When I was in my twenties, looking for a spiritual home, one of the things that attracted me to the Religious Society of Friends was its history of peace and social justice work. Quakers advocated the abolition of slavery, worked on the Underground Railroad, and supported women’s right to vote. Coming from secular activists circles, Quakers seemed to have the perfect balance of inner peace and concern about the world. That was about eighteen years ago. Since then I’ve realized that we are just as human as everyone else, which is probably not a shock to anyone who has spent much time in a Quaker meeting. Still, some Friends seem to be shocked by the premise of a new release from Quaker Books, Fit for Freedom, Not for Friendship: Quakers, African Americans, and the Myth of Racial Justice. The book by Donna McDaniel and Vanessa Julye argues that we have many myths about ourselves when it comes to our track record on issues concerning race. As the book’s web site states, “While there were Friends committed to ending enslavement and post-enslavement injustices, Fit for Freedom, Not for Friendship reveals that racism has been as insidious, complex, and pervasive among Friends as it has been generally among people of European descent.”

Earlier this week I had the chance to ask Vanessa and Donna about their experiences writing this book, which will hopefully spark much discussion among Friends and beyond. I’m very excited to present my second podcast, which you can listen to by clicking here. (If you have trouble playing it, please leave me a comment here so I know.)