Book Review by Chris Van Liew
I read Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race (Tatum) this summer with staff members from our IT Services organization, and my team is currently holding small-group discussions about its content. Tatum’s clear definition of racism as a “system of advantage based on race” (pg. 90) is very helpful in moving the conversation on race from abstract concepts into a measurable reality that we can change. As it turns out, another book not actually on the Inclusive Excellence Summer Reading List that had an even greater personal impact for me this summer is White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism (DiAngelo). White Fragility helped me see with greater clarity my experience in white societal systems, provided insight into the reasons behind my own thoughts and actions (and reactions) as my fundamental beliefs are challenged, and illuminated key considerations and new principles to explore. These books have been thoughtful guides as I strive to grow personally as well as encourage my organization forward in Inclusive Excellence.