I'm so grateful to Ben Lindsay for writing We Need To Talk About Race: Understanding the Black Experience in White Majority Churches (SPCK, 2019, 186 pages). Here are some quotes from the book which I found particularly helpful...

"There is a huge difference between churches being diverse and churches being inclusive. Attracting black people to church isn’t difficult. … Creating inclusive communities, however, where black people feel that they are a valued part of the culture, not just observers, is more complicated. Sadly, the racism we see in society we also face in the Church, through a combination of ignorance, naivety and white privilege. This is exasperating and painful for black people." (p.21)

"While some Christians will view a colour-blind approach as a positive thing – a demonstration of loving all regardless of race – there is also a danger that if white church members do not have a degree of colour consciousness, they will ignore the realities, concerns, joys and fears people of colour experience. This is imperative because being colour conscious gives white people license of to explore and learn about diverse cultures and helps people of colour to feel valued and welcomed in traditionally white spaces. Finally, colour consciousness brings a truer representation of God’s value of diversity in the body of Christ, helping to bring a glorious melody of diverse tongues coming from peoples of all nations, all colours, praising him together around the throne in diverse ways." (p.22)

"White people have always had examples of pioneers, forerunners, innovators, discoverers, developers and inventors widely available to them in the mainstream. This bias creates a confidence in white people. Black people do not have the same luxury." (p.59)

Martin Luther King Jr: "We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late." (p.85)

"Black leaders feel that they have to be the black crusader... Your dual mission (if you choose to accept it) is to carry the weight of black and white expectations because you are a rarity – a black leader in a white space." (p.110)

"White people may ask, ‘Why must I make all the effort?’ The answer is easy: you’re the majority culture and you are part of the power structure, whether you know it or not." (p.148)

"The fundamental difference between white allies and white saviours is that one listens and has empathy while the other tries to control and dominate." (p.148)

"In my experience, when approaching the topic of race, many black people feel there is a need to broaden and deepen the usual conversations, bringing in historic issues (such as slavery), cultural observations (such as white privilege) and structural blockages (such as institutional racism). White people tend to steer the conversation to the specific (‘I can’t be blamed for the sins of my ancestors’), personal (‘I’ve never said anything racist’) or procedural (‘there’s no such thing as structural racism’). Just because a white person doesn’t see racism in his or her everyday life, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist." (p.155)


We Need To Talk About Race: Understanding the Black Experience in White Majority Churches by Ben Lindsay (SPCK, 2019) is available from Eden, SPCK, and Amazon.