Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God

Kelly Brown Douglas. Orbis, $24 trade paper (260p) ISBN 978-1-62698-109-6
Douglas (The Black Christ), an Episcopal priest and professor of religion, connects politics, theology and history in arresting ways in this meditative analysis on American cultural attitudes toward black bodies. She construes “stand your ground” as more than a law; it’s a concept embedded in American ideas and practices from manifest destiny to redlining and restrictive housing covenants. “This is a culture that turns deadly in relation to the black body,” Douglas writes. Religious thinkers and institutions are not exempt from perpetuating this particularly insidious aspect of American culture and thought, sharing the attitude that whiteness is valued and black bodies are disposable. Brown strikes a good balance between political theology and analysis. Names that have been in the news, including Michael Brown, combine with her own personal perspective as a mother to give the narrative poignancy and timeliness. The connection between Trayvon Martin and Jesus, or, more generally, black youth who have been victimized by violence initiated by whites, is not as clear or potent as her argument about the meaning of “stand your ground,” but the book nonetheless raises important spiritual and social questions. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/13/2015
Release date: 05/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
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