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Let’s talk about The Black Friend On Being a Better White Person by Frederick Joseph. From the perspective of the friend everyone should have, Frederick Joseph offers an essential read for white people who want to be better about race—and people of color who long to see their experiences validated.
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The Black Friend on Being a Better White Person
Author: Frederick Joseph
Genre: Social Issues
“We don’t see color.” “I didn’t know Black people liked Star Wars!” “What hood are you from?” As a student in a largely white high school, Frederick Joseph often simply let wince-worthy moments go. When he grew older, he saw them as missed opportunities to stand up for himself and bring awareness to those who didn’t see the hurt they caused. Here, Joseph speaks to the reader as he wishes he’d spoken to his friends, unpacking hurtful race-related anecdotes from his past and sharing how he might handle things differently now. Each chapter also features the voice and experience of an artist or activist, including Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give; April Reign, creator of #OscarsSoWhite; and Jemele Hill, sports journalist, and podcast host. From cultural appropriation to power dynamics, “reverse racism” to white privilege, this book is a conversation starter, tool kit, and window into the life of a former “token Black kid.” Back matter includes an encyclopedia of racism, including details on historical events and terminology.
What I love most about this book was how it felt like I was sitting down with a friend sharing useful advice. Frederick Joseph tackles one of the most important subjects today in a way that is relatable and easy to digest without feeling aggressive like some of the books on the same subject can feel. I love how personal experiences were shared; this helps the reader put themselves in the author’s shoes. This makes such a difference. As soon as I finished reading it, I passed it on to my teenager.
I give The Black Friend on Being a Better White Person by Frederick Joseph 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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