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Stay Woke: A People’s Guide to Making All Black Lives Matter, Tehama Lopez Bunyasi and Candis Watts Smith

Reviewed by Jessica D. Johnson Carew

BUY

 

Despite the degree to which race and race-based discrimination continue to negatively influence U.S. society, we, as a nation, still have a difficult time with openly and frankly discussing these topics. Tehama Lopez Bunyasi and Candis Watts Smith’s Stay Woke has the potential to open us not only to finding meaningful ways to engage harsh and uncomfortable realities concerning anti-Black racism and structural inequalities in the United States, but also to effectively combating these problems.

Lopez Bunyasi and Smith begin with a particularly ambitious set of goals for this book; they not only achieve but exceed their aims. Through a combination of critical race theory, social science research, and plainly stated critical analysis, they expertly make the case for recognizing racism as structural in nature. In this book, the authors debunk myths regarding Black Lives Matter and the broader Movement for Black Lives; provide scholarly expertise to elucidate the nature and forms of structural racism; encourage self-reflection so that readers can evaluate how they may unknowingly perpetuate racial inequality; and provide guidance for considering how to effect policy change at the state and local levels. Additionally, they craft an essential chapter full of “instructive encouragement” and “food for thought” to help people feeling

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