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."
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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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.'"
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
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)