Conversations with Your Teenager About Race & Justice

Hey Parents,

If you’re anything like me, you weren’t prepared for a global pandemic.
If you’re also anything like me, you weren’t expecting the racial tension in our country to escalate in the midst of our global pandemic.

I want to help you navigate these waters with your teenager. If you haven’t noticed, Gen Z is particularly invested in this movement and this time.

One stat I saw says: “78% of U.S. Gen Z’ers have used social media to express support for the equality of Black Americans.”

Another says: “90% of U.S. Gen Z’ers support ‘Black Lives Matter’.”

I’m not here to talk to us about the political ramifications of any of this, I simply want to help you talk to your teenager about this racial tension in the country, and most importantly, where Jesus fits into this all.

Many people don’t know, but one of my passions is the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic church. When I was in Seminary in Southern California, at Fuller Theological Seminary, I was blessed in being on staff at one of these multi-ethnic churches. As a result of this, one of the emphasis’ I took in seminary, was studying how the church can help bridge the gap and be a witness in a cultural, multi-ethnic world.

By no means am I an expert, but I want to share with you some valuable resources for this time that will help you connect with your teenager and have important conversations. Unfortunately, this conversation takes some work on our end to know how to talk about what is going on.

My most crucial piece of advise for you in all this is to listen. Listen. And listen again.

Find opinions you don’t agree with, find perspectives you don’t understand, and ask questions to learn and listen.

As we think about your teenager, ask your teenager their thoughts on all this and where it is coming from. Dive into it together.

Below, are a list a valuable resources for you to use together and talk about.

Podcasts: We’ll start with easy ones you can listen to anytime, any place.
Be the Bridge by Latasha Morrison: She’s one of the leading voices in the conversation and her podcast is a great entry point.
The Hometeam Podcast: This is a sports podcast, but it’s hosted by a pastor, an ESPN Anchor, and NFL Football Player. There last two podcasts have been on point:
– The State of America
– Interview with Emmanuel Acho
Reality San Francisco: A church in San Francisco, has some great easy content to dig into around this topic of conversation as they seek to be a multi-cultural church in the heart of San Francisco.
– Episode 55: Racism for Beginners
– Episode 56: How to Talk About Race with Others
– Episode 59: A Conversation on Race & Emotional Health with Rich Villodas

The HD Leader by Derwin Gray: He’s a hero of mine and his book is an absolute must read. It’s geared towards pastors, but I think it’s so good I recommend it to anyone who wants to have conversations about race.
Divided by Faith: This is a bit academic, but eyeopening as it explores why the author claims Sunday mornings at 9am are the most segregated hour of the week.
The Myth of Equality by Ken Wytsma: If you want to walk into a Biblical conversation around some buzzwords: justice, equality, privilege, etc., this is a great read.
United: Captured by God’s vision for Diversity by Trilla Newbell: This is short, good read about God’s vision and plan.
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson: He’s another hero of mine. I bet you can find talks of his out on YouTube, and you don’t want to miss out on them. This book is also a movie. Both are incredible.
Woke Church by Eric Mason: This pastor is writing from his church and view in urban Philly.
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: This was an eyeopening read in seminary. It should lead to a lot of conversation with your student.
Roadmap to Reconciliation by Brenda Salter McNeil: This is a helpful read, but truthfully it’s not my favorite. But for your student, it could be particularly appealing and lead to some great conversation.

Now are the books on the conversation I haven’t had a chance to read, but our next on my list:
Be the Bridge by Latasha Morrison
Insider Outsider by Bryan Loritts
The Third Option by Miles McPherson
Let Justice Roll Down by John Perkins: I’ve read other Perkins and heard him speak. He’s the grandfather of this conversation.

Remember the Titans: This movie is great for everyone. And maybe you’ve already seen it, which could make starting a conversation with your teenager about what stood out, even easier in this season.
42: There’s two sports movies on this list. Yes, I miss sports. But, again, this could be another easy conversation starter.
Emanuel: This one’s close to home, but valuable.
Just Mercy: Just watch it. It’s free right now. Here is a discussion guide (note: you’ll have to click it and ask to get access via Google Drive).


Redemption: The John M. Perkins Story
John Perkins: One Blood
Racism & Corporate Evil: A White Guy’s Perspective – Tim Keller
Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho
Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man 2 by Emmanual Acho


Faith and Prejudice Website
Faith and Prejudice Facebook
It’s founded by one of Facebook’s leading voices, Nona Jones. If you’ve never heard her speak, she’s a gifted speaker, who loves Jesus and has a heart to help the church have hard conversations.

Lastly, if you’ve missed it, here’s the letter from our Bishop, Steve, addressing some of what has gone down in recent weeks.

There are many, many resources out there. This is just a brief glimpse into ones that I’ve found helpful

Grace + Peace,