Author: Kaolin
Publisher: Crandall, Dostie, & Douglas Books, Inc.
ISBN 978-1-934390-31-3

Kaolin, author of Talking About Race, was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. (2009, p.133-4) She began college during the Vietnam War and left in order to reason out how she felt about the war and civil rights. She married a Vietnam Vet and had two children. They were divorced later because she realized she was a lesbian. Kaolin has lived many places that have helped to shape her perspectives on racial relationships which form the basis for this well thought out educational book. She even devised and taught a class for two semesters on race and racism while attending the University of MA and earning her Bachelor’s degree in education.

The emphasis for Kaolin writing this book is to teach white people what they can do to help achieve racial equality. (2009, p.7) Kaolin happens to be a white woman who was previously married to a black man. She has lived with the tensions that come along with having mixed racial marriages and hopes to change that for the betterment of the blacks within our society.

Kaolin explains that many times people are in denial about racism and that the denial is a protectionist measure to ensure their power and control. (p.13) Page seventeen states some traits for racists. In this vein she states that even those who do not consider themselves racists can be touted racist if they accept the racist biases around them and do nothing to change them. The first step in moving past this unsavory dilemma is to recognize and accept that white people were born into this life of privilege. (p.19) This privilege has been handed down from generation to generation such that each family more than likely has at least one racist amongst them. (p.25)

There are regular exercises in this workbook that can help each of us to piece together our own race stories and help us to realize how to break free from them and move into a mindset of racial equality. Kaolin introduces many terms to help the reader easily associate with her teachings and understand why some resist this process of forging racial equality. There are personal stories from her students that direct and cement the process of moving through our learned racism. The book is intended to be read in portions and then set aside for self reflection and introspection, both critical in truly understanding and critiquing our actions in the past and working toward what our future behaviors will be.

Some of the topics discussed are tough, but need to be addressed in order to effectively work through our race issues. For instance, on page thirty five Kaolin asks “Do you see a connection between racism and violence?”.  The author impresses upon us [the reader] the importance of knowing our various histories and examining our many motives that have helped to support and promote white supremacy, fear, and violence. It is only by visiting these histories and understanding the motives that we can begin to clearly see that racism was used to protect white privilege in families, schools, work places, our economy, and government. (p.36)

Honesty in response to the many questions asked of us throughout this book is paramount to changing our mindset toward racial equality. Kaolin asks us not to allow the unbalanced perceptions of others as rejection of our own race, but as that of inclusion to the human race. (2009, p.90) There are many helpful hints offered as we read and digest this work. Thank you Kaolin for asking us to embark on this life changing journey!