Good White Racist?
Confronting Your Role in Racial Injustice
by Kerry Connelly
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 17 Mar 2020 | Archive Date 01 Aug 2021
\ good · white · racist \ noun
1. A well-intentioned person of European descent who is nonetheless complicit in a culture of systemic racism
2. A white person who would rather stay comfortable than do the work of antiracism
When it comes to race, most white Americans are obsessed with two things: defending our own inherent goodness and maintaining our own comfort levels. Too often, this means white people assume that to be racist, one has to be openly hateful and willfully discriminatory—you know, a bad person. And we know we're good, Christian people, right? But you don’t have to be wearing a white hood or shouting racial epithets to be complicit in America’s racist history and its ongoing systemic inequality.
In Good White Racist?, Kerry Connelly exposes the ways white people participate in, benefit from, and unknowingly perpetuate racism—despite their best "good person" intentions. Good White Racist? unpacks the systems that maintain the status quo, keep white people comfortable and complicit, and perpetuate racism in the United States and elsewhere. Combining scholarly research with her trademark New Jersey snark, Connelly shows us that even though it may not be our fault or choice to participate in a racist system, we all do, and it’s our responsibility to do something about it.
"The power of…Connelly’s work is the incredible specificity with which [she] delve[s] into how our everyday thoughts, feelings, and behaviors continue to reinforce White supremacy…. Connelly helps readers see how racism operates in our language, in education, policing, incarceration, church, popular culture, and personal relationships."
—The Christian Century
“Kerry Connelly is courageously helping to lead the charge to liberate white people from their own failed conception of goodness and, instead, inviting them to become true allies in the liberation of all God’s people. In this book, good white people will find the truth. If they allow it, the truth shall set them free. Then we shall all be finally free.”
—From the foreword by Michael W. Waters
“What Kerry has started is the hard work of ’white folk work‘ in a stunning and powerful volume that acknowledges the problem of white supremacy and its demonic effects on the American landscape and faith and her complicity in it. Always skeptical of white folks publishing books about the work I consider my life’s calling, I walked into this book with the armor only a lifetime of oppression as a queer Black man can develop. What I was met with was a sincere partner in the struggle for my survival and someone who could speak into spaces I’ll never be heard. This work is something to be read, shared, lived, and celebrated for that fact alone.”
—Rev. Lenny Duncan, author of Dear Church: A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the U.S.
“Good White Racist? offers a razor-sharp and readable analysis of the covert racism perpetrated by white people who mean well. Connelly tackles these topics in a way that encourages personal insight and accountability. Her frank observations (and occasional snark) make for a relatable book that left me cringing with recognition and motivated to change. It’s an important read for all white people.”
—Kristen Howerton, author of Rage against the Minivan
“No one wants to be called racist—or, worse, confess that we are—but the truth is we’re all swimming in the toxic waters of America’s cultural, systemic racism. Our choice is whether to ignore and deny it or to open our eyes to the ways we as white people (often unknowingly) perpetuate and benefit from racial injustice. For people of goodwill, the choice is clear, and Kerry Connelly offers a challenging yet accessible guide to recognizing our unconscious biases, our techniques of avoidance, and the myths we’ve believed about our history and ourselves.”
—Jonathan Merritt, contributing writer for The Atlantic and author of Learning to Speak God from Scratch
“The work that needs to be done is white-on-white race talk. By that I mean, white folks talking to white folks about the ways white supremacy is internalized and therefore shows up in their social practice. Kerry endeavors to do just this, and I think we all should invest our time in this book!”
—Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, author of Activist Theology
“There are few things scarier than having to admit when we’re wrong. Scarier yet is having to admit when those wrongs are racist thoughts and attitudes. But in Good White Racist?, Kerry Connelly faces that fear head on, confessing not only to her own racism but, in the process, opening the door to a desperately needed conversation about the latent racism that has permeated white American Christianity for generations. This book won’t hold your hand and tell you everything will be alright. If anything, it will be quite painful to read, especially if you’re a white guy like me who wants to think he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. But that’s a good thing. Because repentance and transformation are painful, and white American Christianity has a lot to atone for whether we want to admit it or not.”
—Zack Hunt, writer, speaker, and author of Unraptured: How End Times Theology Gets It Wrong
”Kerry Connelly masterfully challenges her white-identifying readers to reflect, repent, and then re-imagine a new way to deconstruct the hierarchy that continually oppresses Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC). I challenge those of us who carry unearned privilege because of our whiteness to read this book, put on our ‘big kid underpants,’ and help change the embedded systemic structures that are causing harm to our BIPOC siblings.”
—Jonathan Williams, author of She’s My Dad: A Father's Transition and a Son's Redemption, leader, and founder of Forefront Church in Brooklyn, New York
“This book is a necessary read for all white people. Seriously. All of us. Good White Racist? is provocative, eye-opening, offensive, and powerful. And it will humble even the most progressively aware white person. Connelly’s approach is self-reflective, sharp-witted, and thoughtfully researched. I needed this book. You do too.”
—Matthew Paul Turner, author of When God Made the World and When I Pray for You