I see this most prevalent in theology. White theologians are held as the standard of theological thought while theologians of color are seen as contextual. This bothered me throughout college, but I didn't know how to articulate my concerns. I also, admittedly, was unaware of just how many theological works have been produced by people of color.
Recently, I was inspired by some conversations I had on twitter to get back into reading theology. The discipline of reading, for me, is similar to how many people treat the discipline of staying physically fit. I will read a lot over a short period of time, then go a long period of time without reading at all. After reflecting on those twitter conversations I made the decision to only read books by Black theologians for the next year.
I have decided to embark on this journey for three reasons. The first reason is that I am tired of the fact that in an ever-browning society and Church whiteness is still being normalized. One specific example of this is InterVaristy Press's Fall 2014 catalog which will not include a single author of color (read more about this here).
sankofa has always been important to me.
History shapes identity. Therefore, I find it absolutely necessary for Black Christians to know and understand how Black folk have historically understood their Christian faith, interpreted scripture, and how the Black church has influenced the Black community. If we do not lift up our own work, our own thinkers, and our own traditions we are stuck in this world with a spiritual identity and a thought process that is not ours and that is ultimately not helpful given the conditions of our community within American society.
I have started the process of compiling resources. I will most likely review the books after I finish reading them (despite the age of some of them). I am also open to recommendations.
Here is the list (so far):
The Black Christ by Kelly Brown Douglas
In a Blaze of Glory: Womanist Spirituality as Social Witness by Emilie Townes
God of the Oppressed by James Cone
Black Awareness: a Theology of Hope by Major J. Jones
Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk by Delores Williams
Power in the Blood? The Cross in the African American Experience by JoAnne Marie Terrell
The Search for Common Ground by Howard Thurman
Sexuality and the Black Church: A Womanist Perspective by Kelly Brown Douglas
Heart & Head: Black Theology--Past, Present, and Future by Dwight Hopkins
Significations: Signs, Symbols, and Images in the Interpretation of Religion by Charles H. Long