BOOK: We Need To Talk About Race by Ben Lindsay
RECOMMENDED BY: Kids Matter Team
It was challenging and thought-provoking while written in an accessible way that allows you to practically consider how we (the church) can better respond and engage with the issues surrounding race. – Lydia
As a South African born and bred in a racially charged, diverse, violent society, I was reminded that hurt is not always obvious, and that healing is the biproduct of intentional, proactive behaviour. – Andrea
The book provides enough of a catalyst to get us each thinking about our own experiences; reflecting on how we move with ease in the world without realising it thanks to our white privilege. It poses enough questions to get us talking together to become more informed and more aware. – Eli
It made me even more aware of why it’s important for white people (as privileged) to highlight what ethnically diverse groups are experiencing. – Jules
The brutal death of George Floyd in May of this year sparked a reinvigoration of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in many countries the world over, as the reality of deep-seated systemic racism finally made its way into the consciousness of privileged whites. #BlackLivesMatter has, in fact, been a thing since 2013 after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin the year before. The movement advocates for non-violent civil disobedience in protest against racially motivated aggression against black people.
It takes a lot to get our attention – white people’s attention.
For us at Kids Matter BLM has been particularly impactful in drawing our gaze to the very distinct difference between being non-racist and being anti-racist. As an organisation that engages local churches to equip parents and carers facing disadvantages with confidence, competence and community, enabling their children to thrive, we would easily say that we are non-racist; welcoming parents and children of all ethnicities into our programme. And yet, how proactive have we been in truly making this possible?
After a long, hard look at ourselves and our organisation, we have realised that we have been bystanders. We have been wonderful non-racists but not very good anti-racists. We want to actively pursue BAME (Black Asian and Minority Ethnicities) children and families who have not only fallen through the gap of poverty and disadvantage in our country but who’ve been kicked further down the crevice by a legacy of white privilege.
At Kids Matter, we do not want to be bystanders. We want to be active in standing up for what we believe is right – equality, justice and fairness, as per the example of Jesus. We want to be a “beacon of light” – as described by psychologist, ex NBA player and New York Times best-selling author John Amaechi when talking about the difference between being non-racist and being anti-racist. We want to inspire with a mentality that is constantly looking around to say, what tools do we have available to make it clear that this (racism) is not acceptable?
As a charity fighting for the well-being of families (parents and children) in communities across the country, in partnership with the church; part of our learning (in pursuit of our goal to be anti-racist) has been to acknowledge our own personal, often unwitting, prejudices and to challenge ourselves, as members of the church, by confronting of the church’s role (past and continued) in systemic racism in our country. Ben Lindsay’s book We Need To Talk About Race has been a worthwhile and constructive help in this process.
The founder of Power The Fight, a new charity which launched in Jan 2019 to train and empower communities to end youth violence, Ben Lindsay was also lead pastor at Emmanuel New Cross in South East London. His book is about understanding the black experience in white majority churches. We Need To Talk About Race takes on the church’s complicity in the transatlantic slave trade as well as the whitewashing of Christianity throughout history, challenging the status quo in white majority churches. Filled with examples from real-life stories, including his own, and insightful questions, this book offers a comprehensive analysis of race relations in the Church in the UK and shows us how we can work together to create a truly inclusive church community.
Part of being anti-racist is using that which is at our disposal to learn, read and make everybody clear where we stand. It is indeed time for us and the church to talk about race. And this starts with us, as individuals.
When you know better, you do better.