MG & Up
In an ongoing effort to help facilitate discussions, consider this the first installment of the Antiracist Family Book Club. My goal is to try and pair a book for MG/YA readers with a book for grownup readers (educators, caregivers, etc.) to help facilitate discussions about racism, privilege, and how we can turn those discussions into actionable steps of dismantling the white supremacist society that we live in (and that all white people benefit from).
Today I’ve paired two new releases: Deep Diversity by Shakil Choudhury (published by Greystone) and the OTHER talk by Brendan Kiely (published by Simon & Schuster) together in an attempt to make it easier to have discussions with those in our lives. I think the two work together in tandem; Deep Diversity focuses on two main points: discovering and self-reflecting on our own bias and helping to facilitate these beginning discussions with others. The OTHER talk is written by a white author about dissecting his own privilege and speaking frankly to other white youths about how we benefit from privilege and what to do about it that benefits people of the global majority.
Deep Diversity is a model designed by the author, who has worked in the field for over two decades, facilitating discussions and educating others on the dangers of implicit bias in what Choudhury calls compassionate and scientific. He breaks down how emotions, bias, identity, and power impact racial situations over 7 chapters. By understanding how we’ve formed our reactions, we can dismantle them and build healthier and more racially just reactions and interactions. This in itself will lead to more equity and clearheadedness when working to achieve Choudhury calls social cohesion.
While the author does say that this is for beginners, I really appreciate the way he puts the onus on the reader to then take the knowledge learned and have discussions with others. Be they students, family members, or co-workers. Our unconscious impulses and biases impact those around us, and will continue to have dire consequences until we can undo what colonization and systemic racism have built.
This brings us to our other book, by Brendan Kiely. Getting the fangirling out of the way up top, he’s very good friends with Jason Reynolds (who wrote a brilliant introduction to the book) and Kiely talks about specific examples of how they were treated differently when both on the same book tour in 2014. Brendan goes on to talk about white privilege in an easily understood but not condescending or shame-inducing way. He gives concrete examples of how different people are treated; Brendan for example, used to steal strawberry Nesquik (gross, but besides the point) for a girl he liked but never so much as got questioned by store employees. Other teenage boys, Black or otherwise of the global majority, have been slain for so much less than that (most of them not even doing anything wrong except living their lives).
And you might be thinking, “Corrie, you don’t post books written by white men very often”, and you’re right. They get enough without me helping them along. Kiely has a writing style that’s like talking to a friend, earnest but doesn’t hold back. This is what teens need, someone who has been in their shoes and will tell them frankly like it is with an optimistic look at how it can be better.
I hope you enjoy this pairing, and that it brings about beneficial conversations and actions with those in your immediate community. Stay tuned for more Antiracist Family Book Club pairings in the near future!
These books were both sent by the publishers. All opinions and decisions to pair them up are entirely my own.