Tuesday, June 26, 2018

White Fragility: a book review

White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

by Robin DiAngelo

Released June 26, 2018

Beacon Press

Having recently finished When They Call You a Terrorist about the Black Lives Matter movement, White Fragility is a great follow-up. But even if you haven't read the other, this is a necessary read for white people in the U.S.

Race relations are in a tough spot, especially with the current political climate. Many of us white people may have thought racism and discrimination were a thing of the past, but it is vital that we understand these things persist.

With a PhD in multicultural education, Robin DiAngelo -- a white woman -- leads university courses, as well as corporate training in multicultural teaching, inter-group dialogue facilitation, cultural diversity, social justice, and anti-racist education.

In White Fragility, DiAngelo explores the subtle and not-so-subtle ways whites uphold racism, perhaps without realizing it. She gives many examples from her consulting experience that show how we get in our own way in understanding racial issues and how we effectively cut off dialogue that could be productive.

She talks about phrases that aren't helpful, like "I have a black friend" or "my family member married/adopted a person of color" or "I marched in the 60s" and explains why these statements don't exclude the speakers from racist tendencies.

I learned a ton in this book, and I plan to keep reading and learning and listening as much as I can about social justice. I encourage other white people to do the same.

I highly recommend White Fragility as a great starting place. This is a book that white people should read. I'm not sure whether there is much value in this book for people of color other than to reinforce what they have already experienced, but if you are a person of color who has read this book, let me know your thoughts.

Disclaimer: I received an advance-read copy of this book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. I used Amazon affiliate links in this post. Should you choose to buy something through those links, you will not pay any extra, but they will send me a small fee, which I will likely add to my book fund. Thank you. Please see my Book Review Disclaimer for more information.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

When They Call You a Terrorist: a book review

When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir

by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele

Released January 16, 2018

St. Martin's Press



I had been wanting to read this book since hearing Rebecca Schinsky talk about it on the All The Books podcast earlier this year. I bought my copy from the museum gift shop at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

When They Call You a Terrorist is a memoir that follows Patrisse Khan-Cullors and her family as they experience police throughout their lives. She writes matter-of-factly about the times her brothers are detained by the police without merit, the time her partner is pulled from their bed in the middle of the night because he fits the description of some minor crime that just happened, her brother's experiences in and out of prison and how he is denied his mental health medication while there.

It all paints a vivid picture of how different people of color experience day-to-day life in the United States.

Khan-Cullors started the hashtag #blacklivesmatter during a written discussion with a friend. Along with a few others, Khan-Cullors went on to turn that into a movement with peaceful protests and speaking up at political events, on Rodeo Drive, and anywhere they could. By the time she builds to this part of her life, the reader is able to better understand why it was so necessary.

Khan-Cullors also describes her experiences as a queer black woman, as well as that of other people of color from the LGBTQ community.

This is an important book at a time when white people like me are trying to understand the deep-rooted anger and fear that our counterparts of color have experienced all along. Where have we been? How could we have missed this?

Whether you are interested in the Black Lives Matter movement (and you should be) or you just like a good memoir, this book is for you. It is not an easy read because of the content and the questions you will find yourself struggling with, but it is a necessary read.

Disclaimer: I used Amazon affiliate links in this post. Should you choose to buy something through those links, you will not pay any extra, but they will send me a small fee, which I will likely add to my book fund. Thank you. Please see my Book Review Disclaimer for more information.

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