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How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy, and the Racial Divide

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4.37  ·  Rating details ·  388 ratings  ·  88 reviews
How to Be Less Stupid About Race is your essential guide to breaking through the half-truths and ridiculous misconceptions that have thoroughly corrupted the way race is represented in the classroom, pop culture, media, and politics. Centuries after our nation was founded on genocide, settler colonialism, and slavery, many Americans are kinda-sorta-maybe waking up to the r ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 18th 2018 by Beacon Press
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4.37  · 
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 ·  388 ratings  ·  88 reviews


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Ellie
This was a challenging and very rewarding book to read. It is like listening to a friend sharing but also calling you out on your ignorance and collusion with an ugly status quo. Is is uncompromising.in its portrayal of racism in the United States as structural and pervasive.

Fleming's premise is that people are stupid about race because the society has taught them to be and because, if they are white, it benefits them in many ways to be so. Her book is an effort to provide the kind of historica
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Corvus
My first assumption about "How to be Less Stupid About Race" was that it was a book likely targeting beginners in the realm of those seeking racial justice- a 101 of sorts. I suppose it was the title that made me think that. Upon reading it, I quickly realized that that assumption was false. If you're not familiar with words like "hegemony" and "heteropatriarchy," you will need to be willing to open google or your dictionary on occasion while reading this book. This is not a good or bad thing, j ...more
BMR, LCSW
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I won an uncorrected proof in a Goodreads giveaway.

Another very fast read, you could finish it in 3 uninterrupted hours.

This is another book about White Supremacy in the US (mostly).

The people that need to read this book won't. THAT is a shame.

Recommended for those who are TRULY committed to anti-racism work, and fighting oppression in all forms (racial, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, etc.).

It's all the same fight, and none of us are free until ALL of us are free.
Andre
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow, well done Ms. Fleming. Another voice and book added to that ever expanding canon, race studies? Combating white supremacy? Not sure what the category will eventually be titled but work dealing with racism, white supremacy and writing from a f**k your feelings perspective is becoming more and more and more prevalent.

So, Ms. Fleming leans a little to the academic side with flashes of memoir and it works well. She is a scholar on race and I think that’s important. For people who study this ra
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Kelly 💜☕️
4.5 stars, rounded down

Such a great read.

Thanks to San Diego County Library for the digital audio version via Libby app.

[Audio: 7 hours, 45 minutes]
Alyssa Nelson
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

This is a book that we NEED right now. It’s a no-nonsense look at where we are and how we’re inundated with denial and misunderstandings about what white supremacy is and how it works. For those struggling to understand why things are the way they are and why people seem so brazen about their racism now, this is the book for you! Fleming shows just how deeply entrenched white supremacy is
...more
Mya Alexice
MUST-READ. I have yet to find a book on race that I agree with so completely. This is a fantastic introduction to race theory in the United States in a practical, accessible way. Hopefully it is as accessible as I think, because I already study race in a university setting. Either way, give it a go. Slam dunk for Crystal Fleming and for Beacon Press.
Nathan Brant
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dr. Fleming took me to school.

This book was both hard and important in more ways than one. 1) For the first 100 pages, I needed to read every word of every sentence like it was a chemistry tome. Every line on the page was suffused with meaning that I had to focus on if I wanted to absorb. It is a dense read, but well worth the time. As you continue, Dr. Fleming makes it easier with anecdotes and an easy-going, personable writing style. 2) I have not made a study of race relations in America. I h
...more
Jaden Farley
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I didn't read the entire book, but the parts I did read I enjoyed a lot!
Emily Buehler
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading this book. It presents a candid and wide picture of oppression: mostly examining racism in America but also bringing in other forms of oppression around the world and dating back through human history. The big picture explanation helped me see the pattern we’re stuck in. I also appreciated the idea that it’s hard to see past a patriarchal, white supremacist society when you’ve been socialized within one.

The author studied critical race theory and includes citations throughout the
...more
Bookworm
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
The title had me hooked. Blunt and straight to the point. I had read other, somewhat similar books along the lines of similar concepts so I was very excited to see this picked up at the library. Author Fleming takes the reader through the hows and whys of racism, breaking down the systemic nature of it, why we still where we are now, and what we can do for the future.

Or something like that. I was genuinely surprised to see the numerous positive reviews, because the book was a mess. It's a mix of
...more
Katy Carver Rees
Oct 12, 2018 rated it liked it
This book definitely made me think. But I also felt the author made many claims without backing them up. I really wanted to love this book, but in the end I came out with thinking it was just okay. The book made me want to learn more about racism and what I can do to fight against it, but did not make me feel less stupid about race.
Colleen
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was very glad to have read the book, as uncomfortable as Fleming may often have made me feel. She offers a persuasive argument for the existence of systemic racism; although I feel I have been aware of this esp. since the current administration, I hadn’t thought enough about the need for all Americans to do the work to actually educate ourselves - to purposefully study race and racism. I must say it was disconcerting that she sees Obama as “King of Neoliberal tokenism” (although I see her poin ...more
Joan
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
I chose this book because I believe, as the author says, “Loving across our racial differences involves learning about racism and taking a hard look at how prejudice and systemic discrimination continue to reproduce racial inequities...Real love, in the service of social justice means”. ..telling hard truths, facing the depths of individual and collective suffering and working together...(p159)

This hard look shows many toxic undercurrents I had missed, such as:
An analysis of major news organizat
...more
Keri
Mar 14, 2019 added it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was a fine book, but not my favorite on racism. Not all of it was about how to be less stupid about race, for example the chapter on why she no longer likes Obama. There was a section on interracial relationships in which she talks about the sordid history of white men preying on women and girls of color and then turns right around and ships on Meghan and Harry. Didn't get that. I very much appreciated the idea list at the end of things one can do.
HTL
WONDERFUL BOOK.

I teach sociology, so this is in my wheelhouse and I’m familiar with the rhetoric used. If not, you’ll definitely need to look up words that might be new to you.

I listed to this as an audiobook (library) and found myself nodding along while driving. Yes, yes, yes. I’ll probably buy this to have a physical book for my office. I want to share passages with my students. Especially important to me were the historical accounts. I’m constantly telling my students how important social
...more
Heidi
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Required reading for fellow well-meaning liberal white people. Frank (blunt at times) and witty, Fleming offers helpful advice grounded by evidence and solid theory. Get ready to have some of your notions and standards challenged (for example, she is really tough on Obama and the NY Times).
Edward Sullivan
Fleming's anger and exasperation are palpable, her critiques of America's systemic racism intelligent and incisive, and her suggestions for becoming racially literate wise and practical. A sharp, witty social critique that will prompt much self-reflection, conversation, and action.
Anne
Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This will require rereading because it was thought provoking. It will require work.
Elle
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
PREACH! This is a book that everyone should read or listen, and then discuss, but sadly only a minority of the populace will since the dumbing down of America is winning!

I am learning that you do not have to be smart ONLY IN CHARGE.

Disc(s) 1 & 2 (tracks 1 - 9); Chapter 2: Listen to Black Women
Tuesday → Disc(s) 2 (tracks 10 - 19) & 3 (tracks 1 -5);
Wednesday → Disc(s) 3 (tracks 6 - 16);
Thursday → Disc(s) 3 (tracks 17 - 19) - 6 (track 1); &
Friday → Disc 6 (tracks 2- 17)
Jennifer
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another really helpful and down-to-earth explanation of racism, white supremacy, and why we all need to educate ourselves more on these sensitive but critical topics.
Amy
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very frank, sometimes offensive... But so much truth!
Emily
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent guidance on how to be a more courageous and productive antiracist.
Elizabeth Burton
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
A bit of background. I met my first person of color at the age of 17, my freshman year of college in 1965. She was a classmate from Philadelphia. I also had my first experience of blatant racism that same year, as my cousin and I boarded in the home of an Irish cop whose opinions of the African Americans he was supposed to protect and serve were appalling.

And I knew they were appalling, even though I’d never had any real education in racism. The trouble was, I was a child of the ‘50s, where chil
...more
Amy
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fleming, a disillusioned former Obama supporter and disgruntled New York Times reader, writes convincingly about racism in the U.S. using academic language to prove her point and Black vernacular to editorialize. We can be less stupid by understanding how racism is systemic, not blaming it on an individual character flaw. Fleming recommends individual action to support anti-racism. It's unclear how she proposes to move systemic anti-racism forward after abandoning both presidential politics and ...more
Marie
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: racism
"There is no biological basis to dividing humans into racial categories."

"The modern ideas about racial differences were articulated gradually between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, in the aftermath of European colonial expansion and the onset of the transatlantic slave trade."

"Europeans wanted to exploit other human beings for material profit, take shit that didn't belong to time, and feel good about it in the process." The mythology of white superiority and scientific racism developed
...more
K
I discovered Dr. Crystal Marie Fleming, a Harvard-trained sociologist, on Twitter, where she is endlessly provocative in a way that makes me marvel at her bravery while she is ‘wig-snatching white supremacy.’ Her confidence in saying the most jaw-dropping things about our country compelled me to buy her book, How to Be Less Stupid About Race. You can follow her on Twitter too. Her account name is @alwaystheself.

Her book is different than her Twitter account (more humble) as she recounts her lear
...more
Natalie G
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When in talks about being woke, they are sometimes based on a limited set of experiences and surface level information on racism and injustice. Sometimes you are awoken after being fed up of the back to back series of police brutality without consequence. Crystal arms us with a comprehensive and multidimensional view of race and racism not only in the United States, but schools us on European colonialism, Brazilian complex racial paradigms and how racism intersects with sexism, classism, feminis ...more
Kay
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
So many thoughts about this book.

One: A spirit of thankfulness. It's Sociology 101 and folks like myself on occasion find it difficult to articulate the ills of white supremacy, heterosexism, and the ties of our history to the present. Dr. Fleming does a great job of laying it out and encouraging readers to do their own research thereafter. This work serves as a great refresher book as well.

Two: F*ck your feelings. Check them at the door. Honestly, Dr. Fleming isn't here to coddle you and make y
...more
Meg
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book takes work. It is only a couple hundred pages, but it took me several weeks to work through it. It is very academic, with studies and statistics cited, yet very personal/personable in tone. (Fleming writes like she is calling out a friend on their cluelessness.) She broke my heart with a lot of information about how Barack Obama, whom I adore as a funny and charming intellectual, condoned the killing of civilians in the Middle East, stymied the free press, defended Wall Street, and dec ...more
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Crystal Marie Fleming, PhD, is a writer and sociologist who researches racism in the United States and abroad. She earned degrees from Wellesley College and Harvard University and is associate professor of sociology and Africana studies at Stony Brook University. Fleming writes about race, sexuality, and politics for publications including The Root, Black Agenda Report, Vox, and Everyday Feminism,
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