REVIEWS FROM THE REV: “Some of My Best Friends Are Black” by Tanner Colby.

“But God’s Holy Bible is a funny thing.  For a supposedly sacred, infallible text, it reads a lot like a Choose Your Own Adventure novel.  Just flip through and pick whichever story line suits your needs.  While the slaveholders built their economy on Leviticus, the slaves found hope in Exodus.”  p. 227

This is a book I didn’t know I needed to read, but I did.  While watching hotel-room t.v. last month, I stumbled upon an interview with the author.  I made a mental note to look for his book when I got home, and last week there it was, looking right at me on the “New Non-Fiction” shelf at the library.

The author’s story is not mine: he’s younger than I am and was raised in the deep South.  And yet, his story is mine or, I should say, he is telling our story as a nation with a deep and historic racial divide.  It would seem that I have spent so much time reading about our natural history (or our political history) that I have failed to find out just what it is we’ve been doing about racial equality in America.  Well, thanks to this remarkable book, I now know.

Listening to the author being interviewed, I thought this book would be more a chronicle of his own journey of discovery as he cultivated new friends who were black.  It is not (though I think it was good to know that the author embarked on such a journey while I was reading the book).  Instead, it is a clear-eyed chronicle of the ways we have used legislation to first marginalize blacks and then (at least in theory) integrate them into white society.

The book is a sobering testimony to the persistence of racial distrust on both sides of the black/white divide, and the terrible cost of unintended (well, some of the time) consequences of legislated “equality”.  I struggle to find the right description to get you to read this book.  I can say that my eyes were opened in a rather remarkable way.  This is a very humane book that pulls no punches, but neither does it recycle any of the standard catchphrases or accusations, except to unpack them in the clear light of day.

I feel like my own part in all of this has also been made clear to me in a way that offers me the opportunity to change it.  That is no small feat for an author.  The book is also written with a sure hand, good humor and just enough bite to make it stick.

I can’t recommend it enough.  It’ll make you a better American.

t.n.s.r. bob

The rev gives it four Dimetrodons out of four!

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