Jemar Tisby has long been fighting against racism. He has an NYT bestselling history survey, The Color of Compromise. He is the co-founder of The Witness: A Black Christian Collective. He is in the final stages of his Ph.D. in history, focusing on 20th-century racial history. And he co-hosts the Pass The Mic podcast.
This is a very different book from Color of Compromise. Color of Compromise is a survey of the American church’s racial history, especially its compromise concerning accepting racism in exchange for cultural power. Tisby says clearly in the introduction that How to Fight Racism responds to the standard question that he frequently gets, especially from White Christians, after presenting the problems of racism. How to Fight Racism is a book-length response to ‘what can I do.’
The broad structure of the book is ARC (see link for a graphic detailing the concept). ARC is not linear, but a broad strategy that will look different from person to person and community to community. But generally, healthy response to racism will include some mix of ongoing awareness, relationship building, and a long-term commitment to systemic change. This may sound theoretical, but it is very practically focused. There are many stories to illustrate the suggestions. And while you certainly do not need to be a Christian to get value out of the book, it is a Christian book that is rooting the reasoning and methods of fighting racism in a Christian background.
How to Fight racism will be the most helpful read in a group. Because many aspects of racism are cultural, organizational, or legal, there are limits to individual actions. There are study guides for group discussion available. And I think that if you can read this in a group, especially a group within a church or organization, it can be a good jumping-off point toward organizational change that is systemic. Many other similar pieces (often article length) are oriented toward individuals.
I did see one review that said there was not much new or unique here. In some ways, I agree. Similar to how there is not much about prayer or bible reading or discipleship that is really new or unique, but we still need new books to teach and communicate to new contexts. We do still need books to talk about how to oppose racism and take different approaches.
How to Fight Racism is not also not trying to prove that racism exists. That is a different book. This book centered around practical, constructive opposition to racism, especially the type of work that Christians should do. And I hope it is a book that will be widely read and widely put into practice.