Book Review: Making the "Race Talk" Easier with "The Gospel in Color — For Kids"
5 min read
“I know many parents who fear the infamous “Sex Talk” (I know I do). But beyond that, I greatly fear the “Race Talk.”
Have you ever lied to a child? Or alternately, do you remember being lied to as a child? I know I do.
I can identify with both experiences. I am the father of two beautiful little girls — one is two years old and the other is three months old. There have been times when I have found myself parenting and realized that if someone were watching, they might say, like a lawyer in the courtroom, that I have been “leading the witness” — that witness being my child. As parents, we sometimes seek to manipulate our children into doing something that will benefit us or help them in the future.
I love my daughters and want them to succeed and flourish in the world we live. However, I know that because my children are ½ black, ¼ white, and ¼ Filipino — and girls — they will face an uphill battle to be valued by society the way that God values them as his image-bearers. It pains my heart that one day, I will have to tell them that because of the color of their skin, they will be judged, viewed, and treated differently than others.
I know many parents who fear the infamous “Sex Talk” (I know I do, and I pray for the wisdom to instruct my daughters rightly). But beyond that, I greatly fear the “Race Talk.”
Explaining the topic of race to any child seems impossible, and it’s deeply disturbing to me that I would should have to have that conversation in the first place. Even as a person who has been studying racism for years and preaching about it, I still feel like I’m not sure how to talk to my children about racism, and how our country and the church I’m a part of has been historically involved and complicit in it.
But reading The Gospel in Color — For Kids gave me such encouragement.
Shaping Kids With Care
The authors of this book understand exactly what a parent — and not just any parent, but one of color — may go through in having “The Talk,” seeking to communicate to his or her children about the pain, history, and sin of racism.
Kids are a blessing and a gift from God. Kids are precious lumps of clay that we as parents and people are called to help form and shape in the ways and knowledge of the Lord. Children develop and learn at an exponential rate, which means that if adults discipline them to hate people based on the color of their skin, their children will perpetuate that sin.
The Gospel in Color — For Kids is different from the companion book for adults in the angle in which the authors address racism. This book is not only descriptive in explaining what racism is, but it helps correct the false ideologies and beliefs that society — and we as parents — have made to try to teach our kids simply and clearly about complex issues.
The Problem With Color-blindness
For example, I can’t tell you how many times I have heard well-meaning and loving parents tell their child something which they mean for good, but which is so destructive, dangerous, and wrong. What statement am I referring to? The concept that God is “color-blind.”
The statement that God is colorblind might seem like a good response for combatting the idea of racial prejudice — but saying that God is colorblind is a lie. All of our sins have consequences. And this lie has massive negative effects on people of color. It makes people of color think that God does not truly see them as he made them.
But God made colors. God is the master architect who designed the beautiful and colorful canvas of the cosmos, both seen and unseen. God made the rainbow and filled it with many shades and hues of color.
Gentle Correction and Gospel Empowerment
As parents, we are laboring to instruct our kids rightly, and we all make mistakes and are figuring it out as we go. That’s why The Gospel in Color — For Kids shows us ways we might be wrong in how we instruct our children in issues of race (like the statement “God is color-blind”), but it doesn’t shame us. Of course, with social media today, everyone is an expert and shame is a primary tool for education. But the authors of this book do not berate us, but sit with us to gently correct areas of error and empower us with the truth of the gospel.
The Gospel in Color — For Kids is a tool that I deeply believe can help us as parents in molding our children like clay to the truth of what God says about race. American and world history has proved that segregation, lynching, and other racial injustices were intentional. Therefore, we and future generations must intentionally do away with the ramifications of those injustices in our precious children.
Pre-order "The Gospel in Color" Now
Jevon Washington (B.A. of Biblical & Theological Studies, Memphis Center for Urban & Theological Education/LBC; M.A. Missional Leadership, ReTrain; currently pursing a M.A. of Social Justice at Kilns College) is a church planter and lead pastor of Flourish Church Rainier Valley in Seattle, WA.