REVIEW: This Book Is Anti-Racist, Tiffany Jewell

Monday, 11 November 2019

Author Tiffany Jewell, an anti-bias, anti-racist educator and activist, builds solidarity beginning with the language she chooses—using gender neutral words to honor everyone who reads the book. Illustrator AurĂ©lia Durand brings the stories and characters to life with kaleidoscopic vibrancy. After examining the concepts of social identity, race, ethnicity, and racism, learn about some of the ways people of different races have been oppressed, from indigenous Americans and Australians being sent to boarding school to be “civilized” to a generation of Caribbean immigrants once welcomed to the UK being threatened with deportation by strict immigration laws. This book is written for EVERYONE who lives in this racialized society—including the young person who doesn’t know how to speak up to the racist adults in their life, the kid who has lost themself at times trying to fit into the dominant culture, the children who have been harmed (physically and emotionally) because no one stood up for them or they couldn’t stand up for themselves, and also for their families, teachers, and administrators. With this book, be empowered to actively defy racism to create a community (large and small) that truly honors everyone.

Tiffany Jewell's This Book is Anti-Racist is a timely and much-needed manual for all of the children and young people in your life. Like, seriously, go out and buy it for them now. They will surely love you all the more for it. 
Like the great Angela Davis once said, “In a racist society, it’s not enough to be non-racist—we must be ANTI-RACIST” and this book tells this to the people that matter the most: the next generation. Because, in them, we have our best fighting chance in stopping the injustice and discrimination in its tracks. 
Racism, after-all, has to be perpetuated in order to survive. It is a social construct, an arbitrary and abstract one at best, and therefore, if we raise an entire generation of children without it, it fails to fester, to grow, to spread. It is like an infection: staunch the flow, cut off the breeding ground. 
This book aims to do just that. To lift up a generation of anti-racist warriors and, I know this may just be me looking on the bright side for once in my life, but I think they just may have it in them. I am a great proponent, after-all, of the idea that children are our future; every day, people who are far younger than I am, inspire me with their erudition, their ambitions, their wisdom and I hope, more than anything, that this book will enable them to put all of that into action. 
That it will begin to give them the resources to challenge the systems, both at an international and individual level, that perpetuate injustice and discrimination; to think about the racialised language of their teachers, their peers and figures in the mass media; to start discussions, both in public and in private, about the nature of racism and whether they want to live in a world in which its structures remain systematic. Because even small steps, quiet conversations, minute changes have loud and ricocheting effects for the world at large. 
And, by allowing them to channel all of their greatness into real political change, This Book is Anti-Racist will surely form many a young person's first steps on a journey towards a world that will be better for us all.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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