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Watson shines a light on the true problem with racism. "Its not a skin problem, its a sin problem." This is powerful, thought provoking book looking at the issues of race in America. Thanks Ben, this book has not only helped me talk about race with kids and adults, more importantly it has allow me to get with God and deal with the racists views in my own heart.
Rev. Felton L. Woodson, MEd, MDiv
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Before I say anything about the actual content, let me mention the writing; it's not good. It's not terrible, either, but definitely not good. The people he talks about all feel shallow and one-dimensional, and I have a hard time caring about any of them. He also tends to ramble. For example, in the middle of a story about a drive into the hospital, he launches into a side-story about how he and his wife met and got married, a story that contributes absolutely zilch to the original story about the ride to the hospital. He stayed on this bunny-trail for so long that I actually forgot he had been telling the first story at all. Now for the content itself... If, like me, you expect this book to show the same thoughtful, analytical tone that his Facebook posts carried, prepare yourself for disappointment. I fully expected to enjoy this book, and, to be fair, the author really does say a lot of good things. But he says a lot of other things that ruin the good things. Some of them are downright ridiculous. For example, he alleges that, at 3 A.M., you'll be pulled over simply for being black. I have a challenge for you, Mr. Watson. You drive down the road at 3 A.M. and attempt to tell the race of the driver in front of you. In fact, while not impossible, go ahead and see how easy it is in broad daylight. Have fun. The author also tends to be a bit duplicitous. While calling for us to stop painting groups of people with broad brush strokes, he also very strongly suggests (a number of times) that all police are racist. He recounts instances of his fear of police (nothing bad happened in any of these cases, by the way), and uses that fear as a basis to say police are racist and make assumptions about black people. But... doesn't that sound an awful lot like he's making assumptions about the police? He also calls for open dialog about race issues, yet repeatedly pulls the "white people think, but black people know" card throughout the book, suggesting over and over that white people's thoughts and opinions on race really aren't worth anything. In the end, this ends up feeling like just another rant on "what I'm fed up with in America" instead of a thoughtful story, like what I was expecting based on his Facebook posts. And that's a shame, because buried amidst all that are some really good thoughts.