Sunday 1 August 2021

The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person

The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person by Frederick Joseph (Walker Books) PB RRP $18.99 ISBN 9781529500615

Reviewed by Kylie Buckley

The Black Friend is a book for everyone, teens, and adults alike. African American Frederick Joseph discusses racism from a personal perspective, recalling some poignant events in his life that the reader can learn from. He also invites a range of guests, including musicians, journalists, authors and more, to share their own personal experiences of racism. The book explores sub-topics such as white privilege, cultural appropriation, stereotypes, oppression, American history, discrimination, microaggression, reverse racism and the false narratives surrounding affirmative action.

The Black Friend highlights the fact that white people need to do better. They need to be called out when they do and say things that are hurtful, ignorant, or offensive; they need to be educated. The Black Friend provides a myriad of teachable moments for its audience, with some humorous commentary thrown in to keep things light.

Important words and terms, typed in bold throughout the book, are defined and expanded upon in ‘An Encyclopedia of Racism’ at the back of the book. There are also suggestions of things to follow up on, including people to research, books to read, things to watch and a playlist of songs to listen to. The Black Friend is highly recommended for readers aged 12 years and older.

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