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Speaking of Race: Why Everybody Needs to Talk about Racism--And How to Do It

Celeste Headlee

"A guide to having productive conversations about race"--

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Book Information

Publisher: Harper Wave
Publish Date: 11/02/2021
Pages: 272
ISBN-13: 9780063098152
ISBN-10: 0063098156
Language: English

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December 01, 2021

The only way to finally eradicate systemic racism is to expand understanding to include even those who believe it’s in their best interests to maintain white supremacy. Turning racism into a binary battle between the good and the bad increases the chances that this issue will become a war, that those who are labeled as irredeemable will become immovable. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

Full Description

A Boston Globe Most Anticipated Fall Book

In this urgently needed guide, the PBS host, award-winning journalist, and author of We Need to Talk teaches us how to have productive conversations about race, offering insights, advice, and support.


A self-described "light-skinned Black Jew," Celeste Headlee has been forced to speak about race--including having to defend or define her own--since childhood. In her career as a journalist for public media, she's made it a priority to talk about race proactively. She's discovered, however, that those exchanges have rarely been productive. While many people say they want to talk about race, the reality is, they want to talk about race with people who agree with them. The subject makes us uncomfortable; it's often not considered polite or appropriate. To avoid these painful discussions, we stay in our bubbles, reinforcing our own sense of righteousness as well as our division.

Yet we gain nothing by not engaging with those we disagree with; empathy does not develop in a vacuum and racism won't just fade away. If we are to effect meaningful change as a society, Headlee argues, we have to be able to talk about what that change looks like without fear of losing friends and jobs, or being ostracized. In Speaking of Race, Headlee draws from her experiences as a journalist, and the latest research on bias, communication, and neuroscience to provide practical advice and insight for talking about race that will facilitate better conversations that can actually bring us closer together.

This is the book for people who have tried to debate and educate and argue and got nowhere; it is the book for those who have stopped talking to a neighbor or dread Thanksgiving dinner. It is an essential and timely book for all of us.

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