply racist attitudes have become embedded in the DNA of white Christian identity over time and calls for an honest reckoning with a complicated, painful, and even shameful past. Jones challenges white Christians to acknowledge that public apologies are not enough—accepting responsibility for the past requires work toward repair in the present. White Too Long is not an appeal to altruism. Drawing on lessons gleaned from case studies of communities beginning to face these challenges, Jones argues that contemporary white Christians must confront these unsettling truths because this is the only way to salvage the integrity of their faith and their own identities. More broadly, it is no exaggeration to say that not just the future of white Christianity but the outcome of the American experiment is at stake.
The long-hidden stories of America's black pioneers, the frontier they settled, and their fight for the heart of the nation When black settlers Keziah and Charles Grier started clearing their frontier land in 1818, they couldn't know that they were part of the nation's earliest struggle for equality; they were just looking to build a better life. But within a few years, the Griers would become early Underground Railroad conductors, joining with fellow pioneers and other allies to confront the growing tyranny of bondage and injustice. The Bone and Sinew of the Land tells the Griers' story and the stories of many others like them: the lost history of the nation's first Great Migration. In building hundreds of settlements on the frontier, these black pioneers were making a stand for equality and freedom. Their new home, the Northwest Territory--the wild region that would become present-day Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin--was the first territory to ban slavery and have equal voting rights for all men. Though forgotten today, in their own time the successes of these pioneers made them the targets of racist backlash. Political and even armed battles soon ensued, tearing apart families and communities long before the Civil War. This groundbreaking work of research reveals America's forgotten frontier, where these settlers were inspired by the belief that all men are created equal and a brighter future was possible. Named one of Smithsonian's Best History Books of 2018