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Antiracist Book Discussion

Our “How to be an Antiracist” (Dr. Ibram X. Kendi) book discussion starts the week of June 14th, led by Brent O’Neill, our Pastoral Intern.

We will discuss how the concepts from the book relate to our own experiences, beliefs, and communities, with the ultimate goal of challenging racism within, between, and around us.

This 6-week, 6-session event is free, open to the public, and offered via Zoom. Due to the number of people who have already signed up, we will have two sections: Mondays and Wednesdays, both at 7pm.

Connect with Brent through our Contact page. Please include your preferred day (Monday or Wednesday), and whether or not you’re also available on the other day (in case we have a ton of people on one day and need to move folks to the opposite group).

Books are not provided. Many retailers are temporarily sold out, but copies are still available in E-Book and Audiobook formats.

Reading Schedule

Week 1 – June 15 & 16
My Racist Introduction
1. Definitions
2. Dueling Consciousness

Week 2 – June 22 & 24
3. Power
4. Biology
5. Ethnicity

Week 3 – June 29, July 1
6. Body
7. Culture
8. Behavior


Week 4 – July 13, 15
9. Color
10. White
11. Black
12. Class

Week 5 – July 20, 22
13. Space
14. Gender
15. Sexuality

Week 6 – July 27, 29
16. Failure
17. Success
18. Survival

A description of the book

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America–but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. Instead of working with the policies and system we have in place, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it. 
In his memoir, Kendi weaves together an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science–including the story of his own awakening to antiracism–bringing it all together in a cogent, accessible form. He begins by helping us rethink our most deeply held, if implicit, beliefs and our most intimate personal relationships (including beliefs about race and IQ and interracial social relations) and reexamines the policies and larger social arrangements we support. How to Be an Antiracist promises to become an essential book for anyone who wants to go beyond an awareness of racism to the next step of contributing to the formation of a truly just and equitable society.

Further Information

CONTENT WARNING: This book is not a ‘Christian book’ and was not explicitly written for a Christian audience. It contains several profanities, including the N-word. Profanities are infrequent and used mostly in dialog (i.e., when the author recalls a conversation he had as a teenager). There are also descriptions of racism and how it overlaps with sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and violence.

NOTE FOR PARTICIPANTS OF COLOR (POC): Education of white participants will not be your responsibility, unless you would like to take on that task. You will not be expected to carry the conversation or to serve as ‘confessors’ for people confessing their own sin of racism. Our Pastoral Intern, Brent O’Neill, will take on these responsibilities so you can participate as you choose.
We will have breakout sessions with around 5-7 people for small group discussion, and Brent will ask POC members of our discussion if they would like to be in a POC-specific breakout session. Brent feels very passionately that this discussion must privilege the mental health of POC participants. If you have suggestions or other needs, please reach out to Brent. This will be an ongoing discussion.

NOTE FOR WHITE PARTICIPANTS: During our book discussion, we encourage all white participants to self-observe how defensiveness & white fragility may be preventing them from engaging with the group and the content. We hope to create an atmosphere where we can process this “inner curriculum” in a way that adds to the group. One way that you can prepare for this discussion is to start engaging with the topic of racism now. A resource list is below. Robin DiAngelo’s book and lecture are wonderful places to start.

NOTE FOR PARTICIPANTS FROM THE COMMUNITY: Church on Main is a worshipping community dedicated to interdenominational and interreligious work. As a faith-based organization, we will briefly open and close each session in prayer, and theological concepts will likely come up in the course of our discussion, although they will not be the focus. We will not expect or pressure you to participate in faith-based activities and conversations in ways that you are not comfortable with.

Further Educational Resources

– Podcast episode: Brené Brown interviews Ibram X. Kendi
– Article: The Delaware Coalition to Dismantle the New Jim Crow’s 6 legislative action priorities
– Article: “New racial data show Hispanic and black Delawareans hit hardest by coronavirus” by Sophia Schmidt
– Book: White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
– Video Lecture: “Dr. Robin DiAngelo discusses ‘White Fragility.'”
– Documentary: 13th by Ava DuVernay (also available on Netflix)
– Movie: Just Mercy
– Book: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
– Book: I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
– Podcast series: Codeswitch by NPR
– Book: The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
– List: The Anti-Racist Reading List
– Book: Stamped From The Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi
– Video Panel Discussion: Conversations on Race and Other Diversities: It’s Not Just About Black and White
– Video: The Urgency of Intersectionality by Kimberlé Crenshaw