Previous reviewer Blingle Bells called this book “Getting woke for beginners” and yeah, they’re not wrong. This book would be a great gift for the wavering independent (or maybe even centrist conservative) in your life. Ajayi lays out a lot of the basics of institutional racism and sexism in ways that are veeeery difficult to argue or play devil’s advocate with (although screw people who play devil’s advocate – the devil does not need an advocate, much less you.)
Luvvie Ajayi has written the book I wish I had thought (or had the talent) to put together myself because ho boy do I have a lot of opinions and judge a lot of people for a lot of things, myself included. The book is about half devoted to judging people for the big things – racism, sexism, homophobia, wielding your religion as both sword and shield – while the rest is on the little things, like hashtagging badly. I judge people for hashtagging badly too! Yes, college friend who ends every Instagram post with a full paragraph of hashtags inevitably including #girlboss #bosslife #bossbitch when all you’ve done is fall for your third multi-level marketing scheme, I’m talking about you. Ajayi is an all-star judger and I adore her for it.
The deeper stuff is really solid. I have definitely been the hoity-toity atheist acting all smarter-than-thou about religion. I also appreciated the insights into what white people can do (and more importantly, can refrain from doing) to help fight institutional and ingrained racism. I appreciated how plainly she spelled out the ridiculousness of teaching women how to avoid rape (she smartly asks if there’s a matching class for men that teaches them how not to rape). It reminded me of something I saw on Twitter once – that you don’t teach women how to avoid rape, you teach them how to make sure he rapes the other girl. Which is one of those just like … ouch.
Anyway. This book is a really solid read. If you have people in your life you think could be brought around to understanding what things like institutional racism really mean, this book is an excellent primer. I highly recommend. And definitely find the edition with her 2018 post-script.