cover image I Bring the Voices of My People: A Womanist Vision for Racial Reconciliation

I Bring the Voices of My People: A Womanist Vision for Racial Reconciliation

Chanequa Walker-Barnes. Eerdmans, $24.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-8028-7720-8

Walker-Barnes (Too Heavy a Yoke), a theologian and clinical psychologist, presents an urgent, penetrating analysis of Christian racial reconciliation theory and practice that centers the voices of black women and other women of color. Beginning by noting the upsurge of white supremacist violence in the U.S., the author argues that racial reconciliation must reject the dominant model of antiracism work that primarily focuses on building interracial relationships and supporting “symmetrical treatment.” Such a paradigm, which she terms the “interracial playdate” model, ignores that racism is not about friendship or feelings but is, instead, “an interlocking system of oppression that is designed to promote and maintain White supremacy.” Walker-Barnes calls on readers to move toward a commitment to liberation, justice, and transformation through working in solidarity with others who share the goal of dismantling white supremacy. The author contextualizes racism as one component of intersectional oppression—for example, as expressed through “gendered racism and racialized sexism.” The alternative she suggests is confrontational truth telling about oppression, “prioritizing the narratives of women of color,” establishing “networks of mutual support and empowerment,” and reviving the Christian obligation to struggle in solidarity with the oppressed. “A distinct process is necessary for oppressors,” she writes, “that of repentance and conversion.” Walker-Barnes’s important evaluation of racial reconciliation will be crucial for any Christian engaged in antiracist activism. (Oct.)