Be­yond Color­blind: Re­deem­ing Our Eth­nic Jour­ney

Sarah Shin

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews Adult Nonfiction - JEREMIAH ROOD

In­ter­var­sity Press (NOVEM­BER) Soft­cover $16 (208pp) 978-0-8308-4515-6

Be­yond Color­blind ex­plores how re­li­gious com­mu­ni­ties can cre­ate spa­ces where eth­nic iden­tity is not just re­spected, but cel­e­brated.

Sarah Shin’s Be­yond Color­blind is a needed ex­plo­ration of how to talk about race in Amer­ica, urg­ing Chris­tians to move be­yond sim­ple po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness to­wards build­ing whole­hearted, di­verse com­mu­ni­ties.

Shin ar­gues that race should not be ig­nored; in­stead, peo­ple should em­brace a more com­plex eth­nic aware­ness and re­ally see their neigh­bors as they are. Color­blind ex­plores cul­tural mine­fields around race, us­ing clas­sic Chris­tian the­ol­ogy, prac­ti­cal ap­pli­ca­tion, and a twist on gospel as­ser­tions that, in Je­sus, eth­nic lines lose their mean­ing. Ref­er­enc­ing the Ja­panese prac­tice of

kintsukuroi, or golden re­pair—through which high­lighted cracks make bro­ken pots more beau­ti­ful, not less—shin ar­gues that “cracks,” or dif­fer­ences, in hu­man re­la­tion­ships are the most free­ing; they are where peo­ple can find com­mon ground. Re­ally ac­cept­ing one’s own iden­tity means be­com­ing bet­ter suited to build­ing bridges and un­der­stand­ing other peo­ple’s hu­man­ity. Such work in­volves lis­ten­ing, con­fess­ing faults, and shar­ing any tears that re­sult.

The book is filled with dif­fi­cult sto­ries about peo­ple strug­gling to come to grips with their eth­nic iden­ti­ties, par­tic­u­larly as they re­late to faith. It shows preach­ers ask­ing for for­give­ness, peo­ple shar­ing their painful ex­pe­ri­ences, and oth­ers sim­ply strug­gling to un­der­stand where to stand in the dif­fi­cult arena of Amer­i­can racial aware­ness. These sto­ries are pre­sented as a means of driv­ing more thought­ful con­ver­sa­tions, and they are of­fered along with study guides and group ex­er­cises to help fa­cil­i­tate dis­cus­sions.

The book’s sec­ond half for­wards prac­ti­cal sug­ges­tions for how to live with this new un­der­stand­ing of eth­nic iden­tity; it fo­cuses on de­vel­op­ing skills to build new com­mu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing of­fer­ing prophetic wit­ness, in­ten­tional hos­pi­tal­ity, and good lis­ten­ing.

Be­yond Color­blind ex­plores how re­li­gious com­mu­ni­ties can cre­ate spa­ces where eth­nic iden­tity is not just re­spected, but cel­e­brated for the rich­ness it of­fers.

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