Book Review: God is Not a White Man by Chine McDonald
In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, there was a flurry of publications within Christian publishing exploring the themes of racial reconciliation. Church leaders grappled with the institutional legacy of the slave trade and were asked to listen to the voices of the black men and women within their congregations. Amongst these Chine McDonald's "God is Not a White Man" presented a compelling and personal viewpoint on her own experiences of racism and exclusion within the Church of England.
Its provocative title challenges readers to contemplate whiteness by delving into the Black experience (intentionally capitalised for reasons the author elucidates) in a society where privilege is determined by not just the colour of one's skin but also the gender one identifies as.
Melding historical and social insights with candid vulnerability, McDonald uses her own story as a backdrop to a discussion on the pervasive nature of "whiteness" as the benchmark against which everything is measured. Drawing on her background as a journalist, McDonald interweaves personal anecdotes with sometimes shocking historical facts and social commentary. She illustrates how whiteness has become synonymous with power and morality.
Raised within the church and faith she is critiquing, McDonald is honest about her own internalised biases and the effect extending her understanding of Imago Dei has had on her spirituality and self-worth.
This book then, is the perfect choice for our breakfast book club to read during Black History Month, especially as this year is focusing on the stories of black women. If you are intrigued, why not buy the book (available from your local Christian book store, online and on audible) and join us at 8 a.m. on 11th November 2023 in All Saints with Holy Trinity church? We meet over breakfast to discuss the book and share our reactions and insights.