To this day, I don't use the N-word.
I'll never forget THAT "Talk." A conversation I had with one of my white co-workers when I was in corporate America as a System Engineer many moons ago.
One day, he asked, "hey, why can't we use the N-word? After all, you all use it."
I said, "I don't use it. I find it offensive." Then our conversation was interrupted by another co-worker regarding a topic relating to the project we worked on together.
I was bracing myself for a long drawn out back and forth as we had done before where in the end I was exhausted and he was no closer to understanding my position than before. I had to think, "is today the day I lose my job..."
Then a miracle happened weeks later. I overheard him talking with another white co-worker casually using the term "redneck." Patiently and calmly, I waited until the co-worker left and asked, "forgive me for overhearing your conversation, but, I noticed you used the word "redneck."
"Would it be ok for me to use the term?"
"Now do you understand why you can't use the N-word?"
exhale... some days, you win, and some, you just wait for the best time to make your point. And some days... there's no telling what may happen.
Congratulations to Just Us Books for publishing an important book for these times.
Thirty diverse, award-winning authors and illustrators invite you into their homes to witness the conversations they have with their children about race in America today in this powerful call-to-action that invites all families to be anti-racists and advocates for change.
As long as racist ideas persist, families will continue to have the difficult and necessary conversations with their young ones on the subject. In this inspiring collection, literary all-stars such as Renée Watson (Piecing Me Together), Grace Lin (Where the Mountain Meets the Moon), Meg Medina (Merci Suárez Changes Gears), Adam Gidwitz (The Inquisitor's Tale), and many more engage young people in frank conversations about race, identity, and self-esteem. Featuring text and images filled with love, acceptance, truth, peace, and an assurance that there can be hope for a better tomorrow, The Talk is a stirring anthology and must-have resource published in partnership with Just Us Books, a Black-owned children's publishing company that's been in operation for over thirty years. Just Us Books continues its mission grounded in the same belief that helped launch the company: Good books make a difference.
So, let's talk.
Featured contributors: Selina Alko, Tracey Baptiste, Derrick Barnes, Natacha Bustos, Cozbi A. Cabrera, Raul Colón, Adam Gidwitz, Nikki Grimes, Rudy Gutierrez, April Harrison, Wade Hudson, Gordon C. James, Minh Lê, E. B. Lewis, Grace Lin, Torrey Maldonado, Meg Medina, Christopher Myers, Daniel Nayeri, Zeke Peña, Peter H. Reynolds, Erin K. Robinson, Traci Sorell, Shadra Strickland, Don Tate, MaryBeth Timothy, Duncan Tonatiuh, Renée Watson, Valerie Wilson Wesley, Sharon Dennis Wyeth
The go-to book for talking to kids about race and privilege. Thoughtful. Thought-provoking. A must-read for every family. --Ellen Oh, editor of Flying Lessons & Other Stories and cofounder of We Need Diverse Books
The ingredients are all here. May this magnificent collection inspire us to move from dialogue to deep action. --Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
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