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

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  953 ratings  ·  190 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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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
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, non-fiction
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
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
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 has
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
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
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.
Michael Linsner
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.

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
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.
Kristin Boldon
Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, memoir, own
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
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
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
Camille McCarthy
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I learned a lot about football from this book. I never paid much attention since I didn't grow up with it, and I also thought the student athletes did get some kind of compensation, so I was surprised to learn that NCAA athletes do not get paid for being on the football team, even though they are risking much injury to their bodies, especially from concussions. I agree with Michael Bennett that they should be paid for this, as it is a legitimate job to be on a team like that, where you are expe ...more
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was pleasantly surprised with this book. Michael Bennett is a Super Bowl Champion, a three-time Pro Bowl defensive end, and what surprised me was he is also an activist, a feminist, a person not only concerned with the rights of of black athletes, but also speaks on and is a supporter of women's rights. He speaks about racism and police violence, Black athletes and their relationship to powerful institutions like the NCAA and the NFL, the role of protests in history, and the responsibilities o ...more
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Though this book had been recommended to me several times, I kept passing it by because I thought it would focus on football and I'm not much of a fan. Well, Bennett did talk a lot about football, but not in the way I might have expected - he uses it as a lens to look at racism in America as well as a means to create change. There is of course much more to the book than football, as Bennett goes through deeply thoughtful analyses of the black lives matter movement, protests on and off the field, ...more
Lee Ann
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-faves
I've been a fan of Michael Bennett as a football player. I liked him even more when I saw his leadership with respect to fighting racism in America through anthem protests at the game.

And I know from pressers he is funny, self-assured, and doesn't suffer fools!

He's also a very compelling writer. He writes with passion about racism (as you'd expect with a title like this) and sexism. About the culture in sports. Family. Football. And politics.

What I liked best was how he showed us through stories
Definitely one for school libraries. I am not a football fan and didn't know who Michael Bennett was before reading this book, but I have come to respect him for speaking up and speaking out. In his simple words, he write with humility and courage and I admire him. I think students who love the Seahawks, love football can find a hero in him. He critiques the NFL. He stands up for Black Lives Matter, women, Palestinians, forgiveness, healthy foods, intersectionality, solidarity. It really is hard ...more
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Michael Bennett has to be one of the most compassionate public figures today. His book (and attitude and actions) are so inspiring and I’m glad I picked it up. Not only does he identify and care about a variety of social issues, he’s taking concrete action and demonstrating his passion through it — and it sounds like he’s inspiring others to do the same. He certainly re-motivated me to commit to acting for social justice. It’s an engaging read that anyone feeling down about current events should ...more
Alex Bear
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction-read
Well thought out and written. Humorous at times and straight to the point. Of course he had the help of seasoned editors, but I couldn't write well, clear, knowledgeably, and concise if I was working out and training for hours a day, then dealing with press, and putting in that much time into nonprofits. Hell, I can't even write clear, paragraph long book reviews even though I just sit at a desk all day. Much respect for this guy, and probably my favorite book on race relations since the last Ta ...more
Tim Mccaskey
Sep 05, 2018 rated it liked it
I recommend the book especially for those looking for thoughtful takes on sports, BLM, or other social justice-related issues (a friend told me this book introduced the term "intersectionality" to him, so that's a plus.) Maybe a 3.5 - I didn't rate it higher because the chapters shift focus quickly and I felt toward the end of the book he did less of the style of writing I liked at the beginning and more promotion of all the (admittedly admirable) things he does and promotes. Came away respectin ...more
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Damn good book, and a damn fitting title considering the topics it ranges over. Covers an activist-athlete's life from growing up to involvement in contemporary movements like BLM and food justice, to intersectionality, to family. Punchy and non-florid writing is greatly appreciated after some recent ventures that were dense and dated. Highly recommended for anybody, but especially for those who saw Kaep kneel and said, "I want to know more, but don't know where to start"
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Damn! Wow!
It is not often that I want to write an author a letter of gratitude.
This book woke me up and also rang true with some of the things
that I have observed about professional and college sports.
I think Mr. Bennett is amazing and I want him to be very careful while he
continues to fight for what he believes in.
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've never watched a single football game but I've lived in Seattle for 17 years so I know the Seahawks are a big deal and their players are cool people. I was at the library a few days ago and this book "Things That Make White People Uncomfortable" with a "peak picks" sticker jumped off the shelf into my hands. I breezed through it and totally loved it. Michael Bennett is a hero and an inspiration.

My, almost 60 year old, living in Nevada, parents are big Seahawks fans... so I'm getting them thi
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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
“At this point, I think if you’re being silent, you’re making a choice and taking a side.” 2 likes
“I was also proud. Wow. We got under the skin of the president of the United States. I was grateful. Even though he disagreed with us, he turned it into a worldwide conversation. Maybe he wasn’t willing to have a discussion with us about what we were protesting and why it mattered. No beer summit for us. But his comments did allow for us to go global with the problems of racial inequality in this country.” 2 likes
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