The Other Talk: Reckoning with Our White Privilege

Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy. Sept. 2021. 272p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781534494046.
Gr 7 Up–The phrase “the talk” often refers to the conversation parents of children of color have with them to help them survive encounters with the police. In this important work, Kiely names “the other talk” and discusses why it is so important in our society. The other talk is about white privilege and how those with that privilege can and should work to combat racism. He shares several stories from his life growing up with white privilege and parallels them with some of the tragedies that result from racism. For example, Kiely writes how he was rightfully pulled over by police several times but never got a ticket. He also relates how he wasn’t caught while committing petty theft numerous times as a teen alongside a story of a Black teen who was shot and killed during an encounter over playing music loudly. Kiely teaches readers what white privilege is and about its many forms; he speaks not only to how it has helped him but also addresses its examples in society such as the consequences of discrimination in housing. He argues that it is the responsibility of those with this privilege to fight racism in its many forms, not only when it makes the headlines but also, equally important, in smaller instances such as in private conversations. This deeply personal narrative also succeeds at being a page turner. The writing style is highly engaging and conversational, and the stories are absorbing and at times, truly upsetting.
VERDICT A compelling call to action that belongs in all collections serving middle and high school students.

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