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THE MOMENT by Bakari Sellers Kirkus Star


Thoughts on the Race Reckoning That Wasn't and How We All Can Move Forward Now

by Bakari Sellers

Pub Date: April 23rd, 2024
ISBN: 9780063085022
Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

An impassioned account of how Black Americans’ civil rights gains continue to unravel.

Sellers, author of My Vanishing Country, fuses memoir with a cogent discussion of “whitelash” since the 1960s, but especially since the Trump presidency. A CNN commentator whose emotional response to the murder of George Floyd went viral when he exclaimed, “It’s hard being Black in this country when your life is not valued,” the author notes, “I struggle, like most mothers and fathers of Black children, particularly Black boys, to explain the world that they’re walking into.” Sellers grew up in rural South Carolina, listening to his father, a civil rights activist, “discuss all the deaths he’d seen in the 1960s and the day he was shot during the Orangeburg massacre.” The author links this chilling depiction of “white terrorism in the hot Delta summer” to a resurgence of right-wing violence, as well as patterns of police brutality. Sellers moves easily among his family history and subtopics including the resilience of the Black church, the disproportionate toll of Covid-19 on Black communities, and the persistence of institutional racism alongside the pernicious role of “racial capitalist[s]” like Tucker Carlson, whose rhetoric directly influenced the race-motivated mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, in 2022. “Spanning the Civil War and the civil rights eras,” writes Sellers, “this country has experienced two reconstructions followed by a white supremacist pushback against each,” and the author links this to post-Obama voter suppression. “The supporters of white supremacist philosophy—whether they be Donald Trump, Jesse Watters, Megyn Kelly, Mitch McConnell, or others—want to maintain all the power,” he writes. In impressively concise fashion, Sellers makes a host of pertinent arguments crisply and effectively, disturbingly documenting the overtness of efforts to maintain structural racism across the country.

An urgent, astute synthesis of many hard truths about racial backlash.