Dismantling White Supremacy and Reclaiming Our Humanity
As a white Afrikaner woman growing up in South Africa during apartheid, Idelette McVicker was steeped in a community and a church that reinforced white supremacy and shielded her from seeing her neighbors' oppression. But a series of circumstances led her to begin questioning everything she thought was true about her identity, her country, and her faith.
Recovering Racists shares McVicker's journey over thirty years and across three continents to shatter the lies of white supremacy embedded deep within her soul. She helps us realize that grappling with the legacy of white supremacy and recovering from racism is lifelong work that requires both inner transformation and societal change. It is for those of us who have hit rock bottom in the human story of race, says McVicker. We must acknowledge our internalized racism, repent of our complicity, and learn new ways of being human.
This book invites us on the long, slow journey of healing the past, making things right, changing old stories, and becoming human together. As we work for the liberation of everyone, we also find liberation for ourselves. Each chapter ends with discussion questions.
Foreword by Lisa Sharon Harper
Part 1: Wake Up
1. Acknowledging Our Racism
Part 2: Leave
3. Imagining a Different World
4. Getting Comfortable with Discomfort
5. Facing Ugly Truth
6. The Liberating Jesus
7. The Heart of a Learner
Part 3: Repent
10. Seeking Justice
Part 4: Recalibrate
11. The Way of Relationship
12. Honoring Everyone
Part 5: Repair
13. Knitted Together
14. Contending for Peace
15. Listening for the Truth-Tellers
18. Practicing Restitution
19. Using Power for Good
20. Reclaiming Our Humanity
"It is a rare thing for me to stand with a book, explicitly about race and equity, that is written by a white person. Why? Because it is a rare thing to encounter a white person who has followed the lead of people of color into their own transformation so deeply that I trust the message coming from their white body. Idelette McVicker has done the work."
Lisa Sharon Harper (from the foreword)
"The sad truth is that most of the problems in the world today exist because of racism. We are all in recovery. This book provides signposts along the deep, difficult, and honest journey into a racist past that becomes unpredictable. This faithful reflection creates the opportunity to learn liberating truths and reimagine a better tomorrow. Idelette's life embodies this journey and the telling of the story invites us all into the necessary work of habitual anti-racist intentions. It lays bare the evil not only of a superiority complex but of how it in turn promotes an inferiority complex. Together these complexes rob us of both our dignity and our humanity. Rejecting white supremacy is work that we all need to do. It has humanized Idelette and relocated her in the human family as a daughter, sister, friend, and accomplice in the work of loving all God's children. I count it a privilege to have witnessed some of the steps along this precious way of love."
Rev. René August, The Warehouse
"What a powerful book. With hard-won wisdom, repentance, and clear-eyed humility, Idelette takes us with her on the transformative journey of recovering racists from South Africa to Canada and beyond. One of the few white voices I trust in this space, she models repentance, truth-telling, and reparations as part of our collective work of peacemaking and liberation. Idelette is one of my greatest teachers, and I recommend her work with my whole heart."
Sarah Bessey, editor of the New York Times bestseller A Rhythm of Prayer and author of Jesus Feminist
"Idelette Mcvicker is a trusted healer, teacher, and friend, and this book proves that she's not afraid of holding space for difficult conversations in a fiercely graceful way. This book is a beautiful, honest invitation to a better way of being human in which we embrace each other fully--I hope you'll accept it."
Kaitlin B. Curtice, author of Native: Identity, Belonging, and Rediscovering God
"Idelette is incredibly gifted, a powerful writer and a strong leader, but the most impactful thing about her is found in this book--honesty. This is a heartbreakingly honest and gloriously transparent account of the other side of racism, the one most of us deny. Telling this story requires a person to go to the deepest places of truth, to endure the death of ego, to embrace the searing wound before applying the balm. It is the recipe for our own healing. I hope and pray that everyone everywhere will read this book because it's the kind of truth that can set us free."
Danielle Strickland, communicator, advocate, and author of Better Together
"This book is an absolute must-read for white people seeking to be recovering racists and anti-racists. With vulnerability and intentionality, Idelette McVicker invites the reader into her story and her own journey of facing her own and her country's racism. She challenges her reader to more fully understand, embrace, and find the courage to live out the call not just to recognize the racism they've internalized but to become active anti-racists. Recovering Racists will encourage and liberate those who are ready to receive its wisdom."
Karen González, immigration advocate and author of The God Who Sees: Immigrants, the Bible, and the Journey to Belong
"McVicker offers a global perspective on how racism has manifested itself in cultures and countries around the world while addressing what it means to reckon with one's own relationship with white supremacy. Her honest grappling with whiteness makes way for us all to lean in and learn from someone who has done the work to reclaim our humanity."
Tiffany Bluhm, author of Prey Tell and cohost of the Why Tho podcast
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