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White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity
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White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  722 ratings  ·  164 reviews
Drawing on history, public opinion surveys, and personal experience, Robert P. Jones delivers a provocative examination of the unholy relationship between American Christianity and white supremacy, and issues an urgent call for white Christians to reckon with this legacy for the sake of themselves and the nation.

As the nation grapples with demographic changes and the legac
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 23rd 2020 by Simon Schuster
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Real Family Values

Here’s what Robert Jones has to say: Christianity in America has been and remains the single most important source of racial prejudice and active bias against the black population of the country. His sub-points, supported by enormous amounts of data, studies, and reports, are roughly as follows:

1. Historically the Christian churches of America have consistently used religious doctrine to justify both slavery and white supremacy.
2. These same churches have institutionalised raci
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
In the wake of the insurrection attempt at the Capitol on January 6th, I followed the media reports of the participants that were subsequently arrested. It surprised me how often they referred to their Christian faith as contributing to the reason they were rioting and storming the Capitol. Yes, a few of them were inspired by right-wing Christian groups like Patriot Prayer; but not all. Why do white supremacists feel that their racist beliefs are supported by their Christian faith?

Robert Jones i
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is incredible and all white people who grew up as or are practicing Christians need to read this!!!! A thorough and comprehensive analysis of the undeniable ties between America's history of white supremacy and dominant white religious institutions. Knocked one point down for some of the kumbaya liberalism towards the end and the focus on symbols of racism as opposed to material realities of racial capitalism, however, a very very good read regardless. ...more
Joe James
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I would give this 6 stars if I could. Easily the book of the year. An excellent mix of theology, history, social science, and personal anecdote. I challenge any white Christian to read this and not feel resolved toward racial justice.
Gabriel Atchison
When I blew into town (Buffalo) four years ago, I accidently found myself in a “circle of curmudgeon” which had masqueraded itself as a “book discussion.” I appreciated that unlike most book club meetings I had attended, these old men had actually read the book. That said, I was frustrated with the book’s content as well as the discussion. At times in the book, "The End of White Christian America", it seemed as if the author - Robert P. Jones - was lamenting the end of white, Evangelical politic ...more
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I read this book as a pre-release e-book obtained through NetGalley, provided by the publisher.

This book is very timely with the events of spring, 2020. It goes to show that no matter how much changes, many things are the same.

The book discusses how, when, by whom, and why the Confederate monuments were erected in the southern US – not just in public squares, but also in the churches of many Christian denominations. Some of these are being dismantled in 2020 as part of protests, to the chagrin o
Erin Cataldi
Sep 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
Absolutely fantastic. This is by no means an easy read, but a necessary one. We are long overdue on acknowledging and atoning for past (and present) transgressions against the BIPOC community. White American Christianity cultivated and fostered slavery, segregation, and fear mongering far too long to just wipe it under the rug and say "sorry." Robert P. Jones does an exemplary job describing the roots of racism in American Christianity (Catholics, Protestants, Lutherans, Episcopalians), the theo ...more
No one likes confessing their own sins, their complicity in sin or the way we have benefited from the sin of others. Its easier to distance ourselves from that past so we can tell ourselves we’re just fine here in the present.

When it comes to white Christians and race in America, this is sadly obvious. On one hand, white Christians want to argue we are not racist, that we do not think less of black persons. Yet, when we are asked to reckon with our racist past, we resist. Those white racists bac
Nov 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a necessary read for every white christian - whether they’re “ready” or not. The white supremacy culture saturates the western church, and it’s far past time to reckon with the demons of our history and present.
Jan 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: church, economics
This is a book that every white person who belongs to a Christian church should take the time to read. It discusses some of what has gone on in our churches to further sustain the white supremacy.

I'll also say that it is eye opening to have finished this book when you see the confederate flag being walked around the capitol by the protesters. We definitely have a long ways to go.
Wick Welker
A scholarly, timely and loving repudiation of white American Christianity.

White Too Long does a lot of things right. For the first half of this work, the reader gets a nice summary of American anti-black sentiment starting with slavery through modern day. Jones does a neat job of going over the pertinent details including white supremacy christian ideas that justified slavery at it's inception. We learn about reconstruction quickly swept away by Jim Crow laws and propagation of Confederate menta
The author explores the heritage of white supremacy in White Christianity in America from Jim Crow days until the present, illuminated by his personal experience having grown up in the Deep South.

The author sets forth his personal experience growing up in a predominantly White Baptist church in Jackson, Mississippi. He recounted the heritage of white supremacy in the history of the congregation in which he grew up, and set forth how "normal" the de facto segregation on Sunday morning was made to
Aug 01, 2020 rated it liked it
⭐️⭐️⭐️ Researcher Robert P Jones, who specializes in religion and culture, lays out the role white supremacy has played and sustained in American Christianity. This book meanders a bit, but is a pretty eye-opening history leading up to present day. So many despicable acts have been justified in the name of god. It’s sick and it’s sad. We have to continue to do better.
Stephen Eliasson
Dec 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
It’s weird when a book pulls back the veil on your upbringing.
Elliot Ratzman
Jul 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a much needed book for white Christians as one of their own breaks down in quantitative and qualitative terms the legacy of white supremacy in American Christianity. (My own project seeks to do some of this for Judaism.) Pitched to a general audience, Jones writes without rancor, but with rigor—a touchstone text for congregation discussions. It’s not the only book to read on racism in the Churches, or the US, but for many it might be the first. Jones shows that Christianity was not just ...more
Vannessa Anderson
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: atheism-religion

White Too Long tells how some whites’ deep seated hatred for blacks is routed in religion.

White Too Long tells how whites use their churches to push discrimination and politics.

White Too Long explains how whites use Christianity as a means to support and protect dominant social and political standing of whites and believe black Christians should hold a subservient place in society and in Christian fellowship.

What I learned from reading White Too Long is White Supremacy is the White Church.

Rob Lund
Dec 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
This was truly a stunning work. It was unflinching and unyielding. It has horrifically disturbing historical accounts of public lynchings, committed by committed Christians.

It's a vital book, if American Christianity is ever going to understand itself and its impact on the world.

As a Christian-school kid, there were whole sections of this book that I'd never heard of before. I don't think that's an accident, as my education was sanitized in this regard. I'm thankful for works like White Too Long
Thomas Beard
Sep 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Required reading for all American Christians. We can say we don't see race. But we're lying as long as we still support theology and churches that have actively harmed black people for centuries. ...more
Erin Isgett
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book lays out a history and connections that were made centuries ago, but that continue to impact this nation even today. It supports a reckoning that is too long in coming, but vital and imperative for every American church and its members.

"...with rigorous quantitative evidence...Frederick Douglass's nearly two-hundred-year-old observations about the positive correlation between white supremacy and Christianity continue to be supported by the contemporary evidence. Not only in the South
Oct 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
White Too Long is a very well written non-fiction book outlining the influence of American christianity on the rise and continuence of racism and white supremacy in the US. If you are not familiar with the premise then this book will be extremely informative. It's well documents and avoids personal opinion almost nearly. I found it a bit redundant simply because I was reading what I already knew from studying US history at length. It is, however, a really good, easily readable work on the subjec ...more
Jan 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Painful. Excellent. There was a lot that I knew, and a lot that I didn't. Just as importantly, there was a lot that was presented in a way that made it far more real than it often is. I HIGHLY recommend this book. ...more
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
This is just such a crucial read with regard to understanding how much american society has been driven by those in power, who have also predominantly been white and religious, they've shaped the interpretation of Christian theology, and a bit hopelessly that fed back into enabling/justifying white supremacy in both the church and society. For obvious reasons the focus is heavily southern Evangelical, but the author does talk about a range beyond that, the time focus is primarily around the civi ...more
Jordan Gilbert
An important and necessary read for any Christian, especially white Christians. With a good mix of well-researched history, quantitative data, and personal experience, Jones sets up a compelling and detailed account of how white supremacy and American Christianity have been interwoven for centuries and how those historical ties have had lasting impacts on Christians and our beliefs and theology today. He effectively uses hard data to show how white Christians often state that they have warm feel ...more
Nov 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’m very glad I read this book. It is appropriate to have finished reading this book on Thanksgiving Day. The author tells the story in a very readable, thoughtful, backed-up-by studies and history way of the blasphemous relationship of Christianity and Racism. His story of lynchings and monuments and denial and self-awareness are important and thought provoking. He points a way forward - by pushing us to face the real history of both American Christianity and white supremacy. White. Excellent R ...more
Sep 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
Finished: 03.09.2020
Genre: non-fiction
Rating: A++++++

This book is absolutely stunning
…in its honesty, analysis and writing skills of Robert P. Jones!
My Thoughts

Holly Anderson
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am stunned and thankful.
While i hate the reality represented here, i am grateful for the questions and issues Jones raises.
I feel my theology must have a critical examination, which is entirely frustrating.
And yet somehow i feel hopeful.
A must read for white Americans. It gives a good sense of how deep the penetration of white-centered and white-supremacist thinking is both within American Christianity and in all of the public spaces Christianity affects (which is all of them).
Aug 27, 2020 added it
I appreciate and admire this book. I had never considered myself racist until I did some personal anti-racism work this spring through journaling prompts in “My and White Supremacy” by Layla F. Saad, and I could not figure out why I had these ungracious reactionary thoughts rooted in racism. This book helped me identify how American Christian theology has been adapted to support slavery and white supremacy and how my well-intentioned church and Christian schools/Christian school curriculum that ...more
Dec 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book overall but here's the thing - it's a timely and important topic followed by a provocative title, but the execution is mediocre. I feel bad saying this because what Jones has done - come full circle as a white, male, practicing Christian from the South to investigate his cultural and religious foundations for white supremacy - is likely not easy (especially in 2020). Like most books with a good concept and mediocre execution, though, it could be shortened to half its length and so I ...more
Tough one to rate. An interesting blend of history, theology, and statistics. Just when you think he's going to veer into self-congratulation, Jones brings things crashing back down to harsh reality. I personally enjoyed it and learned much, some of it shocking. I'm just not sure who else it is for.

The ultimate thesis of Jones' work seems to be a calling to white Christians to live true to their professed morals. But Jones' research itself points to how futile a hope for such an outcome must be.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Dr. Robert P. Jones, Ph.D. is the founding CEO of Public Religion Research Institute and a leading scholar and commentator on religion, values, and public life. Before founding PRRI he was assistant professor of religious studies at Missouri State University.

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3 likes · 1 comments
“It's nothing short of astonishing that a religious tradition with this relentless emphasis on salvation and one so hyperattuned to personal sin can simultaneously maintain such blindness to social sins swirling about it, such as slavery and race-based segregation and bigotry.” 2 likes
“But if we white Christians are going to get any critical leverage on our past, and the distortions this past has brought into our present, we have to let go of both the quest for self-protection—that is to say, the advantages we hoard at unjust costs to others—and the insistence on our racial and religious innocence.” 2 likes
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