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Unpacking Yancey’s Mutual Responsibility Model

A Review of George Yancey’s, Beyond Racial Division

Note: An abbreviated version of this post was published by Christianity Today on May 1, 2022, under the title “Don’t Ignore Race. Or Alienate White People.” CT edited it to fit their writing style and length requirements. We wanted to go ahead and publish the longer version that Monique submitted to CT here.

George Yancey’s newest book, Beyond Racial Division, aims to create “a better way” forward in our nation’s approach to racial issues (pg. 13). A Christian and a professor of sociology at Baylor University, Yancey describes how his Christian faith compels him to stand for a “mutual accountability model” that leads to “win-win” solutions to race conversations.

Mutual Accountability: What Is It?

Yancey’s model for race conversations, mutual accountability, involves a process through which, regardless of race or skin color, “everyone is allowed to participate, and everyone’s ideas are taken seriously. Everyone has a say in the final outcome” (pg. 14).

Yancey notes that all participants must actively listen to those we may not readily agree with if we want to “work together to find solutions we can accept” (pg. 15). He acknowledges that “humans have a natural ability to convince ourselves that what we ourselves want is best for everyone concerned” (pg. 33). Considering human depravity and human bias, mutual accountability “stipulates that we work to have healthy interracial communication so that we can solve racial problems” (pg. 35). These collaborative conversations allow “those we disagree with to hold us ‘accountable’ to their interests [so that] we are forced to confront the ways [in which] we have fashioned solutions that conform to our own interests and desires” (pg. 35).