Original Research

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s perspective on racism

Daniel Dei, Dennis E. Akawobsa
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 78, No 1 | a7450 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v78i1.7450 | © 2022 Daniel Dei, Dennis E. Akawobsa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 February 2022 | Published: 18 July 2022

About the author(s)

Daniel Dei, Department of Theological Studies, Valley View University, Accra, Ghana
Dennis E. Akawobsa, Department of Theology and Christian Philosophy, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, United States


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Abstract

Although Christianity has abundant literature against racism, the menace negatively affects human relationships in contemporary westernised societies. The near silence of most Christian denominations leads to one crucial question: how should Christians deal with racial prejudice in contemporary westernised societies? This article is a social criticism of racism from the perspective of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. As a Christian, Bonhoeffer struggled with the morality of racism, particularly regarding the experience of black people in the United States and Jews in Germany. His reflections and action against racial injustice are a robust framework that could inspire a positive Christian attitude in dealing with racism. This article describes the causes and remedies of racial injustice from his perspective. The central argument is that faithfulness to the communal social character is a significant way to deal with racism in contemporary westernised societies.

Contribution: Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s reflections and actions against racial injustice are a robust framework for dealing with racism. The central argument is that faithfulness to the communal social character is a significant way Christians can deal with racism in contemporary westernised societies.


Keywords

civil courage; communal social character; Dietrich Bonhoeffer; social justice; racism

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