The Color of Compromise

The Color of Compromise

by Jemar Tisby
Length: 8:59
Published on January 7, 2020
Pages: 256
Format: Audiobook Source: Library

An acclaimed, timely narrative of how people of faith have historically--up to the present day--worked against racial justice. And a call for urgent action by all Christians today in response.

The Color of Compromise is both enlightening and compelling, telling a history we either ignore or just don't know. Equal parts painful and inspirational, it details how the American church has helped create and maintain racist ideas and practices. You will be guided in thinking through concrete solutions for improved race relations and a racially inclusive church.

The Color of Compromise:

  • Takes you on a historical, sociological, and religious journey: from America's early colonial days through slavery and the Civil War
  • Covers the tragedy of Jim Crow laws, the victories of the Civil Rights era, and the strides of today's Black Lives Matter movement
  • Reveals the cultural and institutional tables we have to flip in order to bring about meaningful integration
  • Charts a path forward to replace established patterns and systems of complicity with bold, courageous, immediate action
  • Is a perfect book for pastors and other faith leaders, students, non-students, book clubs, small group studies, history lovers, and all lifelong learners

The Color of Compromise is not a call to shame or a platform to blame white evangelical Christians. It is a call from a place of love and desire to fight for a more racially unified church that no longer compromises what the Bible teaches about human dignity and equality. A call that challenges black and white Christians alike to standup now and begin implementing the concrete ways Tisby outlines, all for a more equitable and inclusive environment among God's people. Starting today.


I had a lot of reservations about listening to this book. It is published by Zondervan, which is a Christian publisher. I usually try to avoid books aimed at a Christian audience. I’ve always been very interested in church history though. Honestly, the history of the white conservative Christian church in America played a large part in why I am no longer a Christian. So, I really wanted to see how honest and complete a book about race from a Christian publisher would be.

I put this book aside after the introduction. It is clearly aimed at white conservatives who at some point have posted All Lives Matter to their Facebook page. It spends a good amount of time catering to their white fragility. It tells them that talking about race might make them uncomfortable but that is ok. It doesn’t mean that they personally are a bad person. It talked about how it was ok to stop and sit with your feelings if reading about horrible things that happened to other people was just too hard for you. I actually double checked to make sure that I hadn’t misunderstood that the author was Black.

I wasn’t going to pick this back up but I had a project I was working on and needed something to listen to. This was already on my phone. Once it moved past the Not All White People section, it got better.

He hits the highlights of American conservative Christian history. He covers a lot of the denominational splits over slavery. He explains the origins of the Black church in the U.S. Lynching was explained. Everything stayed fairly surface level and appropriate for people for whom this is all new information.

While I wish he had gone deeper, I know that that isn’t the intention of this book. This is a book for people who are just starting to look beyond their Christian bubble to the world around them. It is a decent overview and hopefully will interest people enough for them to dig deeper.

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