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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2017 Daniel Hill (P)2018 Tantor

What listeners say about White Awake

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I'm not White

I read this as part of a book circle at my church. I am not White, so I found many of the points discussed to be obvious, and common sense; but in listening to the discussion at church (primarily White) I realized that some of these things are not obvious to White people. For that reason, I would recommend it to White people, with the caveat of following up with a person of color on points you think are ridiculous. I would also suggest, if you are reading this as a manual to "diversify your church"; that you consider racial equality is not achieved by having more folks of color in your church, but by being the environment they would feel welcome in, if they chose to visit. To many churches think they need more people of color, like POC are a commodity; if this is your church, and the reason you are reading this book-you need to spend some serious leadership time examining your motives.

11 people found this helpful

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Powerful Insights for White Christians

Daniel Hill has added a book that will provide significant impetus toward reducing the racial divide in America for any white person courageous enough to take his insights seriously. Thoughtful, compassionate, and compelling in its dissection of the problems that are delaying or stifling resolution of America’s racial divide.

6 people found this helpful

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Biblical intro to racial reconciliation

Hill doesn’t just speak from personal experience. He provides a firm scriptural foundation for a biblical response to “mourning with those who mourn” and “being united in Christ” for the purpose of fulfilling the two commands that are above all others, loving God with our whole heart, soul & might and loving others above ourselves.

3 people found this helpful

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Underlying Christian message not clear

This book sounded great but no where in the description that I saw on Amazon did it say it was from a Christian perspective. I wish I could return it. Wasted $20.

8 people found this helpful

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Loved this book!

This book is a faith-based, compassionate look at the white experience with race. I am recommending it to all of my white friends who want to go in this journey.

1 person found this helpful

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Hard to find common ground

The author attempts to repackage critical race theory in a Christian format. I listen to an open mind because I truly want to be able to connect with people who subscribe to CRT, but it was very difficult to find common ground. We can all agree on the individual packs of racism, but where we go off the rails is in the categorization of our broken systems as inherently racist. If the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. Forget the overwhelming idea that when you go looking for grievances you will find them. I would much prefer NT Wrights description of diversified unity, where we start with her unity in Christ and then celebrate the wonderful differences in the way God has made each of us. Telling people of color that they are victims who can never escape their reality only serves to undermine reconciliation, and to further disadvantage them.

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Great thought but meh

I thought this was going to be helpful in understanding other folks and how we could come together. Instead i was constantly shaking my head as the author bent Jesus into odd shapes to make his points. For me anyone who is willing to pull Jesus or scripture so far out of context isn't credible. They aren't credible even when they have good intentions.They are less credible when they manipulate things to argue their own points, even when the idea is noble. I think that is the case here. Maybe I'm still asleep or something but I felt like this guy would use Jesus to sell you a time share.

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worth multiple reads

I plan to reread this book several times to truly digest it's content. I believe this information will be critical to my personal growth.

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Being White in America.

When I was thinking about graduate school I made a conscious decision that I wanted to be challenged in my faith and culture and that I did not want to go to an Evangelical seminary. That was helped by the fact that there were very few options for the type of program that I was looking for. The University of Chicago was one of about six schools in the country that had a program for a dual masters with a Masters of Divinity and a Masters of Social Work (officially it is a Masters in Social Service Administration, but it is an MSW equivalent).

That decision was made in large part because I had an undergrad degree from Wheaton College. I grew up in a solidly Evangelical wing of the Baptist world and I was comfortable in my theology. I didn’t need more Evangelical theology and experience, I needed to experience the church beyond the Evangelical world.

Going to University of Chicago was a very good decision. I know I could get more out of my education if I were more mature with more life experience. But at the time, being exposed to other sincere Christians that were Catholic, mainline, and even one classmate that was a non-theistic Unitarian expanded my view of the church.

I still clearly remember a class while I was in the School of Social Work on race and ethnicity. The professor talked about how we often do not understand our culture until we are separated from it. If you are from the South and move to the Northeast, you will understand parts of what it means to be Southern that you did not understand before. This similar to getting married. What you assumed was true of every family, becomes clear that it was unique about your family.

I did not at the time think of the lesson primarily through the lens of Whiteness, but through the lens of my Evangelical-ness. While at Wheaton I was not completely comfortable describing myself as Evangelical because of some of the nuances of what that meant in that location. But at University of Chicago I claimed Evangelical much more clearly because it was a unique category. I wanted to be Evangelical there because of the many misunderstandings of what Evangelical meant to my non-Evangelical classmates. All groups have nuance and often those outside the group only see the stereotype, not the nuance.

White Away: An Honest Look at What it Means to be White is a very helpful look at the category of whiteness as a Christian. Part of the reality of the United States is that most White people are mostly around White people. We may have one friend that is a person of color. But most of us do not have a wide network of non-white friends and business associates. Most White people live in communities that are predominately White and go to churches that are predominately White and work at jobs with predominately White co-workers.

That is much less likely to be true of non-White Americans because of simple demographics. Most non-White Americans have to interact with people of different cultures, races and ethnicities on a daily basis and therefore have a much better idea of other cultures and racial groups than what most White people have of non-White cultures and racial groups.

This is a very long introduction to White Awake, but I wrote it to say that I am not unacquainted with the concept of exploring my racial identity. I have spent a significant amount of time over the past year reading other books about racial conflict or history of that conflict in the United States. But still, White Awake is a very helpful book. There are a few ‘dumb White guy’ examples that I think might be off putting to some. But the larger context is that Daniel Hill has been attempting to come to terms with what it means to be a White Christian church leader in a multi-cultural world for a while. It is a task that is not ever completely finished because our culture and position in that culture is continually shifting.

I think White Awake is helpful in the context of two additional books. One is also by Intervarsity and was released last spring, The Myth of Equality by Ken Wytsma. Wytsma focuses on the concept of White Privilege and gives mini-history of how we came to be in this place with commentary about theology and church culture and how those can actually make the problems of White privilege worse.

The second complementary book is The End of White Christian America by Robert Jones. This is a book primarily about demographics. Jones is the head of a polling firm that focuses on religious polling. There are lots of numbers, but the short version is that White (Protestant) America used to be demographically and culturally dominant. It will remain culturally dominant for a while longer, but demographically, it is no longer dominant. In 2014, more non-White babies were born in the US than White babies. My suburban county is still predominately White, but the schools shifted to a slightly larger non-White population about 2 years ago. That shift is happening throughout the United States, even though many communities will continue to be predominately White for decades to come. Yesterday new polling from Jones’ company showed that White Christians are now 43% (down from 70% in the 1970s). I believe, and much of Jones’ book is about, the conflict that is generated because White Christians (particularly Protestants) are no longer as dominant.

What is important about White Awake is that Hill focuses on separating being White (who we were created to be) from normalizing White culture as dominant. Being White is not a sin or something to be repented from. But the culture of Whiteness as dominant and demeaning of other cultures is sinful. We can only come to understand the difference between the two as we come to understand White culture in relationship to other cultures in the US. We can learn a lot about this from books, movies, tv and other arts. But actually hearing it from people we are in relationship to is essentially to moving from a theoretical idea of understanding Whiteness to a repentant attitude of understanding how we are complicit (even when we do not want to be) in a culture that overvalues Whiteness and harms non-White people.

White Awake is a book I would like to go through with a small group. I have done a lot of background reading and processing prior to reading it, but it still challenged me significantly. I am sure a second reading and discussion would challenge me even more.

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Wake up!

As the books title indicates, Daniel led me to a better understanding of being white and how to overcome my white limitations.