Divided By Faith

By Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith

The writer's purpose is clear: "To learn about American life, this book examines the role of white evangelicalism in black-white relations." The authors contend that whites want to tear down the racial walls, but do more harm than good in their efforts. 

This book is a story of how well-intentioned people, their values, and their institutions actually recreate racial divisions and inequalities they ostensibly oppose.

Emerson and Smith set the stage in Chapter 1, "Confronting the Black-White Racial Divide." The challenge is racialization and a racialized society where "we are never unaware of the race of a person with whom we interact." A racialized society dispenses "economic, political, social, and even social rewards to groups along social lines." 

Divided by Faith does more than point fingers and lay blame. It constructs a way forward. The book is not a simple read or an easy read. It is well organized, thoroughly researched, and carefully noted.