Margin Notes



The Other Talk: Reckoning with My Our White Privilege takes the knowledge that BIPOC people (Brendan Kiely uses Tiffany Jewell’s term Global Majority) are forced to have “The Talk” about racism and survival in a way that white folks have the privilege of avoiding.  

In his author’s note, Brendan Kiely says that he “heard so many people of the Global Majority asking white people to get more involved – to listen more, learn more, and to speak up more about racism and white privilege – and [he did] not want to dodge that call [he’d] heard so loud and clear.” 

This book is one of his responses. 

Brendan uses a conversational tone that is welcoming to young people as he revisits his past and reflects on his learning about being anti-racist. He shares raw stories of when he got it wrong, so that his readers can see their own privilege and learn how to do better. His reflection invites the reader to think about their own experiences without shame or guilt, but with a desire to learn. 

Brendan weaves in history and information but tailors it to a YA audience by explicitly connecting the history and the narrative in a way that is easy to follow. The impact of systemic racism is continually referenced to clearly explain how it is rooted and continues to influence the present.  

He borrows a quote from Kyle Korver who says: 

As white people, are we guilty of the sins of our forefathers? No, I don’t think so.   

But are we responsible for them? Yes, I believe we are. 

And I guess I’ve come to realize that when we talk about solutions to systemic racism . . . it’s not about guilt. It’s not about pointing fingers, or passing blame.  

It’s about responsibility. 

This book belongs in your classroom library because it is accessible and guides the reader through the history and importance of anti-racism, using the lens of a white man examining his own privilege. Brendan covers the topics of systemic racism, stepping in vs listening, staying in the discomfort, guilt, white passing and more. 

We need to have “The Other Talk” about white privilege. As Brendan leaves the reader,  

Now is the time to take action! 

Join that tradition and be part of shaping that future. 

Show up. Speak out. 

Do something. 

You can. 


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