The year 2020 has been one that has forced people across the world to unite in the fight against two pandemics.
First, it is the new respiratory pandemic, Covid-19, and then the old pandemic of the mind, also known as racism.
The senseless death of George Floyd almost forced everyone across the globe to take a knee against anti-black racism, while the high number of deaths in Argentina and also in many countries due to Coronavirus continue to see human beings show human solidarity across the planet in the continuous fight against the virus.
It might be a matter of time before the world can find the cure for Covid-19, however, it has been ages since we have been looking for the racism one, especially one for anti-black racism.
Just like the cure of Covid-19 is in the final stages, Emmanuel Acho has prescribed an antidote that can help cure the minds of white racists.
In Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man, Emmanuel directly speaks to the minds of white racists in the United States of America in his bid to help them rid themselves of the disease that has affected them for ages. In a candid manner, the scribe forces white Americans into an uncomfortable conversation about racism and how to cure their racist minds by providing solutions to them about how to stop being racist and to become better citizens.
Now, I need to admit that the importance of this book can never be overstated. This is a book that will help in getting rid of this ugly pandemic that forever shows its face now and then in our different societies.
Acho has given the white racists a prescribed medication for their mental illness. Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man is a book that will transform many lives.
For black people, this is a book that will help create a safe space for them, while for white people, it will help them change their attitude and behaviour towards fellow human beings.
I need to admit that this is not a book that aims to attack the white community but rather make them reckon with the fact that the world has advantaged them and continues to do so at the expense of all other races. And this has translated in them treating Black people and other ethnicities ungracefully.
While Emmanuel’s focus is on white Americans, black and white South African readers will relate to all the themes he touches on. From anti-black racism, white privilege, whiteness, cultural appropriation, interracial marriages, racial justice and equality to structural and systemic racism in our criminal justice system and issues of economic redress.
It is expected that some of the white people might take issue with this book, while some blacks might also disagree with some of the scribe’s sentiments.
I personally disagree with his assertion on interracial marriages. The belief that interracial marriages can in a way end racism is misguided.
However, the point of this book is to help us have those uncomfortable discussions about this pandemic until we reach our desired non-racial society we all dream about.
This is a must-read book which adds value to the race and anti-black racism discourse. I fully recommend it to white South Africans, particularly those in Orania, Brackenfell and Senekal.