This book was not written for me, or other people that society sees (or who see themselves) as white. This is a letter from a black man in the US to a black son in the US. It is full of harsh truths that a lot of people who aren’t black don’t want to read. It doesn’t end on some false note of hope. It’s one man’s truth that he is choosing to share with another person, a man who is generous enough to allow the rest of us a chance to read it.
Racism is part of the history of the US, but it is also a part of the present in the US. A big part. It’s present in the neighborhoods that are segregated, the neighborhoods that are gentrifying. It’s present in our criminal justice system, and our school systems. It is everywhere. Some of us, however, are at times able to pretend it isn’t present because we aren’t the ones being stopped and frisked, or shot when seeking help after a car accident, or strangled when selling cigarettes.
I don’t think a review of this book – especially by someone who the book is not for – is really appropriate. I think the best I can do is suggest that everyone read it. Then read it again.