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Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho - Book Review

2 min read

Table of contents

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🚀 The Book in 3 Sentences
  1. Racism is a social construct that serves as an economic, political, and social tool.
  2. Assumptions aren’t bad, but it’s always good to question your beliefs and their morality.
  3. The more uncomfortable the conversation is, the more we need it.

If you want an overview by Acho himself, check out this video:

🌟 Star Rating
🎨 Impressions

I thought this book would be relatively uncomfortable to read. Unfortunately, it was a pretty comfortable read for me. I consider myself to be decently aware regarding race, so it isn’t a huge surprise? Regardless, I give it a 4/5 because I think Acho does a good job of breaking down common questions white people have about being black.

I am not white, however. I think I knew about most of the actions Acho calls for within Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man before reading the book. The one thing that really hit me was when Acho says, “Imagine clocking every time a white woman crosses the sidewalk or ends up on the elevator with you; imagine having to avert your gaze so you don’t make a white person uncomfortable, or changing your stride in front of police. Imagine always having to be on guard to gauge whether you are being perceived as a threat or are in some way playing into some white person’s negative image or idea of you.” I hadn’t thought of these obstacles as a part of what black people face. Being Asian, I don’t have to think about these things as much. It shocked me to think about having to do these things every day.

Because Acho does a good job at informing his target audience—white people—I give the book a 4/5.

How I Discovered It

I was walking around a book store and saw this book on one of the tables. The title intrigued me because I’ve wanted to learn more about race.

Who Should Read It?

If you’re a white person, you should read this book (especially if you got offended by me saying that). If you’re interested in learning some history behind racism, the N-word, and other issues that come with being black, you should read this book.

☘️ How the Book Changed Me
  • I’m more inclined to be an ally and outspoken in race-related topics.
  • I’m reminded of the privileges I have, but now I see that these privileges don’t protect me from oppression.
  • I finally understand why “I don’t see color” is so problematic.
✍️ My Top 3 Quotes
Race doesn’t really exist for you because it has never been a barrier. Black folks don’t have that choice. —CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE,  AMERICANAH
To all of my readers who are wavering on whether white privilege is real, I pose the same question Lentz posed to the skeptical white man. What do you have to lose by believing in it? —EMMANUEL ACHO, UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATIONS WITH A BLACK MAN
Ending racism is not a finish line that we will cross. It’s a road we’ll travel. —EMMANUEL ACHO, UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATIONS WITH A BLACK MAN
Michel Liao

Michel Liao

Boise, Idaho, United States
Hello! I'm a sophomore studying computer science at Princeton. I like reading, rock climbing, and running.