"Ott's remarkable book traces her slow coming to terms with her White privilege, in spite of her progressive, inclusive intent. It is perhaps the hardest, but also most important, lesson for all of us to learn."
Necessary Risks: Challenges Privileged People Need to Face
Good people of privilege are increasingly aware of racial injustice but unsure what to do about it and afraid to venture into challenging dialogues and spaces. Necessary Risks: Challenges Privileged People Need to Face encourages readers to value risk-taking as the path toward a more equitable and just world.
Building on skillful, memoir-like stories, Teri McDowell Ott explores ten risks--including learning, teaching, leading, following, going, and staying--with which she has wrestled in her work with diverse populations as the chaplain of a liberal arts college and as a volunteer in a men's state prison.
Ott then reflects on how these experiences, including mistakes in often tense settings, have forced her to confront and wrestle with the systems and structures that have privileged her as a white Christian woman. With humility, she relates how risk-taking has led to profound changes in herself and her community.
These necessary risks are also informed by Ott's study of authors, theologians, and scholars of color, such as Martin Luther King Jr., James Baldwin, bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Gloria Anzaldúa, Ada María Isasi-Díaz, and Eddie Glaude Jr.
Demonstrating that in the face of injustice, white silence and inaction are not neutral, Necessary Risks leads readers to feel less fearful and more capable in diverse settings and ultimately to contribute to personal and communal learning and growth, change and transformation.