A bitingly humorous compendium of the absurd subtle racism of the American workplace.



A slim, sharp, satirical guide to preventing racial microaggressions against Black people at work, written by a fictional Black colleague.

Daquan, “the Black coworker you are referring to when you claim to have Black friends,” has something to say. He can always spot the moment when a White person becomes aware they are interacting with a “full-on BLACK PERSON.” Their eyes “take on a mad gleam,” and both revulsion and attraction play on their faces. They simply cannot help themselves; they must speak about it, abandoning appropriate topics like work, weather, and sports for dicier conversation peppered with African American vernacular. Microaggressions ensue. Fed up, Daquan offers a list of slyly disrespectful comments he would rather “people of pallor” kept to themselves. Organized from A to Z and presented with no filter, entries include “articulate” (not a compliment); “dark” (stop using it as a synonym for bad or evil); “ghetto” (“sits next to ‘urban’ in the dog-whistle drawer”); “hair” (don’t touch it without consent); “quiet” (Black people have a right not to be); “voted for Obama” (“if the last time you respected a Black person was 2012, probably you should keep that to yourself”; “you’re different” (no, but White people often have limited understanding and experience with Blackness); and all manner of subtle discrimination and affronts in between. Smyer delivers the directives with heaping sarcasm, cutting humor, and some web lingo. Best avoided by would-be White allies who demand to be treated gingerly, this book lets loose the frustration of being Black in majority White spaces. Less a guide for White people than a palliative for the daily indignities suffered by real-life Daquans, the book is a balm for tongues bitten and comments swallowed that is guaranteed to leave some Black folks chuckling in recognition while White colleagues cringe in embarrassment.

A bitingly humorous compendium of the absurd subtle racism of the American workplace.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61775-896-6

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Akashic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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A scattershot exercise in preaching to the choir.


A British journalist fulminates against Black Lives Matter, critical race theory, and other threats to White privilege.

“There is an assault going on against everything to do with the Western world—its past, present, and future.” So writes Spectator associate editor Murray, whose previous books have sounded warnings against the presumed dangers of Islam and of non-Western immigration to the West. As the author argues, Westerners are supposed to take in refugees from Africa, Asia, and Latin America while being “expected to abolish themselves.” Murray soon arrives at a crux: “Historically the citizens of Europe and their offspring societies in the Americas and Australasia have been white,” he writes, while the present is bringing all sorts of people who aren’t White into the social contract. The author also takes on the well-worn subject of campus “wokeness,” a topic of considerable discussion by professors who question whether things have gone a bit too far; indeed, the campus is the locus for much of the anti-Western sentiment that Murray condemns. The author’s arguments against reparations for past damages inflicted by institutionalized slavery are particularly glib. “It comes down to people who look like the people to whom a wrong was done in history receiving money from people who look like the people who may have done the wrong,” he writes. “It is hard to imagine anything more likely to rip apart a society than attempting a wealth transfer based on this principle.” Murray does attempt to negotiate some divides reasonably, arguing against “exclusionary lines” and for Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s call for a more vigorous and welcoming civil culture. Too often, however, the author falters, as when he derides Gen. Mark Milley for saying, “I want to understand white rage. And I’m white”—perhaps forgetting the climacteric White rage that Milley monitored on January 6, 2021.

A scattershot exercise in preaching to the choir.

Pub Date: April 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-316202-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Broadside Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2022

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Gates offers a persuasive, 30,000-foot view of a global problem that, he insists, can be prevented given will and money.


The tech mogul recounts the health care–related dimensions of his foundation in what amounts to a long policy paper.

“Outbreaks are inevitable, but pandemics are optional.” Thus states the epidemiologist Larry Brilliant, a Gates adviser, who hits on a critically important point: Disease is a fact of nature, but a pandemic is a political creation of a kind. Therefore, there are political as well as medical solutions that can enlist governments as well as scientists to contain outbreaks and make sure they don’t explode into global disasters. One critical element, Gates writes, is to alleviate the gap between high- and low-income countries, the latter of which suffer disproportionately from outbreaks. Another is to convince governments to ramp up production of vaccines that are “universal”—i.e., applicable to an existing range of disease agents, especially respiratory pathogens such as coronaviruses and flus—to prepare the world’s populations for the inevitable. “Doing the right thing early pays huge dividends later,” writes Gates. Even though doing the right thing is often expensive, the author urges that it’s a wise investment and one that has never been attempted—e.g., developing a “global corps” of scientists and aid workers “whose job is to wake up every day thinking about diseases that could kill huge numbers of people.” To those who object that such things are easier said than done, Gates counters that the development of the current range of Covid vaccines was improbably fast, taking a third of the time that would normally have been required. At the same time, the author examines some of the social changes that came about through the pandemic, including the “new normal” of distance working and learning—both of which, he urges, stand to be improved but need not be abandoned.

Gates offers a persuasive, 30,000-foot view of a global problem that, he insists, can be prevented given will and money.

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-53448-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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