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304 pages, ebook
First published January 14, 2015
Although the primary utilization of this book is centered on the psychological aspects of racial dialogues viz. “race talk,” it also exposes the irrational fears, attitudes, and beliefs, inherent in our (The United States) society. It is about the persistent avoidance of honest dialogues on race that may uncover the true inequalities and injustices inflicted on people of color. What talking about race does is open the dialogue and allow a view of the lived experience of those who suffer from oppression. It potentially grasps these experiences and presents the possibility of moving the reader from a perceived nonracist being into the realm of antiracism.
From the nonracist point of view, one can be silent on the topic of race and hold firm in inaction. However, this stance may only serve to perpetuate the inadequacies of an unjust system. Does it not require action to truly become an antiracist? Think of the labels used to describe people of color. Would those same labels be used to describe a White person? The fact is that everyday race is talked about; however, the way in which it is discussed is usually within the context of a clash between racial realities. Moreover, attempts to focus the dialogue towards constructive patterns, tends to push the emotional hot buttons of those involved.
What race talk does is evoke strategies of avoidance from the same people who claim to not be racists (nonracists). Consider this question: “Can anyone born and raised in our [the United States] society not inherit the racial biases of our ancestors and institutions [emphasis added] (Sue, 2015, p. 13)? If you actually take the time to consider that question, you may find that it is impossible to escape “…our social conditioning and…internalizing biases and prejudices…” (Sue, 2015, p. 13). Most importantly,
If denying one’s role in the perpetuation of inequities can no longer be place on lack of awareness or naïveté, and if one realizes that silence and inaction are to collude in the oppressions of others, we must ask, How is it possible to allow situations of oppression and injustice to continue without taking personal responsibility to end them (Sue, 2015, p.33)?
More than anything, this is what the book is about. If this has made you uncomfortable; if it has made you question your own complicity in perpetuating injustice and equality; if you are, right now, feeling anger, shame, guilt, etc. then, it is time for you to read this book. I hope you enjoy your journey, and I hope you take the time to reflect on what you read. Maybe, you will start to see things from a different perspective? Just maybe, you might start to realize what is required from you if you truly believe you are not a racist.