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Healing Racial Trauma: The Road to Resilience

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4.38  ·  Rating details ·  253 ratings  ·  54 reviews
"People of color have endured traumatic histories and almost daily assaults on our dignity. We have prayed about racism, been in denial, or acted out in anger, but we have not known how to individually or collectively pursue healing from the racial trauma." As a child, Sheila Wise Rowe was bused across town to a majority white school, and she experienced the racist lie tha ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by IVP Books
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Elisa Crawley
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sheila approaches the subject of healing racial trauma with the expertise of a counselor, the art of a storyteller, and all of the faith and power of a woman of God.

I really cannot recommend it enough to everyone. Fellow non POCs, you will learn how to know and love your POC family, friends, church body, and neighbors in a new depth. You will see injustice in many more settings. You will cry out in new ways and know more clearly what true racial justice looks like in the church and the world.

M
...more
Shayla Mays
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I appreciated the questions and reflection at the end of each chapter but what was most helpful for me was discussing the questions at the end of the book, within a small group of trusted friends. Most of the healing, the ugliness, the truthfulness of what I've buried for years, etc. were exposed mostly during the moments when discussing with friends. I highly recommend this book for personal healing but especially would recommend reading this in a community or small group if possible. It was a ...more
Adam Shields
Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Summary: Trauma is real; some of that trauma is based on racism or white supremacy; the hard work of healing is essential, not just for individuals but also for communities and future generations. 

I have recently joined a Be The Bridge group. Part of the method of the group is to acknowledge history and lament that history. I was asked to do a short presentation on lament. Because I had meant to anyway, I started re-reading Soong-Chan Rah's Prophetic Lament. The opening of Prophetic Lament was h

...more
Elisha Lawrence
Nov 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic, insightful, guy-wrenching...really enjoyed this book. So many things my church has been talking about for healing were also mentioned here: Gratitude journals, listening prayer, scripture meditation. This is a Biblical counseling book on how to heal from racial trauma. I learned more about how reading history and understanding the role my white ancestors played in racial trauma for people of color in this country has affected me. I have trauma just realizing the ugly things that have ...more
Emma Blake
Nov 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Found myself processing my own trauma while also learning about racial trauma, so the power of this book for me was two-fold!
Kate Walker
Jan 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, powerful, and uplifting.
Cara Meredith
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I may not be the first audience for this book, but we are changed by the power of stories ...and the stories Rowe offers of herself, her family and other POC are a gift to receive and be changed by.
Bob
Mar 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
Summary: A counseling psychologist describes the experience of racial trauma in story, drawing upon her own and other clinical experiences, and explores the resources for resilience to face continuing racial struggle.

As a White male, I’ve heard the terminology of racial trauma but have not experienced it in my own person. But I work with Black colleagues who have. One looking up to see a policeman’s gun trained on her for the “crime” of watering a neighbor’s flowers while the neighbor was away.
...more
Sheila Rowe
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I
Daniel
This book is right on the edge of being a 4 star book. I hope why that is true becomes clear below.

Sheila Wise Rowe has been working around healing, specifically healing from issues of trauma for decades. From that wisdom and experience she invites us to explore the specific ways that racial trauma impacts us as individuals in society and offers practical ways to begin that healing journey.

The ambition of this book was actually 5 stars to me. As someone who has spent many hours in counseling a
...more
Tamara Murphy
Sep 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
In the weeks leading up to both the pandemic shutdown and the news of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd’s killings I was part of a team of leaders at our church helping a group of multi-ethnic men and women comes to terms with the ways their lives have been wounded by others. My church context has been dominated by white folks for my whole life as has the work I’ve done helping women seek healing for areas of shame, guilt, wounding, and abuse. I knew I needed more help understandin ...more
Amanda
Nov 22, 2020 rated it liked it
As someone with significant religious trauma and not realizing how religious this book was until I started reading, I will grant that my opinion of this book may be swayed by that bias. However I appreciated the author's research, frank discussion of racism and trauma, and integration of her own and other personal narratives. For someone in a Christian context, I can see this being very helpful on the road to antiracism and racial trauma healing.

My largest criticism rests in the chapter on free
...more
Melanie Weldon-Soiset
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In the year 2020, the sands are shifting underneath us. Something has to give, but how can we respond differently as we experience a collective call to change our posture towards racism? In Healing Racial Trauma, Sheila Wise Rowe provides exactly the anecdotes (and antidotes) we need for such a time as this. The chapters of Healing Racial Trauma outline common responses to racism: fatigue. Silence. Rage, fear, and shame. Addiction. Wise Rowe also includes other, healthier chapters: lament, freed ...more
Hannah
“Racism is like the elephant in the room that we pretend is not there. However, we now see that it’s enormous and we’re tripping over it. How do we get rid of it? If we try to move it alone, it won’t budge. It’s going to take a large number of folks of all races, undergoing a heart change, sharing our stories, and lives, and challenging false narratives. If we all speak up and engage in small and large acts that pursue love, peace, and justice, we can dismantle the systemic structures that promo ...more
Mary
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Though written mostly for an audience that has experienced racial trauma, the author's message serves as an important learning place for anyone. As an older White woman, the truths and stories of individual's life experiences helped me understand a bit more deeply the large and often hidden burden carried by others.

The book clearly describes ways that racial trauma affects all of society and the reactions to it that can keep individuals and our society from moving into the reality that "the Lor
...more
Linda
Aug 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
During this turbulent time, this book is a must read for everyone who wants to grow in compassion and understanding toward people of color. I found this to be a heartbreaking read as I learned about the author's own journey, as well as the treatment of others who aren't part of the white majority. The book is a challenge for those of us from a more comfortable background, but necessary if we are to empathize with different experiences. We must not look away.

Especially I thought of all my friend
...more
Jessica
Dec 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The author’s name, Sheila WISE Rowe, is a true reflection of who she is. She teaches with such a deep understanding of people, victims of trauma, the human psyche, and Scripture. I found myself highlighting so much, that I realized this will be a book I refer back to over and over again. She shares the stories of different individuals, what they went through, how the felt, and how they heal. If you or your loved ones have experienced any amount of pain from racism, implicit bias, or micro-aggres ...more
Timothy Holmes
Mar 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
So grateful for Shelia Wise’s work in this book. She does an incredible job communicating and putting into tangible appropriate words, what many people of color experience intuitively daily. Reading these stories, and these terms brought a sense of “Yes! I’m not crazy!” That was good for my soul to read. And toward the end of the book, Sheila doesn’t settle with just definitions and explanations, but challenges readers to do the internal and external work to pursue healing, and communal reconcil ...more
Joel Kersey
May 06, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
I jumped in to this book because I wanted to hear stories of people traumatized for racial reasons in ways I have never experienced. I also wanted to hear the author's perspective on how to heal from such horrible experiences. What I discovered was a book full of compelling and heartbreaking stories while also learning that the answer to healing from racial trauma is also the same answer for healing from any injustice we experience. It's Jesus. I'm so thankful for Sheila's central focus on Jesus ...more
Domenique
Feb 03, 2021 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hannah Garrison
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a Christ-centered book about racial trauma, it's affect on people, and finding ways to heal through a relationship with God and community. I found it very enlightening and helpful, both as a white woman who needed to better understand the affects of systemic racism and examine my own privilege, and as a person who has experienced trauma and sometimes forgets the deep scars it leaves. Sheila Wise-Rowe writes in an honest, open, and compassionate tone. She shares the stories in an unblinki ...more
Marcia DeHaan
Jun 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Healing begins by identifying ways individuals experience and respond to racial trauma (from fear and rage and lament to fatigue and silence and shame and addiction). The author proposes a biblical framework for healing and freedom. Her advice seems mostly directed toward professional counselors and persons of color, but she does advise white readers that it is not enough to "simply bandage the wounds of victims." There is much we can learn from those who have been wounded by injustice: about re ...more
Afton Rorvik
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book, written by a black woman with a master's degree in counseling, helped me (a white woman) understand the trauma of growing up Black in Boston during the 1960s era of riots and desegregation busing.

Rowe skillfully weaves together the historical facts with her own emotional response to those events. She asks challenging questions. And she draws readers to the healing power of faith in God.

If you haven't read a lot about racial issues, this book is a good place to start.

Rowe challenges
...more
Persis
Apr 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
This review is for the audio version read by the author, which I listened to in one sitting.

The book doesn't pull any punches about the trauma caused by racism. The stories are moving and cover a range of experiences that are often overlooked such as those endured by 1st Nation peoples. The author also does not hold back on the gospel and the power of God to bring healing, forgiveness, and repair. I appreciated that she emphasizes the need for the Word, community, and prayer as vital to this le
...more
Sharla Fritz
Aug 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this book to better understand racial trauma. I respect all races, but as a white person, I can't put myself in the experiences of racism. Through personal stories, Sheila Wise Rowe helped me understand a bit of what racism feels like. The book made the point that generations of racism have taken a physical and mental toll on minority people. The main purpose of her book is to help people who have experienced racial trauma to experience healing through naming it and finding help in God's ...more
Steve Watson
Feb 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Rowe tells the stories of the wounds, fatigue, rage, fear, and shame that people of color in America can carry, due to personal and generational experience of racism and race-based trauma. Rowe also highlights knowledge and knowledge and experiences that can facilitate healing, freedom, and resilience. An honest, insightful, and hopeful book.

I wish Rowe had spoken more of trauma-informed therapy and the significance of long-term supportive community in the healing journey. More of the healing st
...more
Rachel Gowland
Apr 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was an excellent read. As a future clinical counselor who is trying to be a white peacemaker in a violent world, I really received a gift in reading Sheila Wise Rowe's words. The stories, psychology, and history told the full truth of the causes and effects of racial trauma, not a watered down version. I also really received and believed her lens of hope as well. Her emphasis on resilience and healing is so powerful and needed. Deeply grateful for this text. She addresses white people to li ...more
Hannah
Apr 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book is hard, and it made me uncomfortable. It also made me sick, and I gasped more than once at some of the stories. I find myself being suspicious to current day racism but very readily speak out against historical systemic and damaging racism. I know this is a problem, and I think that’s why this book challenged me so greatly.

This book is written for POC and how to heal from racial trauma, it was not written for someone like me, but it opened my eyes for some ways I can try and understa
...more
Dylan
Nov 08, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good read for some. But a religious read.

As an atheist, I couldn’t finish this book. As reading about racial trauma raised my own sensitivity, the religious approach in this book triggered my own experiences of trauma from religion. The author’s understanding of trauma is deep and the discussion of racial trauma is important, but this isn’t the path to healing for me. For those with a religious practice, this is a good book.

It’s very good, for what it is. But it’s not for me.
Kelsey Mckenzie
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I truly appreciate the honesty, wisdom and faith of Mrs. Sheila Wise Rowe. This book is heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time. Using true life stories and the Bible, she enlightens us to the racial trauma that people of color have faced and still face while also giving us steps to take to work towards God’s call to racial reconciliation. I would highly recommend this book.
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