This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell
Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2020
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
I sincerely hope this is stocked in every school library across the UK and US, but though it is indeed aimed predominantly at a YA audience, there is still so much that adult readers like myself can take from it. Every point discussed is applicable and educational no matter your age, and I was pleasantly surprised by how wide the book’s scope was, especially when considering its relative brevity and the complexity of the issue it’s addressing.
Jewell writes with clarity, compassion and warmth, articulating her every point without condescending those who may be newer to the concepts of engrained racism and white privilege. Her approach is wonderfully intersectional and nuanced, incorporating many factors that comprise our individual identity and socioeconomic background. I think she struck a perfect balance between personal experience and wider societal examples when backing up her arguments, and though most historical detail is centred around the UK and US, she does draw on instances of systematic racism from throughout the world. This was a very welcome touch, as it’s something not often seen in a book that feels as succinct and digestible as this does.
I also adore how self-aware Jewell is as both an anti-racism campaigner and a human being. She is not at all shy in highlighting her own privileges and flaws, even detailing specific examples where she feels she as a biracial woman handled race-related issues poorly. By showing that we’re all constantly learning and improving, she essentially gives her readers permission to make mistakes when tackling societal prejudices and their own inherited biases, thus fuelling them to always strive for better within themselves. After all, you can’t make mistakes if you aren’t trying, and trying is proof that you care.
Calls to action and activity suggestions at the end of each chapter encourage us all to be more proactive and self-critical when considering how we (singularly and collectively) can tackle racism moving forward. They provide excellent opportunities to reflect on and analyse where we stand at any given time, and equip us with the tools necessary to safely recognise, challenge, and overturn everyday racism.
You can pick up a copy of This Book is Anti-Racist by clicking here.