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The Color of Compromise Review

Jemar Tisby’s book The Color of Compromise is now available in Koinonia’s online farm store!
Communications Coordinator Katie Miles reviewed the book for our blog.

The Color of Compromise Book Front Cover

The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby

“This book is about revealing racism. It pulls back the curtain on the ways American Christians have collaborated with racism for centuries. By seeing the roots of racism in this country, may the church be moved to immediate and resolute antiracist action.”

Jemar Tisby’s The Color of Compromise accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do. It lays out a history of white American Christianity’s racism, both active and complicit, and then offers concrete solutions to become antiracist. Tisby argues the historical survey is a necessary part of understanding white American Christianity’s part in the racist past of America as a whole because there is no reconciliation without repentance. And there can be no repentance without a clear understanding of what is being repented for. 

As a white Christian reader, it is difficult to read the history of racism in the church. Tisby does not allow readers to explain away actions or absolve the church’s role in the oppression of Black people in America. Instead, he offers an unflinching history followed by concrete, tangible ways for readers to begin or continue their antiracist work. These solutions are big and small, but they are all actionable. They are also based on the idea Tisby introduces earlier in the book – oppression is structural and institutional and solutions to racism therefore must also be.

The Color of Compromise is a clear, honest look at the racism of the white American church. But it is not without hope. Tisby graciously allows his readers to learn parts of their past they may not know and then provides them action steps to move forward. “But if racism can be made, it can be unmade,” Tisby writes. He urges readers to see the urgency of antiracism work beginning now: “If the twenty-first century is to be different from the previous four centuries, then the American church must exercise even more creativity and effort to break down racial barriers than it took to erect them in the first place.” There is much work to be done. But with the help of Tisby’s work here and many others, we have hope the twenty-first century can be vastly different from those before it. As Tisby concludes, “The time for the American church’s complicity in racism has long past. It is time to cancel compromise. It is time to practice courageous Christianity.”

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