August 2021 BOOK REVIEW: Baptized In Tear Gas: From White Moderate To Abolitionist by Danielle Dowd

Buy Danielle’s book by clicking here.

Click here to listen to the podcast interview Danielle did with my podcast, The Writers’ Block.

Danielle is a Torch because she knows what darkness is and why light is needed.

This book has been brewing for the better part of a year, and when I heard that she was writing it? Oh, I knew that I had to read it! I know for those of you whom have followed this space for some time, you know that I rarely feature non-Black writers. With that said, Danielle’s book is a exception because this power of this book lies in just how expertly she dissects white supremacy, the seducing nature of white supremacy, and just why it is essential that the church be especially influential in dismantling white supremacy. Get into this truth:

“A veil had to be pulled back to move me from understanding on some level that racism was real to feeling it viscerally in my gut. It wasn’t enough to learn theoretically about racism. Unveiling it meant having it feel real not only in my head but in my heart and body, understanding still only a fraction of the ways that Black people have known these truths on a much deeper level for a long time.”

-Danielle Dowd, Baptized in Tear Gas

The reason this book is powerful, the reason why I can recommend it, is because it pulls no punches. All the things that she details in this book, I have either lived through or saw! In reading this book, I was taken back to August 2014. I was taken back to the nights where I couldn’t sleep until my (then) husband was home. I was taken back to that space of screaming-crying-praying, and hyper aware that respectability politics for Black people doesn’t work! In reading this book, in watching Danielle’s face through my social media timeline, pressed between people and riot shield-having police. And as a White woman, that I am familiar with, having her detail what that was like from a vantage point of perceived power? Oh, that’s when you know something is real.

In my opinion, real faith, allows you to see where people are, and help them–regardless of where they are in life, because you believe that you can. The reason why Danielle’s book–Elle to those that love her–is needed, because it is necessary! Toni Morrison said that racism is a White people’s problem.

And it is.

And Danielle, as a white woman, with all her power, is working to solve it.

Brava, Elle.

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