Contesting Post-RacialismConflicted Churches in the United States and South Africa

Contesting Post-RacialismConflicted Churches in the United States and South Africa

R. Drew Smith, William Ackah, Anthony G. Reddie, and Rothney S. Tshaka

Print publication date: 2016

ISBN: 9781628462005

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi


This volume engages post-racial ideas in both their limitations and promise, while looking specifically at the extent to which contemporary church responses to race-consciousness and post-racial-consciousness enable churches to advance an accurate public accounting of the social implications of race. Contributors examine Christian institutional and intellectual frameworks within the U.S. and South Africa, focusing mainly on post-movement contexts within the two countries—meaning essentially since 1968 in the U.S. and since 1994 in South Africa. Central to the inquiry is whether churches operate from analytical frameworks, leadership approaches, and programmatic emphases that realistically and usefully grapple with race. Overall, the volume provides little support for the idea that a post-racial era has dawned, or soon will, within the U.S. and South Africa. The volume does lend support, however, to calls for liberating persons and institutions from imprisoning racial constructions, whether imposed from outside one’s group or from inside, while wrestling with the tensions between racially-grounded approaches that account for black suffering and racially-transcending approaches that point (theologically and anthropologically) beyond the socially-constructed self.

Table of Contents


R. Drew Smith

I. Periodizing the Discourse on Black Christianity and Race

II. Race, Social Divisions, and Restructured Ecclesial Spaces

III. Religious Cultural Impairments in Assessing Racism’s Social Costs

IV. Theology and (Re)Vitalized Race Consciousness

Collisions between Racism and the Truth of the Cross

Leah Gaskin Fitchue Ebony Joy Fitchue

V Concluding Thoughts

End Matter