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The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person

af Frederick Joseph

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2992588,532 (4.34)10
Human Rights. Politics. Sociology. Young Adult Nonfiction. HTML:

Writing from the perspective of a friend, Frederick Joseph offers candid reflections on his own experiences with racism and conversations with prominent artists and activists about theirs??creating an essential read for white people who are committed anti-racists and those newly come to the cause of racial justice.

"We don't see color." "I didn't know Black people liked Star Wars!" "What hood are you from?" For Frederick Joseph, life as a transfer student in a largely white high school was full of wince-worthy moments that he often simply let go. As he grew older, however, he saw these as missed opportunities not only to stand up for himself, but to spread awareness to those white people who didn't see the negative impact they were having.
Speaking directly to the reader, The Black Friend calls up race-related anecdotes from the author's past, weaving in his thoughts on why they were hurtful and how he might handle things differently now. Each chapter features the voice of at least one artist or activist, including Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give; April Reign, creator of #OscarsSoWhite; Jemele Hill, sports journalist and podcast host; and eleven others. Touching on everything from cultural appropriation to power dynamics, "reverse racism" to white privilege, microaggressions to the tragic results of overt racism, this book serves as conversation starter, tool kit, and invaluable window into the life of a former "token Black kid" who now presents himself as the friend many readers need. Backmatter includes an encyclopedia of racism, providing details on relevant historical events, terminology, and more.… (mere)

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Writing from the perspective of a friend, Frederick Joseph offers candid reflections on his own experiences with racism and conversations with prominent artists and activists about theirs—creating an essential read for white people who are committed anti-racists and those newly come to the cause of racial justice.
“We don’t see color.” “I didn’t know Black people liked Star Wars!” “What hood are you from?” For Frederick Joseph, life as a transfer student in a largely white high school was full of wince-worthy moments that he often simply let go. As he grew older, however, he saw these as missed opportunities not only to stand up for himself, but to spread awareness to those white people who didn’t see the negative impact they were having.
Speaking directly to the reader, The Black Friend calls up race-related anecdotes from the author’s past, weaving in his thoughts on why they were hurtful and how he might handle things differently now. Each chapter features the voice of at least one artist or activist, including Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give;April Reign, creator of #OscarsSoWhite; Jemele Hill, sports journalist and podcast host; and eleven others. Touching on everything from cultural appropriation to power dynamics, “reverse racism” to white privilege, microaggressions to the tragic results of overt racism, this book serves as conversation starter, tool kit, and invaluable window into the life of a former “token Black kid” who now presents himself as the friend many readers need. Backmatter includes an encyclopedia of racism, providing details on relevant historical events, terminology, and more. ( )
  LynneQuan | Apr 21, 2024 |
Easy to read book by a Black man (and other contributors who are also Black or part of a different minority group) for white people with serious stories about racism told but told with injections of humor and pop culture.

Another tool to help us see systemic racism and to understand the lived experience of other people.

Also - is that cover amazing or what? ( )
  hmonkeyreads | Jan 25, 2024 |
Another excellent book by Frederick Joseph! The subject matters (racism and white supremacy in America, intersectionality, the harm the patriarchy perpetuates) are heavy, but Joseph handles them with honesty, humor, and warmth, while still conveying how seriously we all need to do our part in our daily lives to bring about change.

I do believe this book is geared towards teens/adults in their early 20s, but at 35, I didn't feel like the tone would be felt as condescending for younger readers, nor too juvenile for those of us who are older. Joseph has many little interjections throughout his book containing additional (and often funny) details about the story he's relaying, and suggested further research (a person or place to google, a musician to listen to, a movie to watch) and I think these make an already personal book, even more personal. The book is not all humor though - there are a lot of serious, heartbreaking, and anger-inducing stories here, that can't have been easy to open up about.

If you're past your teens, I highly suggest reading his other book, Patriarchy Blues, right before or after this. As in this book, Joseph opens up about so many of his own experiences that I think are incredibly beneficial to those who need help seeing and understanding the racism and microaggressions committed against people of color. I know it's Joseph's hope that readers will take in his experiences and learn and grow from what he's been gracious enough to share.

I'm really not doing his books justice - I think they're both very important and that as many people who can read them, should. ( )
  MillieHennessy | Oct 8, 2023 |
Need a guidebook for helping your white family members figure out how to establish good relationships with Black people, and maybe even how to become an accomplice who takes action rather than an ally who apologies for other white people after the harm has been done? This is IT. There's so much useful information here, in the form of personal stories and of commentary by fourteen Black thought leaders and creatives. Subjects covered are: the necessity of SEEING race, not denying it; recognizing racism, not ignoring it; the righteousness of affirmative action; "for us, by us"; what's in a name and in a hairstyle; and the never-ending "no, you can't use that word." Told with humor and grace, and despite Ron DeSantis, this book should be in EVERY school and public library.

Quotes: "To have someone judge you by getting to know you is a powerful and life-changing thing when you've never been treated that way." ( )
1 stem froxgirl | Feb 9, 2023 |
Very readable: I flew through it. Not preachy and very real. Frederick Joseph uses personal anecdotes, wry humor, and interviews to tell his compelling story and call for action.
Be an accomplice. ( )
1 stem bjsikes | Jan 30, 2023 |
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To my mother and grandmother, who made sure this Black boy knew he was amazing — even when the world tried to teach him otherwise

Brandon, this book is for you and millions of other Black and brown children who should be loved for all of your beauty and glory.
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(Preface) To My Reader: I finished writing The Black Friend in 2019, but so much has happened in 2020, I feel like I have to address it.
(Introduction) One of the most important lessons I learned when I was younger was that being a Black person in this world usually means that at some point, you're going to have to do things you don't enjoy.
There's something special about firsts — you know, your first kiss, a baby's first steps, the first day of school, your first time deleting a message from your teacher so your parents don't know you got in trouble at school.
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If you feel you don’t need to read this book because you're already a decent white person, there’s a good chance you’re not as decent as you think.
Instead, he turned on NPR (National Public Radio), which I’ve come to realize is like religion for liberal white people.
All we asked them to do was respect us. Why won’t they just respect us?” (Cynthia)
No one would be comfortable being racist around someone who truly stands against racism. If you still have racist friends or family members in your life, you aren’t truly standing against racism.
...those types of people shouldn’t feel comfortable in their racism around you. Those types of people should know you’re going to speak up, regardless of who they are.
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Human Rights. Politics. Sociology. Young Adult Nonfiction. HTML:

Writing from the perspective of a friend, Frederick Joseph offers candid reflections on his own experiences with racism and conversations with prominent artists and activists about theirs??creating an essential read for white people who are committed anti-racists and those newly come to the cause of racial justice.

"We don't see color." "I didn't know Black people liked Star Wars!" "What hood are you from?" For Frederick Joseph, life as a transfer student in a largely white high school was full of wince-worthy moments that he often simply let go. As he grew older, however, he saw these as missed opportunities not only to stand up for himself, but to spread awareness to those white people who didn't see the negative impact they were having.
Speaking directly to the reader, The Black Friend calls up race-related anecdotes from the author's past, weaving in his thoughts on why they were hurtful and how he might handle things differently now. Each chapter features the voice of at least one artist or activist, including Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give; April Reign, creator of #OscarsSoWhite; Jemele Hill, sports journalist and podcast host; and eleven others. Touching on everything from cultural appropriation to power dynamics, "reverse racism" to white privilege, microaggressions to the tragic results of overt racism, this book serves as conversation starter, tool kit, and invaluable window into the life of a former "token Black kid" who now presents himself as the friend many readers need. Backmatter includes an encyclopedia of racism, providing details on relevant historical events, terminology, and more.

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