"Recessions and recoveries come and go, while whole communities of people are left behind, never enjoying 'recovery,' in predominantly black and brown neighborhoods across the country. Law enforcement is then expected to control or at least contain the predictable outcomes of poverty's chaos, pain, anger, and hopelessness in those black and brown neighborhoods, while the rest of us evade our responsibility to end that poverty and hopelessness. . . .

"These are more than merely social issues; these are spiritual issues that speak to the lingering and, yes, evil power of America's original sin. Sin can be repented of and changed, but only when we acknowledge it for what it is.

"One of the most central lingering sins that I focus on in this book is white privilege. I am a white man in America, and I write this book as a white male, a white dad, and a white Christian. For most of my adult life I lived in low-income neighborhoods that have been predominantly black. Confrontation with white racism in my childhood in Detroit and in white churches has been the primary converting experience in my own faith history. It set me on a path that has defined my understanding of faith ever since – a story this book lays out. Allies and companions in black churches and communities have been principal shapers of my direction and vocation.

"But no matter where you go as a white person in American society, no matter where you live, no matter who your friends and allies are, and no matter what you do to help overcome racism, you can never escape white privilege in America if you are white. I benefit from white privilege (and male privilege as well) every single day, and I don't have any more say in that than black men and women who experience the opposite. What white responsibility means, in the face of these benefits, is a central theme of my book.

"I wrote this book because I believe truth-telling about America's original sin of racism must not be left to people of color alone. Crossing the bridge to a new America will be a multiracial task and vocation."