A new book hitting shelves this month is designed to help guide children, teens and adults in their discussion about racism. Tiffany Jewell has penned, “This Book is Anti-Racist,” in which she notes that some have given the impression that individuals are wrong and even stirring trouble when they discuss racism.
“Racism is a problem, a very serious problem, and it needs to be talked about because it isn’t going away if we do nothing,” said Jewell, who describes herself as a “biracial writer, parent and Montessori educator who has been doing the work of dismantling white supremacy for 12 years.”
The co-founder of #AntiRacistBookClub, Jewell, says the book’s importance is underscored by the demonstrations and protests that are taking place globally in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis.
She ys while the philosophy of anti-racism has been growing in awareness in the last few years, “This Book is Anti-Racist,” is the first about anti-racism for teenagers, and aims to empower young people to disrupt racist systems that previous generations have put in place.
“Anti-racism has helped me to have a clearer understanding of the world around me, how we got here, and it has helped me to shape a clear vision of what an anti-racist, just society could and will be like,” Jewell said. “These questions do not only arise when injustice is being discussed in the news; bias and racism are not only new today. They are foundational in this country. They are issues of our past, our present, and our tomorrow.” Jewell added that she wrote the book for everyone.
“This is the book I wish I had when I was nine years old, sitting in a classroom with a racist teacher. I wrote this for all my former students who always want to know more and want to know that, even though they’re young, they do have the agency to make impactful change,” she said. “And, this is the book I want my children to read. I wrote this book for parents and families for educators and administrators. I wrote it for all the students and children who live in our racialized society— which is everywhere.” Jewell insists— “this book is for our ancestors. It’s for our futures. It’s for all the young black, indigenous and people of color, like Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Tamir Rice, who [were] murdered by the hands of those we are supposed to go to for help. Our young ancestors should not be simply memorialized in our hashtags— they deserve more than that.”
Jewell says many white adults are just now coming to terms that racism harms everyone. She noted that they’re dealing with the fact that, to undo a system that strips us of our humanity, they’ll have to relearn who they can be and redistribute
resources, privilege and wealth children of color may live in a more equitable and just world.
“Because the adults are scared and uncomfortable, it is immediately assumed that the children will be too— and they cannot handle the truth,” Jewell said. “They can. Talking with children about race, their identities, and sharing truths with them is very developmentally appropriate. Keeping children innocent reinforces white supremacy culture. Children [of color] are not afforded the same innocence white children are allowed to have.
“Not speaking the truth reinforces racism. It allows us to believe it’s normal. If we don’t talk with our children about injustice and systemic oppression, they’ll still have their questions and form their answers, which can be inaccurate and confusing.”
To purchase “This Book is Anti-Racist,” visit: www.amazon.com.