Still anxious to talk about racism? Learn how to join this crucial conversation.
While we know the time to talk about racism is long overdue, many white people are still anxious to talk about it. Guilt, shame, discomfort, fear of being called a racist or saying the wrong thing are just some of the feelings that hold us back from the critical conversations happening around racism and racial equity today.
In this updated and expanded second edition, anti-racism teacher Carolyn Helsel offers 30% new material for this season of the racial justice movement, including new research and stories, spiritual practices for race talk, and tips for talking to children about racism.
Get better at having the hard conversations about racism. Reflection questions close each chapter, making this book ideal for sharing with a friend, a small group, or book club.
While Anxious to Talk about It can be read alone, reading with a group will deepen the discussion, integrate the material, and provide opportunities to practice. Our Group Study Guide and Video Introduction (links above video) and bulk discounts make purchasing copies for small groups easy and economical.
“Anxious To Talk About It is challenging, encouraging, and always faithful. Helsel’s insight and wisdom strengthen our discipleship and help us confront the impact of racism through gratitude, gift appreciation, diversity, and self-control. This book is a must-read for anyone desiring to live a spiritual life of self-discovery in the 21st century.”–Jimmie Hawkins, Director of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Public Witness & United Nations
"This slim but powerful book will be of most use to white readers looking for a way to have honest conversations about race." ―Publishers Weekly
“From guilt and shame to healthy white identity, Helsel has brought us a much needed guide to white self-awareness on the switchback-ridden journey to becoming anti-racist.”―Rev. Dr. Sharon E. Watkins, Director, National Council of Churches Truth and Racial Justice Initiative
“With a rich blend of scholarly insight and pastoral sensitivity, Helsel inspires and models the kinds of conversations she believes are important for white congregations to have about race. Her book is lively, engaging, and deeply connected to the experiences of white people and people of color in the United States ... an important book for our time, and Helsel is an insightful, caring, and deft guide.” ―The Christian Century (read the entire review)
“This book is spot-on for the kinds of conversations we need to be having.” ―Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary, author of Sabbath As Resistance, The Prophetic Imagination, and other books
“Carolyn Helsel gives us the background, the context, and the history we need in order to engage in this painful but so very important conversation. Helsel also gives us specific, practical guidance in how to instigate conversations about race in our churches.”―Will Willimon, Duke Divinity School, United Methodist Bishop (retired), and author of Who Lynched Willie Earle? Preaching to Confront Racism
“Hard conversations must be had, and this book will be an important tool in facilitating them. The reader will be grateful for Carolyn’s honest courage.”―Teresa ‘Terri’ Hord Owens, General Minister and President Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada
“‘I’m not in the KKK and I don’t carry a Nazi flag. Why should I read a book about race?’ Carolyn Helsel’s new book will answer that question, and in the process, you’ll become not just a better white person, but a better, more mature, more caring human being. ―Brian D. McLaren, author of Faith after Doubt
“Anxiousto Talk about Itis a much-needed resource to demystify the ‘R’ word (racism) for white people.”―April G. Johnson, Minister of Reconciliation, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
“This is an urgent, timely, and welcome book.”―Thomas G. Long, Bandy Professor Emeritus of Preaching, Candler School of Theology, Emory University
“This volume is packed with stories that need to be heard if America is ever going to live out a new story concerning race.”―Donyelle McCray, Yale Divinity School
“Anxious to Talk about It invites white Christians to recognize and relinquish racist ways, however subconscious, subtle, or insidious.”―Gerald C. Liu, Princeton Theological Seminary, and author of Music and the Generosity of God
“These are conversations that the church very much needs to be having.”―Ted A. Smith, Candler School of Theology, Emory University
"This is a book to be used, not just read."―Daniel Aleshire, Retired Executive Director, The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada
“Reading this should move one prayerfully from anxiety to gratitude because the truth dances all over these pages. Beware (white) readers: you will meet the truth and the truth will set you free! If you dare to be free, ‘take up and read.’”―Luke A. Powery, Duke Divinity School
"Direct, clear, and replete with illustrative stories, Helsel offers both invitation and inspiration to White Christians to grow and change in liberatory anti-racist ways, as well as the tools to do so."―Ali Michael, co-founder and director of the Race Institute for K-12 Educators and author of Raising Race Questions: Whiteness and Inquiry in Education