Although somewhat limited in scope, a lucid and well-researched look into solving problems facing African-American...



In this debut book, a minister supports a Virginia church’s financial literacy initiative.

Within a context of growing fiscal illiteracy in the United States—hitting African-American communities particularly hard after the recession of 2008-09—Taylor wants to build an argument for a “financial empowerment ministry.” The author, an associate minister, writes that “financial education and knowledge can be a motivating factor for African-American consumers to save and invest more of their incomes that can positively impact their churches, families and their communities.” Her research focuses on the First Agape Baptist Community of Faith in Alexandria, where an aging population, in combination with younger worshippers feeling constrained by indebtedness, had greatly affected the church’s monetary situation. By digging into the ministry of stewardship that the Rev. Dr. Daniel Lloyd Brown instituted, Taylor explores how preaching tithing practices had not only a tremendous impact on the church’s finances, but on congregants’ overall ability to manage their personal budgets as well. The author covers the basis in Scripture for preaching stewardship and tithing before explaining her methodology: a pre- and post-survey instrument measuring knowledge of both stewardship and debt management after church members’ participation in a financial literacy skills course. Taught by Taylor, the course was conducted over seven sessions, which alternated between praying, Scripture reading, worshipping, and applying biblical principles of stewardship to real-world debt problems, such as planning for long-range goals with an annual income of $24,000. The author also includes several helpful charts and graphs exploring her data, research, and the questionnaire tool used. In her meticulous book, Taylor asserts that “the church is responsible for empowering congregants” and promoting “spiritual, social, and financial growth opportunities to aid in the maturation of the believer.” The only things missing from her impressive argument are more reasoning and data to support the idea that the church is the best avenue for empowering the African-American community overall. But Taylor writes clearly and efficiently, contextualizing her efforts within the great financial and racial issues of the day and offering a practical solution that will greatly appeal to Christians across the country.

Although somewhat limited in scope, a lucid and well-researched look into solving problems facing African-American communities.

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5043-9388-1

Page Count: 174

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2018

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.


Straight talk to blacks and whites about the realities of racism.

In her feisty debut book, Oluo, essayist, blogger, and editor at large at the Establishment magazine, writes from the perspective of a black, queer, middle-class, college-educated woman living in a “white supremacist country.” The daughter of a white single mother, brought up in largely white Seattle, she sees race as “one of the most defining forces” in her life. Throughout the book, Oluo responds to questions that she has often been asked, and others that she wishes were asked, about racism “in our workplace, our government, our homes, and ourselves.” “Is it really about race?” she is asked by whites who insist that class is a greater source of oppression. “Is police brutality really about race?” “What is cultural appropriation?” and “What is the model minority myth?” Her sharp, no-nonsense answers include talking points for both blacks and whites. She explains, for example, “when somebody asks you to ‘check your privilege’ they are asking you to pause and consider how the advantages you’ve had in life are contributing to your opinions and actions, and how the lack of disadvantages in certain areas is keeping you from fully understanding the struggles others are facing.” She unpacks the complicated term “intersectionality”: the idea that social justice must consider “a myriad of identities—our gender, class, race, sexuality, and so much more—that inform our experiences in life.” She asks whites to realize that when people of color talk about systemic racism, “they are opening up all of that pain and fear and anger to you” and are asking that they be heard. After devoting most of the book to talking, Oluo finishes with a chapter on action and its urgency. Action includes pressing for reform in schools, unions, and local governments; boycotting businesses that exploit people of color; contributing money to social justice organizations; and, most of all, voting for candidates who make “diversity, inclusion and racial justice a priority.”

A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58005-677-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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