by Robin DiAngelo

a review by Vicki Haydon

I was raised learning that all people are loved by God, therefore I should love all people.  When ‘busing” was first a thing, I was attending Southwest Junior High School.  I was going to be “bused” to Horace Mann Junior High for my 8th grade year.  My parents continued to tell me that all students should be able to receive a good education, and that maybe this was a way to help that become a reality.  

I didn’t really understand – but I went to the new school.  I made new friends, black and white.  I have had dear friends of different races and ethnic backgrounds my entire life.  However, I never understood what racism and institutional racism really meant until I read this book.  In the introduction, the author made this observation, “I believe that white progressives cause the most daily damage to people of color.”  She defines white progressives as white people who think they are not racist, or are less racist, or people who already get it.  I realized in the early pages of the book that she had defined me.  

There are so many patterns we have developed over the years which emphasize our whiteness.  They include things like a lack of understanding of what racism really is, a lack of racial humility and an unwillingness to listen, dismissing what we don’t understand, and a defensiveness about any suggestion that we are connected to racism.  If we truly want to be involved in breaking these patterns, we must become more aware of how our thoughts, words, actions, and inactions have an impact on racism.  

“Interrupting racism takes courage and intentionality,” says the author, Robin DiAngelo.  As we focus on Black History Month, read this book, or another that piques your interest.  Let’s all take steps of courage and intentionality.

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