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Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God

4.48  ·  Rating details ·  333 ratings  ·  48 reviews
On the Sunday morning after the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s killer, black preachers across America addressed the questions his death raised for their communities: “Where is the justice of God? What are we to hope for?”

In this timely and compelling book, Kelly Brown Douglas examines the myths and narratives underlying a “stand-your-ground” culture, taking seriously the so
Paperback, 1st, 240 pages
Published May 2015 by Orbis Books
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Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this book with my church's Pastor's Study. Needless to say this book is not for the faint of heart. As an African American women I strongly identified with the author in her search for meaning and a meaningful outcome following the murderers of unarmed black people. While there is no conclusive ending, reading this book has enlightened me to just how deeply white supremacist views are ingrained in our political and economic systems and encourages me to continue to fight for justice knowin ...more
David Abell
Dec 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as a result of reading my alumni magazine from Denison University for December 2015, which had an article about the author, an alumna. She’s a feminist black advocate, with a divinity degree from Union (she’s an Episcopal priest), currently a professor at Goucher College. I had previously read Between the world and me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and become familiar with the Reconciliation Project at the Episcopal Cathedral in Providence (and it’s many antecedents), and had become intr ...more
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I found this book in a search for female theologians, and it seemed appropriate to the times we are living in. The first part of the book is a review of history that demonstrates how black men are have become viewed as criminal. It was a pretty detailed review of historical writings. While I disagreed with some of her interpretations of writings, it was thorough and has given me a new perspective on some of those historical events. Even though I wasn't in complete agreement with her historical i ...more
David Krueger
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Listen to my podcast interview with the author at: ...more
A moving, educational, and insightful reflection on colonial (stand your ground/white supremacist) culture, Black faith, and the separation between imperial christianity supporting white supremacist culture and liberating christianity and an understanding of God that calls us to freedom and justice. Recommended for individual, small group, and congregational study.
Rose Schrott
Dec 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I think the one word I would use to describe this book is profound. Starting with the roots and philosophy of our America’s founders (what Douglas calls the Anglo Saxon myth of exceptionalism), this book traces the deep veins of racism throughout the arc of American history to the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012 (and others like him).
This book marries history with theological reflection with personal narrative as Douglas, a priest, mother, and black woman, reads herself into our countries histor
McKenzie Watson-Fore
Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is a powerhouse, essential reading for anyone seeking to learn more about American whiteness and the justifications we've created to sustain the centuries-long Manifest Destiny war on Black and Native bodies perceived as 'in the way' of Anglo-Saxon exceptionalism.

Just days before starting this book, I was talking to a friend on the phone and we realized neither of us really knew what 'Anglo-Saxon' meant. It has something to do with whiteness, but what exactly? Kelly Brown Douglas explo
Philip Yoder
Kelly Brown Douglas does an excellent job at laying out the history of violence against African Americans using George Zimmerman's murdering of Trayvon Martin and the "Stand your Ground" ruling that allowed Zimmerman to get away with it. It was very compelling and supplied me with language to talk about systemic racial violence. ...more
Jun 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Everyone should read this book, but ESPECIALLY the privileged white. The perfect mix of academia and personal story.
Jane Anderson
Oct 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely one of the most powerful books I've read this year. ...more
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
Excellent. This book is that wonderful combination of tightly argued and highly readable. I came to this book hoping for a better, theological understanding of movement for black lives in the US, and Kelly Brown Douglas delivers this in spades. Inspiring and moving. An important book.
John Richards
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not always the biggest KBD fan when it comes to Christology, but the way she walks through the history of Angl0-Saxon exceptionalism and its impact on U.S. culture makes this well worth the read. From Tacitus' Germania to Reagan's War on Drugs, KBD points out the ideology that continues to haunt our nation—a racist ideology of "whiteness" in our political, social, and cultural dealings. Great read in that regard. Would commend it to anyone trying to figure out how we've gotten where we are in Am ...more
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This work by Reverend Dr. Douglas is exactly what Christianity needs right now. She names the American sin of white supremacy with great accuracy, clarity, and specificity. This books is an excellent analysis of the insidious nature of the myth of racial superiority and the real nature of God and God's vision for the world. A must read for white congregations in the modern, Stand Your Ground culture. ...more
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
This book explores the Stand Your Ground culture that exists in the U.S. - how it began and why it continues. But it also delves into black faith and the meaning of God to the African American community in a Stand Your Ground Culture.

It made me take a long hard look at what deep cultural biases I might have and made me vow to change them.
Margaret D'Anieri
This book is a must read, period. While her style is a bit labored and repetitive in places, the scholarship and theology and history provides a crucial understanding of why our post-racial nation is anything but, and her personal reflections are heart-rending. I've heard her speak twice, and if you can find her on a podcast or interview, do that if you don't want to read the book. ...more
Dwight Davis
Jul 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A vitally important book examining stand your ground culture. Features a wide-ranging analysis of Anglo-Saxon Exceptionalism from Tacitus all the way through the lynching of Trayvon Martin. Necessary reading.
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theological
This is a great book about using the black church as a way to combat adversity. Offers great solutions for tacking the problems of white supremacy within Christian theology. Also, I learned so much about the impact that stand your ground culture has on modern day society.
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book by Kelly Brown Douglas that I have read, and she has shot up to become one of my favorite writers. I will use a section of this book in my university class on religions of the world. She does an effective job of showing the connectedness of the racist violence that we see today with the origins of our nation and society.

Additionally, Douglas is a good writer; therefore, even if you are not a scholar the book is not an overly difficult read. Of course, it is a work of hist
K Kriesel
Oct 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reference, religion, race
If you want to understand:
- why white Christians* support the Trump administration;
- why white Christians support the NRA, corrupt police and military, and militias;
- why white Christians deny climate change and environmental preservation efforts altogether;
- why white Christians pay lip service to Martin Luther King Jr. on his day while denigrating Black people year-round;
- why white Christians denigrate refugees, people who don't speak English, and immigrants of color;
- why white Christians cl
Reid Belew
Nov 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In both loosely-defined book genres this book falls into: race and theology—I can’t think of many examples of either genre that are better than this book, and even with my limited reading of race-specific theology, I’d go so far as to say no book I’ve read is better than this one.

Kelly Brown Douglas has done what few can: perfectly woven history, theology, and social justice together where the reader cannot discern where one begins and the other begins, which I believe is how real life should b
Kevin Harrington-Bain
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tops
Read this book for my MDiv work and I don't know that I'll read a more formative or significant book in the rest of my program. Douglas's approach in outlining the historical factors and contributors to American exceptionalism and the Anglo-Saxon myth as they built up a stand-your-ground culture, followed by theological responses as informed by black Christian traditions accomplishes not only an impressive and thought-provoking profile of racism in America and Christianity, but also a sense of u ...more
Abby Smith
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theory, nonfiction, bipoc
So clearly written. Douglas builds and builds, backing each new concept with thorough evidence, never failing to bring it straight back to the point: that Stand Your Ground culture, the force that perpetuates the legalized murder of countless black lives across this country, is rooted in Anglo Saxon exceptionalism. This racist belief system is grounded in ancient texts, including the Bible, and has been used by whites to justify slavery, Jim Crow, and now, Stand Your Ground. In the second half, ...more
Oct 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is an intense book. It takes readers inside the mind of a Black theologian reflecting on God’s justice from research and from the perspective of being the mother of a Black boy, now man. While analyzing “Stand Your Ground” laws after Trayvon Martin’s killing, she explains “a free black body is tantamount to a wild animal on the loose.” She goes on to say that Stand Your Ground extended the Castle Doctrine to “whatever space white bodes inhabit. The white body becomes essentially a mobile ca ...more
Steffano Montano
Powerful and Provocative

Douglas’ book masterfully retraces the history of Anglo Saxon exceptionalism and its refusal to cede ground to black and brown bodies. It is a book that should be considered required reading for anyone interested in interrogating a Christian faith response to racism. It remains timely today in the midst of continued racialized attacks against black communities, immigrants, and Muslims.
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Noted theologian Kelly Brown Douglas offers this book as her “refusal to be consoled until the justice that is God’s is made real in the world.” She draws from sources for the Anglo Saxon narrative starting with Tacitus in the year 98 and working through history to show how it drove notions of Manifest Destiny and exceptionalism with implications we see writ large today. This is an important work on the need for transformation which points to how that work must begin.
Susan Meador
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Rev Douglas has laid our a thorough and thought provoking treatise on the Stand your ground culture. I am glad I read it in a zoom study group as it is steeped in historical data and needs this type of audience. 2 in our group had studied this in their theological curriculum. I had written his thesis on this book. Helping me to reframe my own historical perspective along with other reading I am doing. .
Eric Parsons
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book was hard to read, especially as one would consider a "scholarly" work...because the source material is far from peer-reviewed and the author clearly misunderstands and misrepresents many of her foundational points, in addition to drawing lines that do not actually exist.

Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this book for any serious study on the topic.
Peder Hinderlie
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Highly, highly recommend this book. Dr. Brown Douglas presents a concise and clear summation of the role Anglo-Saxon Christian male supremacist ideology has played in history, and the tragic consequences this has had and continues to have in the U.S.
Annie Mae
Sep 16, 2020 rated it liked it
A professor recommended this book... it is an important read. Difficult. Challenging. I wish I could discuss with the author how her perspective impacts the immigrant farmers who I do not see as under the umbrella of white anglo-saxon exceptionalism emphasized by the author.
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Connects Stand Your Ground wth historical and ongoing white supremacist culture.
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Kelly Delaine Brown Douglas is an African-American Episcopal priest, womanist theologian, and the inaugural Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary. She is also the Canon Theologian at the Washington National Cathedral.

In 1995 Kelly was awarded Denison’s Grace Lyon Alumnae Award, presented to distinguished female graduates by the Department of Women’s Studies and the Of

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