A Sin by Any Other Name: Reckoning with Racism and the Heritage of the South

Robert W. Lee. Convergent, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-0-525-57638-9
Lee (Stained-Glass Millennials), pastor and “nephew, generations removed” of Robert E. Lee, shares his path to fighting for racial justice in this revealing memoir. Growing up in Statesville, N.C., Lee learned early the weight of his famous ancestor and the assumptions others made about his own views. Several interactions with black schoolmates during his youth shaped his call to preach and opened his eyes to the pervasiveness of racism, later evidenced at his public high school during a football game where he heard racial slurs used by the crowd against the opposing team. Such experiences, he writes, led him to make racial injustice and the need to end the continued segregation of congregations the focus of his ministry. Following the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Lee was invited to give a brief message at the MTV Video Music Awards; his appearance won him support but also caused backlash in conservative circles; he was later, he writes, fired by his church for an unclear cause. Such divisiveness, he explains, inspired him to preach a message of unity. Unfortunately, Lee’s advice lacks specificity and comes off as rather pat (such as with his recommendation for “noticing the sin of white privilege”), and he rarely offers solutions to the problems he finds. However, open-minded readers will appreciate Lee’s perspective on race in America as well as his story of working to overcome division, bigotry, and his own family’s fraught history. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/20/2019
Release date: 04/02/2019
Genre: Religion
Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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