Beyond Colorblind explores how religious communities can create spaces where ethnic identity is not just respected, but celebrated.
Sarah Shin’s Beyond Colorblind is a needed exploration of how to talk about race in America, urging Christians to move beyond simple political correctness towards building wholehearted, diverse communities.
Shin argues that race should not be ignored; instead, people should embrace a more complex ethnic awareness and really see their neighbors as they are. Colorblind explores cultural minefields around race, using classic Christian theology, practical application, and a twist on gospel assertions that, in Jesus, ethnic lines lose their meaning.
Referencing the Japanese practice of kintsukuroi, or golden repair—through which highlighted cracks make broken pots more beautiful, not less—Shin argues that “cracks,” or differences, in human relationships are the most freeing; they are where people can find common ground. Really accepting one’s own identity means becoming better suited to building bridges and understanding other people’s humanity. Such work involves listening, confessing faults, and sharing any tears that result.
The book is filled with difficult stories about people struggling to come to grips with their ethnic identities, particularly as they relate to faith. It shows preachers asking for forgiveness, people sharing their painful experiences, and others simply struggling to understand where to stand in the difficult arena of American racial awareness. These stories are presented as a means of driving more thoughtful conversations, and they are offered along with study guides and group exercises to help facilitate discussions.
The book’s second half forwards practical suggestions for how to live with this new understanding of ethnic identity; it focuses on developing skills to build new communities, including offering prophetic witness, intentional hospitality, and good listening.
Beyond Colorblind explores how religious communities can create spaces where ethnic identity is not just respected, but celebrated for the richness it offers.
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