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Under Our Skin: Getting Real about Race. Getting Free from the Fears and Frustrations that Divide Us. Paperback – October 1, 2016
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This is a message every one of us needs to hear, and we’re listening to what Benjamin Watson has to say. Under Our Skin is unflinchingly honest, strong, and authentic. You won’t be able to put it down, and it will surprise, challenge, and inspire you in ways you never expected. (Holly Robinson Peete, Actress, author, philanthropist; Rodney Peete, Former NFL quarterback, author, entrepreneur)
Benjamin Watson has been an outspoken advocate for racial unity based solely on the fact that Jesus Christ died for all people. Jesus came to this earth to cover the sin of mankind with His precious blood and to wipe out the sins of disobedience, immorality, and racial conflict. Under the skin of every human being beats a heart that has the potential to love and serve the Lord and Master of the soul made alive by the very breath of God. Thank you, Benjamin, for pointing people toward the One who came and dwelt among us, who died to save us, and who lives to prove His everlasting salvation to all who will come to Him. (Franklin Graham, President and CEO, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse)
Benjamin Watson is one of the most intelligent and thoughtful men I have ever met,inside or outside of football. When he examines a topic, it is never from theperspective of societal norms or cultural traditions. His observations arealways based on sound, biblical principles. I know you will benefit from hisinsights into race and religion in the United States today. (Tony Dungy, Super Bowl winning head coach and New York Times bestselling author)
If you thought you were moved by Benjamin’s words in the wake of Ferguson, wait until you read this book. It is intensely personal, provoking real race discussions based on his own life and the issues still plaguing this nation. More importantly, though, my friend Benjamin leaves us with a sense of hope. (Brooke Baldwin, Anchor, CNN)
A must-read for anyone who is frustrated by the racial strife and problems in our world―and ready to become part of the solution. Stop everything you’re doing and read what Benjamin Watson has to say. (Mark Richt, Head football coach, University of Georgia)
Benjamin Watson is an important African American voices of balance and sanity in a world of racial chaos and confusion. He has used his platform as an NFL player to speak God’s perspective on race. In this work, Ben will encourage and challenge you to think rightly and righteously about addressing the sin that is destroying our nation. (Dr. Tony Evans, Senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship and president of The Urban Alternative)
I am honored to recommend my friend Benjamin Watson’sfirst book, Under Our Skin. Ben has grabbed the attention of our nation with insightful writings on many of the issues that divide us. God has expanded Ben’s reach way beyond the football field. I believe Ben is a voice for our time. In Under Our Skin, you will soon see why his wisdom on the issue of race in our nation is so needed. (Chris Tomlin, Musician, songwriter)
Packed with germane insights, this eye-opening book challengescurrent trends in American race relations, providing an important context forconversations about finding roads to racial unity. Read this book and be betterprepared to narrow the gap between our national creeds and deeds. (Barry C. Black, Chaplain of the United States Senate)
Not many people can speak so honestly and eloquently aboutsuch a tough issue. Benjamin Watson shows great perspective on every side andchallenges us all to embrace a higher moral and spiritual purpose. (Drew Brees, Quarterback, New Orleans Saints)
In his first book, Under Our Skin, Benjamin Watson does a superb job of exposing the many racial stereotypes that exist on all sides, and he helps people to understand that we are all human beings created by God and intended for great things. If we invest energy in understanding others, we will improve our own lives. (Benjamin S. Carson Sr., MD, Retired neurosurgeon and Republican presidential candidate)
From the Back Cover
For so many people, the racial divide is an argument, a political position, a debate on TV.
But keeping our distance isn’t working.
It’s not an option anymore. This is about you and me. It’s about our neighbors, our children, and our world.
In this challenging look at race, bias, and justice, Benjamin Watson, tight end for the New Orleans Saints and social-media commentator, speaks from his deepest heart to articulate what many of us think and feel. Part memoir and part social commentary, Under Our Skin offers a look at both sides of the race debate and appeals to the power and possibility of faith as a step toward healing. It’s a bold new path for us to follow as we come together to talk about the truths, myths, and realities of racial conflict.
Change starts here.
From the flap:
Let’s admit it. We all feel angry, offended, sad, hopeless, confused. But this is also true: We can be encouraged.
Benjamin Watson is a tight end for the New Orleans Saints, a writer and speaker, and a widely read and followed commentator on social media.
He attended Duke University as a freshman and transferred to the University of Georgia, where he majored in finance. After an all-SEC senior campaign, he was drafted in the first round of the 2004 NFL draft by the New England Patriots. He won a Super Bowl ring in his rookie season and appeared in another Super Bowl following the 2007 season. After a three-year stint with the Cleveland Browns―including the 2010 season in which he led the Browns in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns―Watson signed with the Saints in 2013.
Watson serves on the executive committee of the NFL Players Association and is the founder of the nonprofit One More foundation along with his wife, Kirsten. They live in New Orleans with their five children.
Ken Petersen is a veteran of book publishing, having worked for Tyndale House Publishers and Random House/Crown (WaterBrook Multnomah). He has written numerous books and lives with his wife, Rita, in Colorado Springs.
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Top Customer Reviews
More than half of our young people today find themselves trying to navigate their life without fathers. We need fathers like you to standup and lead this next generation into the healing that government and politicians cant solve. We don't need more programs, we need healing at the core of our hearts, where superiority comes from the color of our skin. You are one of those fathers, and I appreciate the humility that you model throughout this book that opens every reader to an invitation to seeing people of other colors through God's eyes. To use your words through you, "It is not a skin problem, but a sin problem.
I encourage every reader of this post to buy this book for their children, and pass it on to every high school and college age person who is now facing the anger of the fatherless mob, not knowing what to do. I love your conclusion, It starts with you.... Thank you Benjamin, time to change the world! Praying for you Ed Tandy McGlasson
The same can be said of recent examples of young black men who have died tragically: Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Eric Gardner. Benjamin writes about the perspective black men and women grow up with toward the police: one that doesn't trust that they will be treated fairly, and a perception that has been proven accurate by their experiences.
He talks about the divide between the races, and that for instance, white people don't understand what it's like to be targeted by the police, citing the example of driving his wife to the hospital for the birth of their child. Why were they pulled over? Why didn't the officer give a reason why he had pulled them over once he knew all was in order with them, and that they didn't violate any laws (or, why does the officer not offer well wishes on the birth of their child)? Would the officer have treated them differently or told them why he stopped them if Benjamin had been white, even (as Benjamin dreamed) leading them onwards to the hospital as they do in the movies?
As a white male, I believe Benjamin did me a great service in this book. Just as the jury in the movie "A Time to Kill" I was able to close my eyes, as he led me through a story to bring me into the shoes of the "other side" and see it as my own. If this book, and others like it, could just get us to this point, of being able to see the other side, it would serve all of us. I long that one day our children would play together, not seeing any difference in color, same as that time before prejudices set in. I remember in my own youth, when I was in elementary school one of my best friends was a black girl, and I was teased that she was my girlfriend (with implication that it was wrong because of her color, that she was "other"). This was brought back to my memory after reading Benjamin's story about when his innocence was taken (over a white girl he liked). My innocence was also largely taken at that moment. I was made aware of prejudice for the first time.
I am grateful for Benjamin Watson and this book. It has blessed me in countless ways, and is a book I will be recommending highly to all my friends, no matter the color of their skin or the condition of their heart. This is a message we so severaly need in our nation. Thank you, Mr. Watson!
That is my take exactly, but I'd say "maybe it's because I've helped raise 5 black foster children, or maybe it's because I spent 20 years in the Marine Corps where it seemed we were all largly "color blind".
I will also add this review: I appreciate so much what he is trying to do, and his level headed approach... but I did find myself getting angry at times. "We get pulled over by the police for no reason at 3:00 in the morning too!!" I'd yell. Stuff like that. And just the frustration that Mr. Watson cannot seem to connect the dots between his self-admitted behavior of "seeing everything through the race lens" and how powerfully that affects his judgment. Well, he admits it does affect it, but then he turns around and forgets that when he comes to conclusions (like why he got pulled over at 3:00 in the morning). So many times I wished so badly that I could sit down and talk with Mr. Watson for 10 minutes and explain "our side" so much better than his white friend Chris does. I like Benjamin Watson a lot, I think he is a very good man with a great heart and he is trying to do the right thing. This book is filled with a lot of truth and insight. However, I am convinced that the black community's insistence on seeing everything through the lens of race is detrimental to progress. Mr. Watson even goes so far as to write a letter to his yet unborn daughter explaining that "because of your skin tone you will be treated different and many won't like you... etc etc". I think that is a HORRIBLE thing to teach your children - especially if you want to see more harmony between the races. A better thing to teach your child is: "life is not fair, and many people will treat you wrong, you will be misjudged and prejudged. Do not for a minute think this is because of anything at all about you - it is because that is how people are. There are good ones and bad ones, lost ones and found ones. Life is hard, for everyone. You do the right thing and treat others the way you'd like to be treated and judge no person before knowing them… and the good news is no matter how hard life is, no matter how some people may mistreat you, there will always be others who want to help you, there will always be opportunity, there will always be hope in Christ, and you can overcome and rise up and be successful”. In other words teaching your child to NOT see things through the race lens – but rather through the “human nature” lens…. Through the “truth” lens. This is what we all need to teach our children.