White Awake: An Honest Look at What It Means to Be White, By Daniel Hill
White Awake
  • Length: 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: September 19, 2017
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 4393
  • ISBN: 9780830843930

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Daniel Hill will never forget the day he heard these words:

"Daniel, you may be white, but don't let that lull you into thinking you have no culture. White culture is very real. In fact, when white culture comes in contact with other cultures, it almost always wins. So it would be a really good idea for you to learn about your culture."

Confused and unsettled by this encounter, Hill began a journey of understanding his own white identity. Today he is an active participant in addressing and confronting racial and systemic injustices. And in this compelling and timely book, he shows you the seven stages to expect on your own path to cultural awakening.

It's crucial to understand both personal and social realities in the areas of race, culture, and identity. This book will give you a new perspective on being white and also empower you to be an agent of reconciliation in our increasingly diverse and divided world.

"White Awake is a profoundly pastoral book with serious implications for the ecclesial, social, and political life of our nation. At a time when conversations about race seem increasingly cross-pressured by various interests and motivations, readers can trust Daniel Hill to tell them the truth about racism and white supremacy. Hill does not use these fraught issues to manipulate, but rather to help his readers see more clearly. If Christians read and consider this book carefully, it will help them. It helped me. I'm grateful to Daniel for writing White Awake."

Michael Wear, author of Reclaiming Hope

"Daniel Hill's personal and deep dive into whiteness, reconciliation, and the dividing lines in our social matrix of race is needed like never before. At a time of ongoing racial weariness and colorblind responses, I'm so grateful for this resource. Allow the transparency and courage of this book to lead you into the needed work of unity, liberation, and justice."

Efrem Smith, author of Killing Us Softly and The Post-Black and Post-White Church

"White Awake is at once personal, practical, and provocative. Well conceived, researched, and written, this timely book provides a detailed consideration of cultural identity and its formation from which everyone can benefit—particularly those of us who are white and willing to engage the topic not only for our own benefit but, more significantly, for the sake of the gospel, as ambassadors of Christ and ministers of reconciliation in an increasingly diverse society. Indeed, it is long past time for us to reflect deeply and responsibly on race, racialization, and reconciliation. With refreshing honesty and only the best of intentions, Daniel has provided us with a means to do just that."

Mark DeYmaz, founding pastor of Mosaic Church, author of Building a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church

"Rarely have I run across a book written with more humility than what Daniel Hill accomplishes in White Awake. I was surprised from the first chapter all the way through the end, not with Daniel's intellectual grasp of the topic (although it's incredibly strong), but with his ability to walk circumspectly and see himself as the primary student in his story. White Awake offers . . . a practical and clear path for others to navigate the experience, disorientation, and ultimate awakening that comes with deep reflection on white racial identity. This book has rightfully earned a place on my bookshelf and in my list of recommended books—I'm confident it will earn a similar spot in yours as well."

Ken Wytsma, founder of The Justice Conference, author of The Myth of Equality and Create vs. Copy

"Daniel Hill sought me out as a mentor over two decades ago, and it has been a joy to watch the progress of him and his church. Now, in White Awake, he shares lessons learned on his journey of following Jesus into the ministry of reconciliation. As Christians in this day and age, we need to all think critically and closely examine the teachings of Scripture. In this book, you will find fresh thinking around the critical topic of race, and I would encourage every Christian to read it."

John M. Perkins, author, cofounder of the Christian Community Development Association

"In White Awake, Rev. Dr. Daniel Hill divulges his most intimate experiences of whiteness and how white privilege impacts our society. He thoughtfully uncovers cultural identity, social constructions of race, and colorblindness in a manner that is both provoking and enlightening on the pressing social reality for people of color. Hill offers seven stages to a ministry of reconciliation as he invites us to wander away from our comfort zones and challenge us to become informed new beings. White Awake is a crucial book for our time, as the social and political landscape progresses into torrential territories. This book is challenging, provocative, and significant, and I strongly recommend it."

Grace Ji-Sun Kim, associate professor of theology, Earlham School of Religion, author of several books, including Embracing the Other and Mother Daughter Speak

"Daniel Hill has been my friend for almost two decades, and with each passing year, I learn more from him and admire him more. His passion, intelligence, and depth are gifts to the community he pastors and to the city of Chicago, and this book is a wise and helpful guide for all of us who want to learn more about both the theology and practice of reconciliation in America today."

Shauna Niequist, New York Times–bestselling author of Present Over Perfect

"For about two decades, Daniel Hill has been wrestling with what it means to be a white man in America and a white pastor in the city of Chicago. He is fearlessly curious and inquisitive. When things get uncomfortable, he leans in. This book is Daniel's invitation to lean in to the current moment and join the movement for racial justice—lest we discover a generation from now that we slept through a revolution."

Shane Claiborne, author and activist

"In White Awake, Daniel Hill humbly and insightfully shares his personal journey of understanding race and privilege. He provides a practical and challenging look at the blinders and barriers that hinder racial reconciliation and our ability to advocate for equity and justice for all. I am grateful for this resource that helped me better understand where I am in my own journey and how I can more effectively challenge myself and my church to be active participants in furthering the Jesus mission of reconciliation and restoration."

Dave Ferguson, lead pastor, Community Christian Church, lead visionary, NewThing

"Many evangelicals of color have grown weary of ringing the bell and issuing the clarion call for racial justice. While we do not look for white evangelicals to legitimize or affirm our perspective, it's nice on occasion to know that there are 'woke' white evangelicals out there. It's nice to know that these efforts have not been in vain. Daniel Hill has been my friend and ally for many years. In this book, you will have the chance to hear his story and heart—and learn from a learner."

Soong-Chan Rah, Milton B. Engebretson Associate Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism, North Park Theological Seminary, author of The Next Evangelicalism and Prophetic Lament

"Have you ever been awakened to a new reality? In White Awake, my friend Daniel Hill bravely reimagines St. Paul's call to awake from slumber. Hill's confession is a courageous call for Christians to respond faithfully to discipleship's demands, beyond guilt and shame, toward racial justice, reconciliation, and action. His journey will doubtlessly awaken others!"

Gabriel Salguero, president, National Latino Evangelical Coalition

"We are waking up to the reality that the construct of race that elevates whiteness as superior is destroying us all, regardless of ethnicity. White Awake helps us slay this giant and regain the hope that is found in Christ to see all people as magnificently created in the image of God. Thank you, Daniel, for your courage and for writing this book."

Noel Castellanos, president of the Christian Community Development Association, author of Where the Cross Meets the Street

"White Awake is a call to tell the truth. It is a call to follow Jesus. It is a call to find our deepest sense of identity in Christ, but also to realize that those who are white can't get there without breaking free of the distorted sense of identity they have internalized from the narrative of racial difference. . . . As you encounter Daniel's story of wrestling with his own ethnic identity, I hope that his honest reflections create a safe environment for others to embark on a similar path. For those who take the journey, this book has the potential to change hearts and minds and help Christians reclaim a message of reconciliation that repairs our interracial relationships and the structures that mediate those relationships. Let the awakening to racial and social healing begin!"

—from the foreword by Brenda Salter McNeil

"White Awake is a must read for anyone serious about healing racial division in our country and our churches. Daniel Hill is a gift to the body of Christ. His work is a riveting and refreshing appeal to people of all nations to become white awake!"

Tyshawn Gardner, Presbyterion: Covenant Seminary Review, 44/2 (Fall 2018)

"White Awake is a much-needed starting place for conversations about racism and the system of sin that is white superiority."

Mbherald.com, August 21, 2017


Foreword by Brenda Salter McNeil
1. The Day I Discovered My World Was White
2. Flying Blind
3. What Is Cultural Identity?
4. Encounter
5. Denial
6. Disorientation
7. Shame
8. Self-Righteousness
9. Awakening
10. Active Participation


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Daniel Hill

Daniel Hill is the founding and senior pastor of River City Community Church, a vibrant, multiethnic church in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago. He is the author of 10:10: Life to the Fullest. Prior to starting River City, Daniel worked in the business world before serving five years on the staff of Willow Creek Community Church in the Chicago suburbs. He has a business degree from Purdue University, an MA in theology from Moody Bible Institute, a certificate in church-based community and economic development from Harvard Divinity School, and a DMin from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is married to Elizabeth, who is a professor of psychology, and they are the proud parents of two children.