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Book Recommendation: Waking Up White by Debby Irving

This is actually a reflection I wrote for our June 2018 Newsletter. I decided to republish it here now, because the work of engaging and understanding White Privilege is an ongoing task that will not be accomplished in any of our lifetimes. Here is the comment I made when recommending this book two years ago:

Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving
I selected this book to highlight this month in part because as our General Assembly meets in St. Louis this month they will be addressing the deep racial tensions of the city and its suburbs. And in part because this book was recommended by our outgoing General Assembly Co-Moderators, Denise Anderson and Jan Edmiston. It is a recommended read for all Presbyterians because we are a historically white church that is struggling to adapt to the growing racial diversity of our nation. Debby Irving approaches her work as a racial educator with the philosophy “we need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” To this end she is frank and honest about her own experiences and frustrations as a
white woman trying to understand the systemic roots of racism as they play out today. Her book can be an uncomfortable read, but one that is written in a friendly and honest style. I also appreciate the included reflection questions at the end of each chapter to help us recognize parallels between her story and our own. As we seek to live into Paul’s call to live as one in Christ regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or economic status (Galatians 3:28) this is a helpful look at the history of white privilege and the way that it shapes our lives today.

To access the PCUSA study guide for this book, please CLICK HERE.


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