Being White: Finding Our Place in a Multiethnic World, By Paula Harris and Doug Schaupp

Being White

Finding Our Place in a Multiethnic World

by Paula Harris and Doug Schaupp

Being White
  • Length: 192 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: August 06, 2004
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 3247
  • ISBN: 9780830832477

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What does it mean to be white?

When you encounter people from other races or ethnicities, you may become suddenly aware that being white means something. Those from other backgrounds may respond to you differently or suspiciously. You may feel ambivalence about your identity as a white person. Or you may feel frustrated when a friend of another ethnicity shakes his head and says, "You just don't get it because you're white."

  • So, what does it mean to be white?
  • How can you overcome the mistakes of the past?
  • How can you build authentic relationships with people from other races and ethnicities?

In this groundbreaking book, Paula Harris and Doug Schaupp present a Christian model of what it means to be white. They wrestle through the history of how those in the majority have oppressed minority cultures, but they also show that whites also have a cultural and ethnic identity with its own distinctive traits and contributions. They demonstrate that white people have a key role to play in the work of racial reconciliation and the forging of a more just society.

Filled with real-life stories, life-transforming insights and practical guidance, this book is for you if you are aware of racial inequality but have wondered, So what do I do? Discover here a vision for just communities where whites can partner with and empower those of other ethnicities.

"God led me into a life of displacement about twenty years ago when, together with my family, I came to the U.S.A. for graduate studies. I wish this book had been written two decades ago. I would have recommended it to all my white friends among whom I have lived and worked since then. Being White is both disarming and empowering. Paula and Doug have expounded the Scriptures and applied them to the issues of racial injustice and racial reconciliation in a way that is compelling. They have placed their lives in the hands of the crucified One and showed us that in the cross we can all be reconciled."

David Zac Niringiye, Regional Director, Church Missions Society, Africa

"If we are going to make a difference in the mosaic of the world we live in, we must value and move toward culture encounters. Doug and Paula's insightful book is a wonderful guide."

Shane Deike, National Campus Director, Ethnic Student Ministries, Campus Crusade for Christ

"I am delighted to see how Paula Harris and Doug Schaupp have written a book that presents the white person's journey into a multiethnic community. This book helps all people understand that every group has its own journey into another culture. It presents the perspective that God is working, for it is his heavenly vision, to deliver us from our monocultural world and mold us into multiethnic people."

Diana E. Barrera, Executive Director, Comhina

"Not only does Doug have a brilliant mind but a profoundly spiritual heart as well. This book captures the essence of God's kingdom and his call to each of us to live 'displaced' lives."

Mark Pickerill, Senior Pastor, Christian Assembly Church, Los Angeles, California

"Being White is a book that everyone should read. It's a book that whites in particular need to read to have a better understanding of the struggles of minorities."

John Perkins, Founder, John Perkins Foundation

"As I read Paula and Doug's thoughtful and provocative book I discerned the presence of yet a third voice, for the very Spirit of God had begun to speak to me through their personal and deep insights. Few Christian 'issue books' integrate as beautifully and thoughtfully the contemporary with the biblical--and the tightly woven movement back and forth was seamless. Paul and Doug live the reality of the book in their personal, family, work and church realms, and this carries the ring of authenticity. I needed this book."

William D. Taylor, Executive Director, Missions Commission, World Evangelical Alliance

"In their book Being White, Harris and Schaupp have done a superb job of integrating creatively their personal stories with scriptural truths to convey very powerful lessons. This is a practical 'how to' book which should be not only read but seriously studied by individuals, small groups, churches and other gatherings. It deals not only with the pain of the past and challenges of the present but also provides hope and encouragement for the future for all--folks from the powerful and powerless, haves and have-nots, and majority and minority communities. It provides very thoughtful practical suggestions and steps for the journey of ethnic reconciliation. I recommend it to all fellow travelers who, even though at different stages in their journey, are interested in following Christ's way to bring shalom into human relations in a fragmented world."

Samuel Barkat, Provost, Nyack College, Former Vice President and Director of Multiethnic Ministries, InterVarsity Chrisitian Fellowship

"Paula Harris is a woman of God, and this is a book after God's own heart. It is a book I needed to read personally. People who need to read this may never do so if you and I don't give them a copy. So let's be proactive about this incredibly important book."

George Verwer, Founder, Operation Mobilization

"Paula Harris and Doug Schaupp are onto something big. Their personal experiences in cross-ethnic relationships have led them to discover a major paradigm for how God shapes people to understand and experience others who differ from themselves racially and culturally. They have identified five stages involved in the important process of learning to adjust to others in our multiethnic world. Their concept of displacement and how it works is worth the price of the book. I am going to highly recommend this book to all my fellow professors who are teaching any kind of course dealing with crosscultural relationships. This book is a winner. God has shaped me personally as I interacted with it."

J. Robert Clinton, Professor of Leadership, School of World Mission, Fuller Theological Seminary

"Building relationships across ethnic and cultural lines is hard work. And there's not much help out there if you're a part of the white majority and can consciously or unconsciously choose not to work at it at all. This is a really fine book: truthful, humble, practical, authentic, challenging and, above all, biblically faithful. I couldn't put it down. And I couldn't walk away unchanged either. I'm not only going to recommend this book to others, I'm going to come back to it often."

Stephen A. Hayner, Professor of Evangelism, Columbia Theological Seminary

"We desperately need this book. Paula and Doug have done the improbable: they've issued a call to whites that is not only comprehensive and specific and scriptural, it is utterly full of both grace and truth. I am grateful for this book both as a missionary who will use it often on college campuses and as a white man wanting to find my place in this wonderfully multiethnic world."

Don Everts, Author of Jesus with Dirty Feet and The Smell of Sin

"Paula's and Doug's personal stories and practical illustrations challenge us without overwhelming us with unachievable ideals. They advocate humility but never leave us feeling that we have nothing to offer. They exhort us to be responsible in racial healing without burying us in paralyzing guilt. The authors have presented us white folks with a wonderful resource to help us discover where we 'fit' and how we can grow in the changing ethnic context of our lives."

Paul Borthwick, Senior Consultant, Development Associates International

"It has been said that white people are no more conscious of white privilege than fish are conscious of water. It just is! Like fish, we swim in privilege, take it for granted and live in denial of our racial legacy. Being White will help the reader understand the nature of this water and its impact upon us. Harris and Schaupp's sharp insights ring of authenticity that comes only from 'swimming against the current' in their everyday life. This is a must-read for every white person that makes the naïve claim of being 'color blind.'"

Glen Kehrein, Author of Breaking Down Walls, Director of Circle Urban Ministries

"Being White provides testimony that is as challenging as it is inspiring. Unlike the cover illustration that shows a white jigsaw piece at a safe distance from the other interlocking colored pieces, Paula Harris and Douglas Schaupp have placed themselves right in the picture. They each have experience of a crosscultural marriage, and they write from their involvement with people of many ethnicities with candor, humility and discernment. They are prepared to make themselves vulnerable in telling the stories of their struggles and of the rewards of seeing understanding grow, barriers tumble and trust building to the point that relationships are mutually enriching. They challenge their readers to share their experience."

Eddie Gibbs, Professor of Church Growth, School of World Mission, Fuller Theological Seminary

"To be white means being trusted in a grocery store. It means getting a loan easier. It means understanding the rationale behind a school test. Doug and Paula show us how to renounce unfair advantage. To align with, advocate for and access resources for others. To follow Jesus."

Miriam Adeney, associate professor of global and urban ministries, Seattle Pacific University

"In Being White, we are given a framework with practical steps to develop white identity in a multiethnic world. This book overflows with great insights from God's Word, highlighting Jesus' work in crosscultural relationships and ministry. Whether stumbler or seeker, may we all experience the integrated kingdom identity Harris and Schaupp enjoy, and not the white guilt-trap so many fall into."

John Teter, Director, More Than Conquerors, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and author of Get the Word Out and coauthor of Jesus the Hip-Hop Prophets

"An excellent book on what remains our nation's greatest failure. What a tragedy white evangelicals did not face their sin fifty years ago. What a joy that we are finally hearing God's call to reject racism."

Ronald J. Sider, President, Evangelicals for Social Action

"This book is packed with the challenges facing white people who want to become part of racial reconciliation in this country. Paula Harris and Doug Schaupp explain that for whites, it is usually just too uncomfortable to deal with our own privilege and the entrenched prejudice of American society. But they also tell how they faced the pain of becoming an advocate for change and what God taught them through the experience. Don't let the challenge discourage you. Don't put the book down."

Alec Hill, President, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

"I'll use Being White because of its honesty, thoughtfulness and practical help in equipping a generation of Euro-American leaders to take their place in pursuit of racial solidarity."

Randy White, IVCF National Coordinator for Urban Projects

"This book is an important encounter for any person who wants to be a part of God's global redemptive mission. The feel of the book is very personal, and its context is racism in the U.S. However, it is really a book about personal participation in God's crosscultural mission in a multicultural world. Flowing from their passionate commitment to Christ and to people different than themselves, the authors call all who would be ambassadors of Christ to live out God's passion for justice in a world defined by power allied with race or color."

Paul McKaughan, President, Evangelical Fellowship of Mission Agencies

"I . . . recommend this title especially for individuals deemed white who desire to cross the racial divide and pursue the unity of the human race. Indeed, this book is filled with real-life stories, transformative insights, and practical guidance."

Bradford McCall, Mission Studies, 2009


Why This Book? A Road Map for the Journey (Paula and Doug)

Stage 1: Encounter
1. Stumbling into Encounter (Doug)
2. Giving Your Heart Away (Paula)
Making Encounter Real

Stage 2: Friendship
3. Making and Keeping Friendships with People of Color (Paula)
4. Going Deeper in Crosscultural Friendships: Conflict Resolution Strengthens the Bond (Doug)
Making Friendship Real

Stage 3: Displacement
5. What Does the Bible Say About Displacement? (Doug)
6. Can White Boys Hoop? (Doug)
7. The Point of No Return (Doug)
8. Being Colorblind: Kindergarten or College? (Doug)
Making Displacement Real

Stage 4: White Identity
9. Living in the Truth About White History and Racism (Paula)
10. Open the Parachute (Doug)
11. Who Are We? Who Do They Say We Are? (Paula)
Making Antiracism Real
12. Can God Redeem White Culture? (Doug)
13. Finding Our White Identity in Christ (Doug)
Making White Identity Real

Stage 5: The Just Community
14. I Want a Friend, She Wants Justice (Paula)
15. Responsibility Is Not a Four-Letter Word (Doug)
16. Betraying White Privilege, Plundering White Power (Paula)
Making the Just Community Real

Conclusion: The Way, the Truth and the Life (Paula)


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Paula Harris

Paula A. Harris is currently serving as the priest at Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Mukwonago, Wisconsin. She also speaks and writes on missiology, missionary recruitment, postmodernism, and racial issues. She is the author of "Listening to Mission that Rises from Community and Spirituality" in Global Missiology for the 21st Century and is a contributor to the book Postmission.

Doug Schaupp

Doug Schaupp is associate director of evangelism for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. A writer and teacher, he focuses on racial issues, postmodern evangelism, and leadership development. He is based in Los Angeles and graduated from Fuller Seminary. He is the coauthor of I Once Was Lost and Being White.