As much as I appreciate J. Kameron Carter’s work already and look forward to his forth coming book, Race: A Theological Account, I worry that many people will simply pick up his book and begin to engage race from a contemporary starting point.
Carter is making a critique of Cone, but Carter is also indebted to Cone in a number of fundamental ways. Black theology would not exist today the way it is, if it were not for the space that Cone created (not to mention the entire tradition stretching back centuries even). I suggest that, and I myself will be doing this this summer to refresh and learn things I do not know, we must go back to reading W.E.B. DuBois and others that have carried the tradition forward. Carter, as far as I understand, is still very much in his tradition and we must seek it out. We must not be lazy. Honest theological discussion is hard work.
Also, in some respects, Carter is seeking a fulfillment to what Cone has been yelling about for years, mostly to deaf ears. Cone insists that race is a theological problem. Yet still theology by and large has avoided such a topic. Interestingly, Carter’s book, by virtue of its title alone, is addressing Cone’s direction at the same time it deconstructs and reconstructs. To understand Carter, we will need to understand Cone.