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Things That Make White People Uncomfortable
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Things That Make White People Uncomfortable

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  1,910 ratings  ·  397 reviews
Super Bowl Champion and three-time Pro Bowler Michael Bennett is an outspoken proponent for social justice and a man without a censor.

Michael Bennett is a Super Bowl Champion, a three time Pro Bowl defensive end, a fearless activist, a feminist, a grassroots philanthropist, an organizer, and a change maker. He's also one of the most scathingly humorous athletes on the plan
Hardcover, 220 pages
Published April 3rd 2018 by Haymarket Books
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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 ·  1,910 ratings  ·  397 reviews

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Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Seattle Seahawk Pro Bowler Michael Bennett has an opinion on pretty much everything, and I loved reading every one of them. Just a look at the table of contents will give you a pretty good idea of what this book is about: The NCAA is some BS, NFL Reality, Without Food Your Ass is Doing to Die, Black Lives Matter, Intersectionality Also Matters, Our Daughters Are Changemakers, Athletes United. Michael Bennett boils complicated issues down into simple statements of decency. He pulls no punches and ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Michael Bennett is known for his time in the NFL, but also used his platform as a professional athlete to talk about his experience as a black man in America. His chapter on the NCAA and PTSD should be read by everyone in academia, and his commentary on the NFL (predominantly white men in positions of power, the fact that they call themselves owners, the treatment of Colin K, etc) is also important reading. I may have skimmed some of the sportsing stuff but that's just me. .
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2018
As an NFL fan who sat during the anthem in solidarity with players like Bennett at the last NFL game I attended, I was hugely excited to be sent an ARC of this book to review. Part personal memoir, part political statement (and it isn't lost on me that how extremely sad it is that a black man standing up for the rights of minorities and women is a political statement instead of widely held and shared belief), Bennett's voice and his passion shine through. His message is an important one, and inc ...more
Maurissa Mitchem
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
The “things that make white people uncomfortable” are subtlety addressed throughout. However, anyone who reads this should become uncomfortable and ask him/herself, “Am I doing enough for the betterment of my community, the community at large and mankind?”

He challenges our tendency to believe that as long as “me and mine are fine” we’ve done enough, and are not morally or socially responsible to do something about the rampant injustices domestically and worldwide.

A brilliantly combined memoir
Apr 01, 2018 rated it liked it
More like 3.5 REVIEW 👉🏾 Michael Bennett was a defensive end for the Seattle Seahawks, now of the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL and is a thoughtful and conscious guy, fully woke. He has some thoughts he would like to share with the general public and this book is the result of his missions. Written with the very capable Dave Zirin. Dave has written other books with athletes, his book with Craig Hodges, Long Shot comes to mind. It was really his effort with that work, that led me to this one.

Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

I'm going to be biased, I'm a good white liberal in Seattle and Michael Bennett is my favorite Seahawk, purely for his advocacy for literacy programs and his activism. (Also the bike ride.) I knew he was writing a book and I was excited to review it, as I know it's going to be a hot item here.

Bennett (with the help of Dave Zirin) writes with a smart, funny, engaging voice about subjects he's clearly deeply invested in, namely food
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, non-fiction, teen
Excellent. I don't care one whit about football (and indeed I skipped over parts that were too football-y for me) and, in fact, I admit I really only vaguely knew who Michael Bennett is when I started it. But I'll say this, I am now a huge fan of this human who works for change and understanding and isn't afraid to stand up for what he believes. This book is inspiring, thought provoking and made me teary-eyed more than once.
Danni Green
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I grabbed this one from the New Nonfiction shelf at the library. I have no interest in football and had never heard of the author before, which actually made it really interesting to read because I was able to assess that the author did a really good job of contextualizing the sports references for people who aren’t familiar with that world, without it distracting from the content or feeling condescending. Overall: Michael Bennett has some very important things to say about race and racism, and ...more
While what constitutes "whiteness" is a matter of debate, and I don't view myself as being "white" (and as a Jew, I'm sure that racists would agree with that), this book ended up making me a bit uncomfortable anyway.

Watching (American) football has always been a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. Well, I suppose I'd say that I didn't find it a GUILTY pleasure until I read "League of Denial" by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru (highly recommended, by the way) and saw just how the NFL (and the
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
but it's so much easier to talk shit than to do shit, because once you are out there representing what you believe, people see the real you. most everybody in the world wears a mask, and very rarely do people unveil who they really are. and i've done that. i'm naked here. so i'm going to be judged by strangers on the core of who i am, and, yes, that makes me vulnerable and it can even feel terrifying.
former seattle seahawk defensive end (and now current philadelphia eagle!) michael bennett h
Apr 18, 2018 rated it liked it
A fairly introductory primer to some of Michael Bennett's political and social justice thoughts. It's all told in a very conversational and entertaining style by Bennett himself. I'm not sure what Dave Zirin brought in.

I recently read an interview with Zirin in The Jacobin that kind of alluded to some of the things he and Bennett talked about during the writing of this book. Because of that I expected a little more from this thing. Some points of the book had me questioning who this book would
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This is not only an eloquent and clear-sighted look at race relations in the US but a call to action. He beautifully describes what Black Lives Matter means and explains NFL players taking a knee (I honestly would love to send a copy to older relatives just for those sections) but also details other ways the cards are stacked against black Americans from lack of nutritional foods readily available in inner city areas to the school to prison pipeline. And he doesn't just point out the problems wi ...more
Kendall Grey
My son is a huge Seattle Seahawks fan. Knowing I was very interested in the Black Lives Matter movement and social justice, he told me he heard this book was coming out in 2018. I happened to be at Barnes & Noble one night and went looking for it on a whim. I grabbed the hardback and a coffee, sat down in the Starbucks café, and started reading. Martellus Bennett’s prologue grabbed me. Chapter one hooked me. I bought the book that night, brought it home, and it sat on my shelf for two years unti ...more
Mark Ballinger
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommended to Mark by: The Stranger
Shelves: memoir
The thing that made this white man uncomfortable was the reminder how damaging football is. My fandom of football is a serious guilty pleasure, and while the horrible tragedy of brain injury is not unknown, and the terrible treatment of college players under the umbrella of vast wealth gains by predominately white beneficiaries is not unknown, this book is a clear-headed reminder of this enabling.

I appreciate Michael Bennett's message about Black Lives Matter and the many athletes of color who h
Taryn Haumann
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
I *really* wanted to like this book, but it was tough for me to get through. The forward and intro are amazing and I had high hopes. Ultimately I think Bennett's thoughts get a bit jumbled and he doesn't make his points clear. It is much more football focused than anticipated, and I love football. Two particular points of frustration: his dismissive nature of teammates who have a history of violence against women and the chapter on intersectionailty.
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Michael Bennett's book is touching, eye-opening and tear-inspiring. Overall it's an homage to what we can be, as a global society. People standing together out of love, not fear, to break down that which oppresses and deprives some many around us.

Highly recommended. It'll inspire you, motivate you, and make you thankful for the opportunity to make a positive change in the world around you.

Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book. I don't really care about football, but I'm now a fan of Michael Bennett. I wasn't really uncomfortable but I did appreciate his candid discussion of race in America.
Cynthia (Bingeing On Books)
I thought this was a very interesting read and the author made some great points about football, the NFL, and the problem with TBI's in his sport. I also liked hearing about life lessons he has learned along the way and his views on Colin Kaepernick. My main issue with the book though is that the topic didn't really seemed to fit the title. I don't think there was anything in here that inherently made me uncomfortable. In fact, there were a few chapters where he didn't mention race at all and he ...more
Jun 15, 2019 added it
I borrowed this because I thought it was written by a comedian I think (can you tell I don't pay attention to American football?) So! Unexpected and good - criticism of race in sport, Black Lives Matters, intersectionality, food justice (!!) and more. While reading I wrote an email to an elected official about a proposed law that will have racial impact in my province because as Bennet points out posting shit to twitter is not the same as acting. So - do more of that.
Natalie Park
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
4.5 stars. This is a wonderful read filled with a bit of everything - sports, racism, social justice, feminism, etc. it was surprising and illuminating.
Ariana Sanders
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! There is a young adult version that I bet would be great for my students. This book is far more than the title would suggest. A look at the experience of a college and pro athlete, rising up from humble beginnings, being educated, a little Seahawks locker room talk, and using your platform for good even when people tell you to play football and shut up.
Kristin Boldon
Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, own, memoir
My husband the Eagles fan recommended this, and it a solid set of essays on one man's awakening and support of social justice. Bennett is deservedly a confident man, and had some excellent insight on the business of sports that chews up and spits out most athletes. There was more on the brotherhood of the Seattle locker room than I needed, and rather more in general of name dropping and self quoting. Nonetheless, a good behind the scenes look into college and professional sports, and how athlete ...more
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wow, who knew NFL player Michael Bennett was a visionary justice warrior with a world-wide view, and the sensibilities for community outreach? He is, and he does, and he has the writing chops to tell us all about it. For a lady who hates sports, this book was so much more than I expected. Bravo, Michael, and keep fighting the good fight!
Fraser Kinnear
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
The title of the book led me to believe that this was going to be a snide or maybe even vindictive polemic about race in America today. That absolutely wasn't the case. Michael Bennett has a big heart, and while there are a few somber or angry moments, for the most part Bennett is wonderfully optimistic and inclusive.

Why write this book? "I fear not being heard... I fear that people will just see the gesture of sitting during the anthem and not hear my reasons. Or they'll accept the distortions
Steve Brown
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I loved this book. Very easy read and yet a tough read.
It only took a couple of nights to finish this, but there were so many messages.
I think the biggest thing I got from this was that Michael Bennett puts his time, energy, and money where his mouth is.

He talks a lot about the harsh conditions college and pro athletes live with in regards to their bodies and being told what they can and can't do. Some of his big causes are Black Lives Matter, nutrition, women's rights, politics, black hist
Randall Wallace
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
70% of Pro Football players are black. This book is about how the country sees “us as heroes on the field, and disposable off the field.” Michael’s brother Martellus said, “no one says ‘stick to sports’ when you are using your spare time to sell McDonalds. Only when you try to effect change.” Michael says, “If you are being silent, you are making a choice and taking a side.” You can’t pretend to care if I take a knee and then not care if I do endorsement deals that hawk expensive stuff or bad fo ...more
Eddie Black
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is June 2020 and with all of the events happening, I wanted someone to talk to. Unfortunately, I’m on deployment to Somalia. Still, I was wanting to read something from someone other than an academic telling me their college thesis. Especially if that person was white. I didn’t want pundits. Didn’t want a liberal or conservative view.

I saw the book on Haymarket Press and got it because it is with Haymarket Press and also it was written by a black man.

I’m not a fanatic for the NFL and mainly
Jason Grossmann-Ferris
This book didn't do what it was supposed to! Although it added a valuable perspective on many of the issues prevalent in American society, it didn't speak to me because it was simply reiterating a lot of things that I hear people complain about on the daily: racism, police violence, poverty, and the NFL. One of the only differences is that he has inside information on the life of an actual NFL player and knows how to communicate it effectively to an audience that may not have lots of experience ...more
Meron Semere
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is an a simulating reading experience. Michael Bennet analyzes his own life in the main themes of race, privilege, intersectionality, gender, and football. Football is the main way that most people define Michael Bennet and he opens with that. Michael Bennet seen in his own experience theres a societal push for black and brown men to go on the path to become pro athletes. College athletes and student athletes endure a lot with nothing in it for them. He connects that with privilege as ...more
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
Though I have read a number of books that tackle these same topics, I am especially appreciative of this one - because Bennett is a famous football player, I anticipate that there will be readers drawn to this book who might not otherwise pick up a text centering on race and class issues in today's America.

p. xx "It makes some people so angry to see us taking a stand (or taking a knee). I get that they watch football to escape, and they view us as entertainers . . . But we aren't machines. We ar
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Michael Bennett is a three-time Pro Bowler, Pro Bowl MVP, Super Bowl Champion, and two-time NFC Champion. He has gained international recognition for his public support for the Black Lives Matter Movement, women’s rights, and other social justice causes. In 2017, he was named one of the 100 Most Influential African Americans by The Root, was the Seattle Seahawks nominee for the NFL’s Walter Payton ...more

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