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Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  579 ratings  ·  69 reviews
Continuously at the top of New Society Publishers’ best-seller list for five years, Uprooting Racism has sold over 25,000 copies since its first printing. Substantially revised and expanded, the new edition has more tools to help white people understand and stand-up to racism.

Uprooting Racism explores the manifestations of racism in politics, work, community, and family life. It move/>Uprooting
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 1st 2002 by New Society Publishers (first published November 1st 1995)
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May 09, 2013 rated it did not like it
This book was contradictory. I was offended and disappointed. As a "person of color" as the author would put it, I felt that the book tried to help white people learn how to work with and advocate for people of color but because the book was not written with any empathy it just ends up leading white people astray. If white people want to know how to work with people of color this book is NOT it. They should read a book written by those of color because they can navigate those who are willing. I ...more
Dec 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
I have very mixed feelings about this book. My biggest problem is that Kivel is racist. Which makes it difficult to swallow when he's shoving his "All whites are racist! You are racist!" message down your throat on the basis of his own racist, white upbringing. It's like he's bitter at the fact that he is subconsciously racist, despite his best efforts, but he makes himself feel better by telling everyone else that they're racist too. Well, I'm sorry Kivel, but when I see an African American man ...more
Jan 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tough read as I'm not the target audience. As a person of color trying to read this as an assignment I was definitely put off by the patronizing style of the author. As well-meaning as he says he is, the author frequently makes many of the mistakes he is trying to convince his readers not to do. Perhaps if I was a caucasian male who was just beginning to think about these conversations, this book would have provided some meaningful fodder for conversation with other like-minded males. The ques ...more
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-books
A good starting point for white folx just learning to examine their privilege, but by no means an exhaustive study. Some good (if common sense) pointers, but nothing new for anyone already involved in the anti-racism movement. The "questions to ask yourself" sections were a nice way to push white folx to look internally and find their own prejudices, though.

I never read reviews until I'm finished a book, but now I wish I had. Many POC reviewers rated this poorly and pointed out things I wish I
Rev. Sharon Wylie
Apr 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: anti-oppression
This is one of just a few books written by a white person FOR white people in an effort to educate about white culture, institutionalized racism, and privilege in the United States. This is an important book for any white person who hopes to combat racism.

Published in 1996, some of the examples feel a little dated by now, and readers may need to wade through a certain amount of redundancy to get to Kivel's main points. But his sections on being an ally and fighting institutionalized
Duane Bindschadler
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a book for white people. It is about what they can and should be doing to further an America that is truly about liberty and justice for all. If you think that we're already there, then read no further. You ain't ready.

The book itself is structured in short chapters and is meant to be used as a workbook or guide for someone who is committed to working through his/her own prejudices and living and acting as an ally for people of color. The central point of the book is that the continued
Sep 14, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
"When we acknowledged racial problems we still felt that we, the white people, should decide how best to fix things." (p 70)

And yet... Here is the author (who says *many* times how white and Jewish he is) saying how to fix things. Maybe it's that this book is 20 years old, but it just left me eye rolling and frustrated. Monica nailed it in her review : there's no empathy. Mr. Kivel comes across condescending and arrogant.
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
While reading, I had intense feelings of deja vu, and then realized I read this book back in June and forgot to write that down.

The target audience for Uprooting Racism is white people who are early in their journey of ethnic development and racial awareness. That said, it seems like it would be a hard book for people of color to read - too basic, too obvious, too assumptive.

I'd recommend this for young white folks who need more exposure and information about how pervasive racism is in ev
Feb 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
What I didn't love: as a historian, I viewed the history chapters as both necessary and inadequate. I wish there was a bit more editorial oversight on the revision! However, ...
What I did love: the relentless focus on systems. Kivel pushes the reader to understand how deeply individual whites are implicated in ongoing racism, regardless of how personally "racist" they believe they are. The end of Part 2, especially the parts about whites working in "the buffer zone" (not just the justice s
Aug 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
The concepts in this book are good, and I think the overall message is effective. However, it seriously annoyed me that the book takes the position that the reader is a clueless, white male (at least most of the time it's from a male perspective). I'm not white, and I know several white people who are aware of the privileges their race affords them. I appreciate the honesty in the book, just not the assumptions.
Faith Reidenbach
I'm one of the leaders of a chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice, a national organization that organizes white people to take action for racial justice as part of a multiracial alliance. Occasionally a fellow white person asks me what single book I would recommend for learning about anti-racism, and I always recommend this one. Be sure to get the 4th edition.

People who are attracted to this book are invited to join Reading for Racial Justice, a group here on Goodreads.
Megan Roberts
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not a quick read, but highly recommended especially during this current election season. If you are wondering why people are voting for Trump, this is a great book to pick up. If you think you aren't racist because you have one black friend also worth picking up. Basically anyone could benefit from reading this book--or a book like it.

Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
October Book Review: Uprooting Racism, by Paul Kivel
Revised and Expanded 3rd Edition, 2011

"Questions and Actions -- Recent Immigrants

"Were your foreparents legal immigrants to the US when people of color were excluded?
In what ways do you benefit from the work of immigrants, including those who are undocumented, for clothes, meat, vegetables, fruit, electronic goods and other household items?
In what ways do you benefit from the work of immigrants for services such as domestic work, gardening, childcare, elder/>In/>In/>"Were/>"Questions
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Because I read this book for work I think that my take on this book is based on that experience in a way reading a book of my own choosing would not be. There are some sections I know I will want to revisit again. I think the 3 stars are because there were some stylistic choices that I found off-putting. I also think that this book will only be good in comparison to books written by people of color about their own experiences. As a black woman I found some aspects of the way race had to be discu ...more
Valerie Clieaf
Racial justice is not alive and well in Canada. An all-white jury in Saskatchewan, Canada, recently found Gerald Stanley not guilty in the shooting death of unarmed Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old Cree man.

The reissue of Kivel's book is a timely, heartfelt and evocative plea for a society where everyone wants racial justice and works for it, not just the people targeted, threatened, undervalued, jailed, and sometimes killed for the lack of it. A society where each of us is valued, where all of us
Ryan Mishap
A well-rounded and smartly updated guide to recognizing and identifying current and historical racism and implementing practical tactics to combat oppression within oneself and society. I've been learning about hierarchy, oppression, and the experiences of people different than me for over two decades and I still gained much through reading this book. This was a selection of our Showing Up for Racial Justice chapter's bookgroup, and I highly recommend reading and discussing with other folks.
Emily C
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I had to read this book for a job and I was pretty skeptical when I picked it up. But I actually think that Paul does a pretty good job of hitting a lot of the major points that white people need to hear and act on regarding racism. It's a good 101 to give to your parents, for a white reading group or a friend who "doesn't see color."
Sally Melcher mckeagney
This is a good, nuanced book for white people to read. Kivel covers the history of racial injustice, which has been both perpetrated and enabled by white people--by people like me. Enabled and perpetrated by our action and inaction, by our words and our silence. It is both very readable, and very difficult to read.
Maggi Harris
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
It felt like it took me ages to read this book, but honestly I found it insightful and heartfelt. Do I agree with Paul on every sentence? Of course not. Do I think that people interested in social justice could learn something by reading this? Absolutely! My favorite parts were the last two (4 & 5), but I read the 4th edition so I can’t speak for later versions
Kenny Stevenson
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are a white person interested in anti-racism work (which should be everyone), you should read this book. Also, there is a version four that has been updated since Trump has taken office, so I recommend reading that one.
Heidi Kuchta
I read this to see if it would be good as a book club selection. No, it's not a great book club/discussion book, but it is a great resource for those who wish to end racism - community groups, individual activists, etc. I would like to own it as a reference guide.
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read the original many years ago and was delighted to learn of the revised addition this summer - Kivel is a vital and important voice in racial justice work. A must read!
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Should be required reading in schools.
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Others have summed up the issues with this book better than I can, but let me just say that this book is full of things one should already know if choosing to read books on this topic.
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it
This was good. A bit hard to get through, lots of info. But important info,
Astrid Cook
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
First, regarding other reviews that mention how racist Kivel is based on his anecdotes about his upbringing, I do not think those were actual anecdotes about his specific training. He uses anecdotes as a rhetorical device instead of saying to the reader "you've grown up this way, that's wrong" and uses "i" statements to disarm the white reader since racism is such a hot topic that many white people refuse to entertain alternative experiences. If the author uses anecdotes to make him seem relatab ...more
Barb Cherem
Nov 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a book I spent quite a bit of time reading and mulling over its messages. The stud groups with whom I discussed it were different, with one being over four weeks and diverse only in age and gender, while the other being but one week, and being diverse in race and ethnicity.
Both groups liked this book, and found lots to value in it. Its breadth was a bit much to take-on by Paul Kivel, a white guy, who seemed to have quite a lot of insights and empathy. I still think he took on too much
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book has been sitting on my shelf for years but I finally plunged through it out of confusion, despair, etc. after the recent killings of Philando Castille and Alton Sterling. This felt like reading the racism 101 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica--packs in tons of topics but doesn't go in great depth. I like the format, though and he provides tons of references and footnotes for each chapter if you want to go deeper.
Jan 16, 2015 added it
Shelves: racism
I've just started this book but I think I understand the low ratings it's gotten, especially from African-American reviewers. The author writes in a self-help style from the perspective of someone who was raised to behave in a racist way but was told that, in one way or another, it wasn't racist at all. He writes for people who are in the same predicament and who, perhaps, are still working through their doubts about the whole question of racism. For those people who really are struggling with a ...more
Mar 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel a bit guilty marking "I'm finished" with this book. I thoroughly read the first half and skimmed the second half. Parts of it seem redundant, but the opening I feel like most people should read for basic vocabulary of privilege and race. Thought provoking, and yet safe, Paul Kivel takes a workshop-style presentation and makes it a book. Like many articles or books about racism, I feel like relatively little time is spent on class. Race is certainly a key factor in everyone's life, but cla ...more
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Paul Kivel (b. 1948), social justice educator, activist, and writer, has been a leader in violence prevention for more than 45 years. He is a trainer and speaker on men's issues, racism and diversity, challenges of youth, teen dating and family violence, raising boys to manhood, and the impact of class and power on daily life. Paul has developed highly effective participatory and interactive methodolog ...more