Book Review: How to Fight Racism

This book review was written by ICCM Chief of Staff and Intercultural Consultant, Melissa Littlepage. You can purchase How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice by Jemar Tisby here

Maybe you’ve read lots of books about racism and its pervasive grip on society. Perhaps you experience it daily and need no convincing about its presence and power. But the question still remains for you — “what can I do? What practical steps can I take to uproot and eliminate it — from my life, my community, and from our world?”

New York Times Bestselling author Jemar Tisby sets out to answer those questions in his new book, How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice. As a historian, Tisby provided a deep and unflinching look at the American church’s complicity in racism in his first book The Color of Compromise. In How to Fight Racism, he switches gears and moves into the role of seasoned practitioner. A capable and unwavering guide, Tisby lays out a forthright and attainable path for putting convictions about racial justice into everyday practice. 

The book is laid out in three sections, following Tisby’s model of the ARC of Racial Justice, a thoughtful employment of the well-known Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. quote: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” In Tisby’s model, ARC stands for Awareness, Relationships, and Commitment. Each of these three sections have their own three “how-to’s.” From the intimate and personal to the societal and systemic, the how-to’s cover lots of ground and give readers a plurality of options for putting what they learn into practice. 

My favorite things about this book were its clarity, its brevity, and its accessibility. As a trainer and consultant on issues of culture, race, equity, and intercultural competence, I will be using this resource regularly. 

If you are skeptical that racism is a deep and enduring problem, this book is not for you. You’ll want to start elsewhere, possibly with The Color of Compromise. But if you are convinced — if you do know that racism needs to be addressed comprehensively and urgently — and you are ready to do your part in that work, this book is for you.