Nobody’s Calling You a Racist (and 5 Action Points)

Black Lives Matter.

It’s a movement that started a couple years ago. People have all kinds of opinions and reactions to it, especially in light of recent events.

I’ve been having my fair share of conversations. Trying to figure out how to navigate it all as a white female who has no idea what it’s like to be a black person in America. A white female who has the luxury of turning off social media and the news and thus, turning off the issue.

The idea of racism is the central topic in these conversations and something like this is usually said:

I just don’t come across it.

As a white female, I don’t run up against prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone because of their race.

But here’s the thing.

Unless that prejudice, discrimination, antagonism is loud and visible, why would I run up against it?

So many of us hear “racism” and we picture the curmudgeonly great uncle who uses derogatory words for certain people groups, or those white supremacists with swastikas tattooed on their arms.

But that’s not the full scope of the word. It’s not even close.

Racism isn’t just about name-calling or overt discrimination.

It’s about a value system.

And as a whole, society doesn’t place the same value on black lives as it does white ones.

Case in point:

The statistic that’s being thrown around like its own version of a firearm, almost always (at least that I can see) by white people taking offense to #blacklivesmatter, as if the hashtag is accusing a particular person of being racist.

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I don’t even know if this statistic is true.

Whether it’s true isn’t even the point.

The point is that this statistic is used sanctimoniously, as if to say, “I rest my case.” As if this should be the big mic drop moment wherein “the other side” is silenced and discredited and made out to be wrong and foolish.

See, this statistic says. Nobody’s racist.

And yet, this, right here, along with the casualty with which its posted is highly problematic.

That statistic shouldn’t make anybody feel sanctimonious.

That statistic and the casualness with which its posted is one of the reasons why the #blacklivesmatter movement exists.

People are posting these statistics as if those lives don’t matter.

Can we be real for a minute?

If a white man drove up into a predominantly white neighborhood and opened fire, it would be all over the news.

All. Over.

When this happens in poor, predominantly black neighborhoods, nobody says boo. It’s not newsworthy. Because, you know. “Thugs will be thugs.” (Don’t even get me started on that word … )

With this mentality, how can we argue that black lives matter as much as white lives?

Something is broken.

Something is wrong.

Something isn’t right.

That statistic shouldn’t be used to silence the black community. That statistic should cause anybody who holds life in high regard to lock arms with the black community. It should give anybody who holds life in high regard a thirst to understand.

What is going on? Why is this happening?

If we truly believe that skin color is nothing more than melanin level, and we truly believe every person is intrinsically valued because of Imago Dei, then WHY doesn’t that statistic move us to action?

Some of you might be thinking, what action? What can I possibly do as a white person who is largely unaffected by all of this? It’s a question I’m wrestling with. A question I’ve heard many of my friends wrestling with, too. Here’s where I’ve landed so far:

  • Listen and listen carefully. Not to other white people. Listen to our fellow black image bearers who understand in a way a white person never will. Check your Twitter and Facebook feeds. I highly respect Trip Lee. Follow him and see who he’s retweeting. You’ll find some really compelling, Christ-centered voices who are part of the black community.
  • Say something. Not an opinion. Lord knows we have too many of those flying around the social media sphere. Now’s not the time to add to that particular noise. Now is the time to lock arms and speak love. It can be as simple as, “I’m listening. And I’m standing with you.”
  • Speak truth. When a family member, friend, or acquaintance says something that sounds/feels wrong–when their words or attitude devalue life, any life–push back. Point it out. Respectfully and in love.
  • Pray. For healing. For justice. For restoration. For love to win.

I think this is a good place to start.

* Please know, I’m nervous about this post. I’m nervous about stepping into these waters, because there’s so much I don’t know and don’t understand. I feel a little bit like someone with no kids trying to talk on parenting. If you have beautiful brown skin like my daughter, please chime in. If I’ve said something that doesn’t sit right, please chime in. I want to understand better.

Inspirational Book Series You Can’t Put Down

Today I’d like to introduce guest blogger, Varina Denman.

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Varina writes stories about the unique struggles women face. Her award-winning Mended Hearts series, which revolves around church hurt, is a compelling blend of women’s fiction and inspirational romance. A native Texan, Varina lives near Fort Worth with her husband and five mostly grown children. Connect with Varina on her website or one of the social media hangouts.

Welcome, Varina!

Katie, thank you for hosting me on your blog today. It’s summertime, and we’ve all got extra time on our hands. My holiday break is swiftly getting filled with events, camps, and projects, but I still have plenty of time by the pool doing what I love best … reading! I’ve put together a list of books to recommend to friends, specifically Christian book series that have been described as “can’t-put-it-down.” That’s what we all LOVE to read, especially during the lazy summer months. I hope your blog readers find a new series on the list, and I hope they pour themselves a tall glass of iced tea, and sit down and relax. Happy reading, girlfriends! (Don’t forget the suntan lotion)


Jan Karon’s Mitford Series.

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A little about At Home In Mitford: It’s easy to feel at home in Mitford. In these high, green hills, the air is pure, the village is charming, and the people are generally lovable.

Yet, Father Tim, the bachelor rector, wants something more. Enter a dog the size of a sofa who moves in and won’t go away. Add an attractive neighbor who begins wearing a path through the hedge. Now stir in a lovable but unloved boy, a mystifying jewel theft, and a secret that’s sixty years old.

Suddenly, Father Tim gets more than he bargained for. And readers get a rich comedy in which mysteries and miracles abound.

Click here for more information about the Mitford series.

Dawn Crandall’s Everstone Chronicles.

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A little about The Hesitant Heiress: After being unjustly expelled from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Amaryllis Brigham sees her dreams of founding a music academy in her hometown of Seattle, Washington, disappearing before her very eyes. Now, the only way to achieve her goal comes with high stakes for someone set on avoiding men as much as possible: Marry within the year to inherit the immense fortune of her estranged grandmother. Amaryllis reluctantly moves in to her aunt’s Boston home and rubs shoulders with fashionable society. Despite her own misgivings, she soon finds herself quickly falling in love with the most unlikely of men–Nathan Everstone, the envy of every eligible female, whose father has haunted her dreams for the decade following her mother’s tragic death. However, Nathan turns out to be much more than he seems…and everything she never knew she wanted. But just as everything Amaryllis has recently hoped for comes to fruition, it all falls apart when she finds that the real culprit who has been managing her life isn’t who she thought at all.

Click here for more information about the Everstone Chronicles.

Katie Ganshert’s The Gifting Series.

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A little about The Gifting: In a world where nothing supernatural exists, Tess Eckhart is positive she’s going crazy. What other explanation is there for the things she sees? After her complete freakout at a high school party, her parents worry she might be right. So much that they pack their bags and move across the country, next to a nationally-renowned facility for the mentally ill.

Despite the whispers and stares, Tess is determined to fit in at her new school. But when it comes to Luka Williams, a reluctantly popular boy in her class, she’s unused to a stare that intense. Then the headaches start, and the seemingly prophetic dreams that haunt her at night. As Tess tries harder to hide them, she becomes increasingly convinced that Luka knows something—that he might somehow be responsible.

But what if she’s wrong? What if Luka Williams is the only thing separating her from a madness too terrifying to fathom?

Click here for more information about The Gifting series. The first book is currently free!

Melanie Dickerson’s Hagenheim Fairy Tale Romance Series.

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A little about The Healer’s Apprentice: Two Hearts. One Hope. Rose has been appointed as a healer’s apprentice at Hagenheim Castle, a rare opportunity for a woodcutter’s daughter like her. While she often feels uneasy at the sight of blood, Rose is determined to prove herself capable. Failure will mean returning home to marry the aging bachelor her mother has chosen for her—a bloated, disgusting merchant who makes Rose feel ill. When Lord Hamlin, the future duke, is injured, it is Rose who must tend to him. As she works to heal his wound, she begins to understand emotions she’s never felt before and wonders if he feels the same. But falling in love is forbidden, as Lord Hamlin is betrothed to a mysterious young woman in hiding. As Rose’s life spins toward confusion, she must take the first steps on a journey to discover her own destiny.

Click here for more information about the Hagenheim Fairy Tale Romance Series.

Varina Denman’s Mended Hearts Series.

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A little about Jaded: As a child, Ruthie was shunned by the local congregation. Now, thirteen years later, Ruthie’s heart begins to stir when an attractive single preacher arrives. But their relationship is bitterly opposed, and a string of secrets are unearthed that threaten to turn the church, the town, and her world upside down.

Jaded is the rare novel that is a love story between both a woman and a man … and God and His church. Plunging deep into the waters of shame, forgiveness, and restoration, this book will resonate with every woman who’s experienced a loss of heart … and a thirst for hope.

Click here for more information about the Mended Hearts series.

Cliffhangers, Trilogies, and Money … Oh My!

IMG_3712Raise your hand if you’ve heard of Voxer.

It’s basically the best app known to man. At least, it’s the best app known to anybody who starts to twitch whenever the phone rings, but also isn’t the biggest fan of texting.

Essentially, it’s a walkie-talkie app. Only you don’t have to talk live.

For all you nay-sayers out there wondering, “Why don’t you just leave a voice message?” or “How is that different than that text-talking feature?” Trust me. On Voxer, you NEVER HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT SOMEBODY ANSWERING THE PHONE.

It’s basically a guarantee that you will always get their voicemail. Even better? You don’t have to waste time while the phone rings and the outgoing message plays. And you also don’t have to waste time calling your voicemail to check messages. AND! You can talk live if you want, walkie-talkie style, without the stress of hooligan children screaming like banshees because they have a hooligan-banshee radar that starts going off whenever mom puts the phone to her ear. With Voxer, I can totally give them the glare of death and THEN play the next message without being distracted by their general banshee-ness.

If you’re still skeptical, that’s okay. This post isn’t about Voxer.

It’s about how I use Voxer to stay in touch with friends. Especially friends who don’t live nearby, many of whom are fellow writers.

And sometimes, we writers talk shop and sometimes, talking shop involves deep and meaningful discussions about readerly reactions to our work.

One author and I have talked quite a bit about a certain reaction we both get when it comes to our young adult fiction. Both of us have trilogies. And for the most part, our readers thoroughly enjoy them.

But like any work of fiction, there are also readers who don’t.

Almost always, when our books get a heated review, it’s to do with cliffhangers.

And often, those heated reviews come with two common accusations.

Namely, that the book in question isn’t a complete story.

And closely following, this idea that we are money-hungry authors out to make a quick buck.

To this accusation, my friend and I try very hard not to laugh. Something other authors will more than likely understand.

Let’s just say, there aren’t very many of us who are rolling in the dough. By and large, most of us authors are average folk trying to pay the bills doing what we love.

With that said, I thought I might add a wee bit o’ perspective:

The book in question (The Gifting) is currently free.

That means it costs zero cents for a reader to download and enjoy (or not enjoy. It’s all subjective, man.) Zero cost. This book I worked on for months and months costs nada.

Now, this is book 1 in a trilogy. The Gifting Series contains three books in all.

So let’s move on to book 2, also a book I worked on for months and months.

This book is sold at $4.99, a price cheaper than the average fast-food meal, which is consumed, on average, in less than 15 minutes.

Last, but not least, we have book 3, another book I worked on for months and months AND MONTHS, because wrapping up a trilogy in a satisfying way is no joke, people. No joke.

This book is also sold at $4.99.

Altogether, you can get the entire trilogy for just under $10.

It’s a trilogy that has provided thousands upon thousands of readers hours upon hours of entertainment, a fact that delights me to no end. There is nothing more encouraging to an author than hearing from readers who enjoy the work we pour so much of our time, energy, and hearts into, and I have been immensely blessed to hear from such readers.

All this to say:

If a reader isn’t a fan, or doesn’t agree with how this book (or any book) was written, that is TOTALLY copacetic. I get it. Such is the subjective nature of literature. Thankfully, there are a plethora of books and authors to choose from and surely one will strike their fancy.

But for the sake of fairness, I don’t think we can accurately accuse an author of wanting to make a quick buck. There is nothing quick about writing a full-length novel. There is especially nothing quick about writing a complete trilogy. And there is nothing money-hungry about selling months and month and months and months and months of hard work (260,000+ words) for $10.

I mean, we spend that much money on a movie theater ticket, and that’s only two hours of entertainment. Don’t even get me started on the price of popcorn. (Yet, I can never resist buying it, which makes me part of the problem.)

Now, onto the other part.

The cliffhanger part. And the assumption that if a book ends in one, it isn’t a full book.

When the idea for this story came to me, it came as a complete package.

An overarching story (like most trilogies tend to be). I knew where Tess was going to begin, and I  knew where the entire thing was going to end and I also knew that it was going to be BIG.

I promise there was nothing sneaky or manipulative about my intentions. I simply couldn’t put out a 260,000+ word novel. Not only would the length scare the majority of my target audience away, the price point would have to be adjusted accordingly, and that would scare people away, too. And thus, my story would languish in sad, sad obscurity.

While I’m not money-hungry, I am one of those bizarre authors who actually wants readers to read my work. It’s why I write, after all.

The solution?

I found a way to split that overarching story into three separate stories that address three distinct story questions.

The Gifting (book 1) is, in fact, a complete book. The story question in book 1 (Is Tess crazy?) is completely resolved by the end.

Then we have a widening, where the story world grows larger. Readers are enticed to read book 2, which begins a new story question and a new story adventure that is resolved in book 2, followed by another widening, an enticement, and a third story question that is resolved in book 3.

I didn’t do it to be tricky or manipulative. I did it because I had a story to tell and this was the best way to tell it.

If you’d like to try it out at no cost to yourself, The Gifting by K.E. Ganshert (that’s moi) can be downloaded at any of the major online book retailers (follow the link to download from your favorite one). If you don’t want to spend money on book 2, that’s all bueno. Rest assured, you will know whether or not Tess is crazy by the end.

Interestingly enough, book 2 ends on a higher note of suspense than book 1 (similar to how Catching Fire ends on a higher note of suspense than The Hunger Games, and Insurgent ends on a higher note of suspense than Divergent.) What’s interesting about this, to me, is that The Awakening doesn’t receive the heated reviews (in this respect) that The Gifting does. I have theories on this, of course, but these theories are too big in scope for this particular post.

Perhaps I’ll save that for another day.

Have thoughts? Please chime in. I love reading comments. You don’t even have to agree with me. Just please be courteous!