A book that belongs in any QAnon subscriber’s collection.

UNMASKED

INSIDE ANTIFA'S RADICAL PLAN TO DESTROY DEMOCRACY

An overwrought exposé on the supposed lurking menace that is antifa.

The framing event for Ngo’s narrative, about which readers are frequently reminded, is a moment when, in June 2019, he was attacked and beaten at a demonstration in Portland, Oregon. “I was nearly killed by a violent mob,” he claims. “At no point did the police intervene to help.” His attackers, he concludes, must have been members of the anti-fascist, or antifa, movement—and never mind that in several well-documented events, the perpetrators of violent acts have been right-wing extremists disguising themselves as fellow travelers. Ngo is correct when he deems the organization to be “a relatively small group of committed radicals.” After muddying the waters to shift blame away from the Minneapolis police for their killing of George Floyd Jr. and dismissing the thought that the heavily armed, proudly violent boogaloo movement has anything to do with the far right, Ngo goes still farther out onto a logical limb when he urges that the progressive forces of education, health care, government, and the media are allies of the black-masked anarchists. According to the author, there are “whole networks of writers and so-called journalists who intentionally spread pro-antifa messaging.” Though he professes not to support the former president’s view that the press is the enemy of the people, he demurs, “but one can see the basis for that sentiment when looking at how transparently extreme ideologues are presented as the arbiters of truth.” Those extreme ideologues, the proceedings make plain, include anyone who questions Ngo’s account of events, which is right at home with the collected works of Dinesh D’Souza and Michelle Malkin. His conclusion seems particularly untimely given the events of Jan. 6, 2021. He argues that antifa will yield naught but “ash, blood, and feces-stained rubble,” when of course that would better describe what the mob of right-wing extremists left behind at the U.S. Capitol.

A book that belongs in any QAnon subscriber’s collection.

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5460-5958-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Center Street/Hachette

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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This guide to Black culture for White people is accessible but rarely easy.

UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATIONS WITH A BLACK MAN

A former NFL player casts his gimlet eye on American race relations.

In his first book, Acho, an analyst for Fox Sports who grew up in Dallas as the son of Nigerian immigrants, addresses White readers who have sent him questions about Black history and culture. “My childhood,” he writes, “was one big study abroad in white culture—followed by studying abroad in black culture during college and then during my years in the NFL, which I spent on teams with 80-90 percent black players, each of whom had his own experience of being a person of color in America. Now, I’m fluent in both cultures: black and white.” While the author avoids condescending to readers who already acknowledge their White privilege or understand why it’s unacceptable to use the N-word, he’s also attuned to the sensitive nature of the topic. As such, he has created “a place where questions you may have been afraid to ask get answered.” Acho has a deft touch and a historian’s knack for marshaling facts. He packs a lot into his concise narrative, from an incisive historical breakdown of American racial unrest and violence to the ways of cultural appropriation: Your friend respecting and appreciating Black arts and culture? OK. Kim Kardashian showing off her braids and attributing her sense of style to Bo Derek? Not so much. Within larger chapters, the text, which originated with the author’s online video series with the same title, is neatly organized under helpful headings: “Let’s rewind,” “Let’s get uncomfortable,” “Talk it, walk it.” Acho can be funny, but that’s not his goal—nor is he pedaling gotcha zingers or pleas for headlines. The author delivers exactly what he promises in the title, tackling difficult topics with the depth of an engaged cultural thinker and the style of an experienced wordsmith. Throughout, Acho is a friendly guide, seeking to sow understanding even if it means risking just a little discord.

This guide to Black culture for White people is accessible but rarely easy.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-80046-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

SO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT RACE

Straight talk to blacks and whites about the realities of racism.

In her feisty debut book, Oluo, essayist, blogger, and editor at large at the Establishment magazine, writes from the perspective of a black, queer, middle-class, college-educated woman living in a “white supremacist country.” The daughter of a white single mother, brought up in largely white Seattle, she sees race as “one of the most defining forces” in her life. Throughout the book, Oluo responds to questions that she has often been asked, and others that she wishes were asked, about racism “in our workplace, our government, our homes, and ourselves.” “Is it really about race?” she is asked by whites who insist that class is a greater source of oppression. “Is police brutality really about race?” “What is cultural appropriation?” and “What is the model minority myth?” Her sharp, no-nonsense answers include talking points for both blacks and whites. She explains, for example, “when somebody asks you to ‘check your privilege’ they are asking you to pause and consider how the advantages you’ve had in life are contributing to your opinions and actions, and how the lack of disadvantages in certain areas is keeping you from fully understanding the struggles others are facing.” She unpacks the complicated term “intersectionality”: the idea that social justice must consider “a myriad of identities—our gender, class, race, sexuality, and so much more—that inform our experiences in life.” She asks whites to realize that when people of color talk about systemic racism, “they are opening up all of that pain and fear and anger to you” and are asking that they be heard. After devoting most of the book to talking, Oluo finishes with a chapter on action and its urgency. Action includes pressing for reform in schools, unions, and local governments; boycotting businesses that exploit people of color; contributing money to social justice organizations; and, most of all, voting for candidates who make “diversity, inclusion and racial justice a priority.”

A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58005-677-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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