Let’s Talk Race Reviews

We are 21 years into the 21st century and yet W. E. B. Du Bois’ prescience haunts us: the problem of the color line is still here, painful, and seemingly indelible. That line is ever-present, separating those who will live from those who will die by acts of police violence; dividing those to be grieved from those deemed disposable; privileging those who are white while marginalizing and damning those who are Black. Let’s Talk Race is a socially, politically, and existentially urgent book that details the painful reality of America’s race evasion. With a call for fearless speech and courageous listening, the authors of this demanding and yet inviting book refuse to be complicit with white silence, apathy, and ignorance. The title’s invitation requires vulnerability, signifies a space for collective mourning, and is honest about the profound risks involved. The authors, Fern L. Johnson and Marlene G. Fine recognize the daring and radical loving requisite for talking about race and facing America’s original sin.”

– George Yancy, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Philosophy at Emory University, author of Backlash

Let’s Talk Race can be part of our national racial reckoning. White mothers—like Johnson and Fine– raising Black male children straddle double consciousness where racial blindness and liberal platitudes are dangerous. The book intentionally speaks to a white audience. The hard work of talk and struggle are necessary for a white reconciling of historical facts to the current harmful narrative. Talk is a step along a long journey to truth and reconciliation.

– Thomas M. Shapiro, Pokross Professor of Law and Social Policy, The Heller School for Social Policy, Brandeis University, author of Toxic Inequality; The Hidden Cost of Being African American; and Black Wealth/White Wealth.

Let’s Talk Race: A Guide for White People is wisely conceived and masterfully accomplished. Both a primer on cultural competence and a charge to engage in genuine conversation, this book is candidly honest, brilliantly transparent and a phenomenal resource. The two authors are grounded in decades of experience, girded with wisdom & courage, and guided by a commitment to illuminate hope in the presence of fear. This is a MUST read!

– Emmett G. Price III, Ph.D., Executive Director, Institute for the Study of the Black Christian Experience, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary

Drawing on both the best of interracial communication research and their personal experiences as white women who have navigated countless interracial conversations, Johnson and Fine illumine the barriers to such conversations and provide practical and accessible strategies for overcoming those barriers. No book is more relevant to everyday life in the socially diverse world of 21st-century America than Let’s Talk Race.

– Marsha Houston, Professor of Communication Studies, Retired University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Co-editor, Our Voices: Essays in Culture, Ethnicity, and Communication (1st-5th eds) Co-editor, Centering Ourselves: African American Feminist and Womanist Studies of Discourse

Let’s Talk Race is a seminal book for this time. It is a desperately needed resource that will help our nation heal and live into its noblest ideals. Four hundred years after the start of slavery, America is having a racial awakening and beginning to reckon with the consequences of founding the nation on genocide, stolen land, and slave labor. As the country shakes off the husks of complacency and indifference, people of all races, creeds, colors, religions, and national origin are discovering an unprecedented opportunity to realize the aspiration of justice in the first sentence of the Constitution of the United States. If justice is to be realized, white America must stand in transformative solidarity with those who face the burdens of structural racism. This book provides a practical yet soul-enriching path forward to move from talk to action with grace, empathy, and a commitment to usher in an era of just and fair inclusion into a society in which all can participate, prosper and reach their full potential.

– Dr. Michael McAfee, President and CEO, PolicyLink (a national research and action institute focused on advancing racial and economic equity and working for just and fair inclusion for everyone living in America)

People of color and African Americans are beyond aware and are experiencing racial fatigue after a lifetime and decades of attempting to educate peers, colleagues, friends, and strangers about the reality of racism and its impact on every aspect of their/our daily lives. We are at a pivotal time in our country and world where white people need to become actively engaged in authentic conversations about race. Let’s Talk Race is a great resource for these difficult conversations because it contains practical advice while also providing readers with a wealth of information grounded in facts from reliable sources that further bolster the rationale for the need for such a comprehensive guide as this. Our country and world are in dire need of resources such as this, and I am excited to add it to my library and scholarship. Well done and thank you for your commitment to getting into “good trouble.”

– Tina M. Harris, Manship-Maynard Endowed Chair of Race, Media, & Cultural Literacy, Louisiana State University

Ever the teachers, Marlene and Fern take care to scaffold the learning so that readers are able to build a strong foundation upon which to grow. While some of the information seems basic to me as a Black woman, I appreciate the importance of more white folks talking to one another about race because they understand the blind spots, the pit falls, the traps, and the, what I call “trash thinking,” that needs to be composted. I hope readers enjoy the personal storytelling, the Do’s and Don’ts lists, and the personal reflection prompts that are included throughout the book, and finally, I hope more of us reach a point when talking about race can be “cathartic, healing, and joyful.”

– Desiraé Simmons, Co-Director, Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, Ann Arbor MI

Let’s Talk Race is a solid and very practical guide to having the necessary conversations that those of us who are white are so reluctant to have with our families, friends, neighbors and co workers. This book will motivate you to break white silence and will support you in addressing the racism that engulfs our communities and diminishes all of our lives.

– Paul Kivel, educator, activist and author of Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice 4th edition