7 Books on the White-Black Racial Divide You Should Read

Ivan Mesa | September 22, 2016


LightstockWhen social media demands immediate reaction, it’s easy in our polarized society to speak past each other, make wrong assumptions, and be misunderstood. And these dangers are nowhere more of reality than when addressing race-related questions in the United States.

In order to gain perspective on an often perplexing set of issues, I recently reached out to several TGC friends and asked for book recommendations—for essential books that illumine the cultural moment we’re in, explain how we got here, and encourage us forward.


Jemar Tisby
President of the Reformed African American Network

Without exception, the first book I always recommend to people seeking to understand the dynamics of race and the church is Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America (Oxford University Press, 2001). The authors—Michael Emerson and Christian Smith—take a sociological approach to discern exactly why the church in the United States is segregated along racial lines. A central concept of the book is the idea that we’re living in “racialized” society. A racialized society is one “wherein race matters profoundly for differences in life experiences, life opportunities, and social relationships.” Differing economic, educational, political, and social rewards are bestowed to groups based on racial categorizations. The…


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