Two journalists present their conversations with people of color about approaches to resisting white supremacy, which “defines our current reality.”
Solomon (co-editor: Naked: Black Women Bare All About Their Skin, Hair, Hips, Lips, and Other Parts, 2005) and Rankin (editor: Bet on Black: African-American Women Celebrate Fatherhood in the Age of Barack Obama, 2013), colleagues at Colorlines, present “a curated, multidisciplinary collection that serves as a showcase for some of our most powerful thinkers and doers.” At the opening of each chapter, which covers grassroots organizing and the necessity of gallows humor in the face of discrimination, among many other topics, the authors give their views on why that topic relates to the resistance. At the end of each chapter, Solomon and Rankin offer deeply personal, uncompromising reflections. For example, at the end of “Laugh to Keep from Crying,” Solomon writes, “laughing is an underground railroad for those of us lucky to ride its tracks, the vehicle through which we have mushed you in your savage face for murdering us because you are a land-thieving lazy ass who believed that something called God told you to kidnap, dehumanize, and torture other people into doing your fucking farming, child care, and nation-building.” Though the book was composed with “Black folks in mind,” the lessons for any reader are apparent and highly useful. Some of the contributors will be familiar to readers who pay attention to contemporary literature and race-related issues—e.g., Ta-Nehisi Coates, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Imani Perry, and Kiese Laymon—and any reader who believes strongly in their own progressivism will still learn from various passages about how people of color deal with certain realities every day. As these pieces demonstrate, white supremacy does not always take obvious forms such as violence; Solomon, Rankin, and the other contributors show that it can take subtler forms.
A powerful anthology that might indeed fulfill the wish of the co-authors that readers craft potent strategies to resist white supremacy.