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We Gon' Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation
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We Gon' Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation

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4.28  ·  Rating details ·  1,737 ratings  ·  251 reviews
In these provocative, powerful essays acclaimed writer/journalist Jeff Chang (Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, Who We Be) takes an incisive and wide-ranging look at the recent tragedies and widespread protests that have shaken the country. Through deep reporting with key activists and thinkers, passionately personal writing, and distinguished cultural criticism, We Gon’ Be Alright l ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published September 13th 2016 by Picador USA
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Average rating 4.28  · 
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Angela
Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.75 stars. So good. My only issue, which isn't all that big of an issue as you can see by my rating, is it was a bit disjointed at times where he'd go back and forth between certain events in different years. Other than that, I really enjoyed this and can see myself re-reading it in the future.

A couple of things this collection of essays covers:

Diversity- its meaning and purpose but ultimate exploitation (continued exclusion while under the illusion of diversity)

Asian Americans- their "in-betwe
...more
Julie Ehlers
It's hard for me to know what I can say about a book like this that will do it justice. I think literally every American should read this book, and the more you feel like you don't want to, the more you probably should. "The side of love requires that we are uncomfortable."*
Rincey
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poc-author, favorites
See my full review: https://youtu.be/nd87beQ941A ...more
Book Riot Community
I began this book before the election and felt then that it was an important book, but after the election, it began to feel absolutely essential. It’s an essay collection on race in America and covers debates about diversity, histories of student protest, Black Lives Matter, race and the Oscars, what it means to be Asian American, and a thorough retelling of everything that happened in Ferguson. Chang is an excellent writer — clear, incisive, and moving. Anybody who wants to understand America b ...more
Sarah
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
I was blown away by how good these essays are - concise, easy to follow, and a touch lyrical. Chang is so smart and so good at articulating why true equity matters (spoiler alert: it’s love, and everyone, oppressor and oppressed and in between, deserves it) without getting sentimental. He uses timely headlines (#OscarsSoWhite, Bay Area gentrification, Ferguson, Fresh Off the Boat) as a starting point to show how we got here. The central premise is that when it comes to the push for racial equali ...more
Phil Overeem
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Required reading for Americans, with Missouri at the center of two essays, suggested ways forward from where we're at, and a fresh way to look at our young. Chang's yet to write a merely good book. I'll follow where he (and the regular, exceptional people he chronicles) want to take me.
Tonstant Weader
Aug 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
We Gon’ Be Alright is a hopeful demand for liberation, not just for those who are oppressed, but also the liberation of the oppressors. Chang believes that we need the grace of truth and love. He finds his inspiration in the works of James Baldwin and the idea that love is not an emotion, but an action. Love must be the motivation for revolution. Black people must love themselves enough to demand liberation not just for them, but also their oppressors. As Baldwin wrote, “To love all is to fight ...more
Barbara
This is a book to read and then read again. Although the first one or two chapters required concentration, by time I got to the chapter "Hands Up: On Ferguson" I was having strong, visceral reactions - "WHAT?", "OMG", "Oh no, they didn't" and more. I am not someone who is fearful of the police, but if I lived in Ferguson, and saw armoured vehicles and swarms of SWAT officers firing non-lethal but debilitating and painful rounds into crowds, I would be angry at President Obama. He reportedly call ...more
rosa guac
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
one thing that i want to continually challenge myself is to read powerful texts like, 'we gon' be alright' so i can learn and listen to the contemporary voices who bring light to issues of injustice and fucked up shit that are plaguing communities of color, but especially Black and Brown folks.

the last chapter on the 'in-betweeness' of asian americans left me with more questions than answers, but maybe that's the point. it made me reflect on the positionality of my race and privilege in the bro
...more
Taryn
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love that the last words in this book are of love and reconciliation. Lots of processing to do.
Anna
Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: anti-racist
If you have ever thought to yourself “but…All Lives Do Matter…” If you casually said to a friend “I get protesting, but why do they have to disrupt traffic…” If you have ever made the argument “but the person shot was no angel…” Please, read this book.

We Gon’ Be Alright is a poetically written and meticulously researched series of essays that explore the most fraught racial issues of our time. Jeff Chang sheds light on the false promise of shallow “diversity,” campus protests, media representat
...more
jeremy
Aug 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
when a natural disaster tears apart a village, the human tendency is for one neighbor to help another, regardless of whatever feelings they may have had for one another before the catastrophe. but we live in a time when merchants of division draw us away from mutuality and toward the undoing of democracy itself.
a series of essays on race and resegregation, jeff chang's new book, we gon' be alright, is a thought-provoking, measured, and perceptive look at post-ferguson america. exploring a va
...more
Rachel León
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays, read-in-2017
(3.5 stars, rounded up because we need more thoughtful books on race)

I enjoyed Chang's writing style and the essays in this collection are solid. I think the book's limitation is the slimness--it felt a little incomplete. But overall it's a good book.
Ron Bronson
Sep 19, 2016 rated it liked it
This reads better if you skip around and explore the essays than to take a linear path.
Mehrsa
Dec 13, 2016 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this, but it was just a bunch of disjointed essays about Ferguson and then about being asian and a bunch of other stuff. Some good thoughts throughout, but I didn't get much from it
David Kaib
I'm not quite sure to make of this book, but the chapter on Ferguson is excellent.
Katie Shen
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh man, oh my. Jeff Chang’s collection of essays are powerful, eye-opening and show just how much more work needs to be done in modern day society to address racism and to stop the progression of resegregation. A must read.
Kacy
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.75 and rounded up. It's a compelling collection of essays about race, but it felt a little disjointed. If you see this in a bookstore, just take 20 minutes out of your day to read the Ferguson chapter. It's excellent.
Erika
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Short, concise and powerful.
Jolene
This is another must-read. I especially appreciated the chapter on Ferguson and the one about how cities have been racially constructed.
Orgio Orgil
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an eye-opening book on the subject I seem to know some but understand little. As a minority living in this great melting-pot of diverse groups of peoples I could relate to some of stories mentioned in the book. Besides, I am thankful that I was also able to see my own biases and misunderstandings on many other cultures, communities and their people. Ultimately, I sincerely believe we gon’ be alright...

“Culture, like food, is necessary to sustain us. It molds us and shapes our relations to e
...more
James
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
"We Gon' Be Alright" was recommended to me by a teacher I work with; and, I'm glad he did. Chang's collection of essays focuses how race impacts America today, and the history behind the struggle for equality. My favorite essays in the collection were: "Is Diversity for White People?" "What Time to Be Alive: On Student Protests" and "Hands Up: On Ferguson." Chang's main point in writing these essays is to show that inequality and segregation impacts everyone. He writes, "our destinies are inter- ...more
Ellen
Dec 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
I found this really informative and a well-researched and well-rounded account of the events and movements discussed. I found Jeff Chang's essay on Ferguson enlightening, as it gave a 360-view of the incident and resulting movement, not just what was shown through the news. I initially found the In-Betweens essay to be confusing but eventually eye-opening. I especially appreciated the essay on gentrification, seeing it happen in real-time here in DC and hearing about it at home in the Bay Area. ...more
DM
Sep 24, 2016 added it
After Ferguson, a small library-I forget the name- published a book list entitled "Ferguson Book List". This list contained literature, from children's books to biographies to fictional stories, all of which helped the reader understand historically and culturally all that is going on. To gain a deeper knowledge, to help the converation. This book should be added to that list.

Jeff Chang address the issue's that have occured through Ferguson and the ideas that have sprung from it, drawing a littl
...more
Hilary Martin
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
The first two thirds of this book are an overview of racism-related topics (mostly focusing on Ferguson, which was interesting). Then the author does an abrupt left turn and takes a fascinating deep dive into Asian-American racism. Then he takes another turn and inexplicably describes Beyonce's Lemonade video in detail.
Mrs. Danvers
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
A small book that packs a very large punch.
Geo
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The way Jeff Chang weaves historical and data research into current shits is amazing. He brings that local, conversational talk story tradition to his writing that's rare these days.
Tani
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Race is an issue that I'm working on educating myself more thoroughly in, given the issues of the times, and I think that this was a good choice in that quest. As a white girl who grew up in a small white town, race was something that I rarely had to think about as a child and young adult, which makes it very important for me to seek out information now. Thankfully, there are wonderful people like Jeff Chang out there to help me out.

This basically is a collection of standalone essays that are e
...more
Justin Leong
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Chang informatively ties together the history of segregation with where we are today regarding race relations in America. Easy read yet surprisingly eloquent and poetic in moments.

I picked this up because I hoped I'd gain more perspective on Asian American racial identity and struggle, particularly in the greater context of the country's racial issues. I wasn't disappointed - Chang touches on the significance of small aggressions such as Chris Rock's Asian joke during #oscarsowhite, to how the
...more
Joanna
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Chang says difficult things in a way that makes people listen. The earlier, more theoretical section of the book feels rushed, with strangely compressed syntax, but Chang seems to hit his stride when he deals with more specific historical events. The section on Ferguson is particularly powerful; even though the images of that summer have become familiar to everyone, Chang's moment by moment presentation added a whole new level to my understanding.
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Jeff Chang has written extensively on culture, politics, the arts, and music.

His first book, Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, garnered many honors, including the American Book Award and the Asian American Literary Award. He edited the book, Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop. Who We Be: The Colorization of America, was released on St. Martin's Press in Octobe
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You know the saying: There's no time like the present...unless you're looking for a distraction from the current moment. In that case, we can't...
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“Institutional neglect of racism and injustice is the exercise of power, the kind of power that refuses to notice and refuses to speak.” 2 likes
“People of color are allowed, even required to perform, and, especially these days on issues of race, to edify as well.
'Here you are, now entertain us'.
But are we allowed to lead?”
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