Witnessing Whiteness: Confronting White Supremacy in the American Church

ISBN : 9780190055813

Kristopher Norris
264 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Sep 2020
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In Witnessing Whiteness, Kristopher Norris explores the challenges that lie at the intersection of race, church, and politics in America and argues for a new ethics of responsibility to confront white supremacy. Norris provides in-depth analysisdescriptions of the ways whiteness, as a process of social/identity formation, is fueling racial division within American Christianity and the inadequacy of efforts at racial reconciliation to fully address the challenges posed by white supremacy poses. Seeking deeper theological reasons for racial injustice, he focuses on two of the most important thinkers in American religion of the past half century, Stanley Hauerwas and James Cone. Examining the current manifestations of racism in American churches, exploring the theological roots of white supremacy, and reflecting on the ways whiteness impacts even well-meaning, progressive white theologians, this book diagnoses the ways in which all of white theology and white Christian practice are implicated in white supremacy. By identifying the roots of white supremacy within the Christian church's theology and practice, it argues that the white church has a particular, and fundamental, responsibility to address it. Witnessing Whiteness uncovers this responsibility ethic at the convergence of two prominent streams in theological ethics: traditionalist witness theology and black liberationist theology. Employing their shared resources and attending to the criticisms liberation theology directs at traditionalism, it proposes concrete practices to challenge the white church's and white theology's complicity in white supremacy.


Part I. What Is Going On?
1. Racism at the End of White Christian America
2. The Theological Origins of White Supremacy
Part II. Who Is Christ For Us Today?
3. Witnessing White Theology
4. Narrating Black Theology
Part III. Where Do We Go From Here?
5. An Ethic of Responsibility
6. Remembrance, Repentance, Reparation

About the author: 

Kristopher Norris is Visiting Professor of Public Theology at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. He earned his PhD in Religious Studies at the University of Virginia and a Master of Divinity at Duke University. He is the author of numerous essays and articles in publications such as the Journal of Religious Ethics and the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics.

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