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theology, justice, economics

Decolonizing Wealth:

Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance

by Edgar Villanueva (Oakland: Berrett-Koehler, 2018) 

Decolonizing Wealth is a provocative analysis of the dysfunctional colonial dynamics at play in philanthropy and finance. Award-winning philanthropy executive Edgar Villanueva draws from the traditions from the Native way to prescribe the medicine for restoring balance and healing our divides.

From Here to Equality:

Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century

by William A. Darity and A. Kirsten Mullen (Chapel Hill: Univ of NC Press, 2020) 

Racism and discrimination have choked economic opportunity for African Americans at nearly every turn. At several historic moments, the trajectory of racial inequality could have been altered dramatically. Perhaps no moment was more opportune than the early days of Reconstruction, when the U.S. government temporarily implemented a major redistribution of land from former slaveholders to the newly emancipated enslaved. But neither Reconstruction nor the New Deal nor the civil rights struggle led to an economically just and fair nation. Today, systematic inequality persists in the form of housing discrimination, unequal education, police brutality, mass incarceration, employment discrimination, and massive wealth and opportunity gaps. Economic data indicates that for every dollar the average white household holds in wealth the average black household possesses a mere ten cents.

The Sum of Us:

What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together

by Heather McGhee, One World, 2021

Heather McGhee’s specialty is the American economy–and the mystery of why it so often fails the American public. From the financial crisis to rising student debt to collapsing public infrastructure, she found a common root problem: racism. But not just in the most obvious indignities for people of color. Racism has costs for white people, too. It is the common denominator of our most vexing public problems, the core dysfunction of our democracy and constitutive of the spiritual and moral crises that grip us all. But how did this happen? And is there a way out?

Unsettling Truths:

The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery

by Mark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2019)

You cannot discover lands already inhabited. Injustice has plagued American society for centuries. And we cannot move toward being a more just nation without understanding the root causes that have shaped our culture and institutions. In this prophetic blend of history, theology, and cultural commentary, Mark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah reveal the far-reaching, damaging effects of the “Doctrine of Discovery.” In the fifteenth century, official church edicts gave Christian explorers the right to claim territories they “discovered.” This was institutionalized as an implicit national framework that justifies American triumphalism, white supremacy, and ongoing injustices. 

InterVarsity Press Book Talk

Dear White Christians:

For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation

by Jennifer Harvey (Prophetic Christianity Series) 2nd Edition (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2020)

“If reconciliation is the takeaway point for the civil rights story we usually tell, then the takeaway point for the more complex, more truthful civil rights story contained in Dear White Christians is reparations.” — from the preface to the second edition

With the troubling and painful events of the last several years–from the killing of numerous unarmed Black men and women at the hands of police to the rallying of white supremacists in Charlottesville–it is clearer than ever that the reconciliation paradigm, long favored by white Christians, has failed to heal the deep racial wounds in the church and American society. 

The Color of Law:

A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

by Richard Rothstein (New York: Liveright Publishing, 2017) 

To scholars and social critics, the racial segregation of our neighborhoods has long been viewed as a manifestation of unscrupulous real estate agents, unethical mortgage lenders, and exclusionary covenants working outside the law. This is what is commonly known as “de facto segregation,” practices that were the outcome of private activity, not law or explicit public policy. Yet, as Rothstein breaks down in case after case, private activity could not have imposed segregation without explicit government policies (de jure segregation) designed to ensure the separation of African Americans from whites.

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