Earlier in 2020, after the events that ended the life of George Floyd, Emmanuel Acho started creating and posting a series of YouTube videos titled Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man. I was intrigued from the start and eagerly anticipated each new release. And then I heard about this book coming out. I immediately pre-ordered it from my local independent bookstore (shop small!) and impatiently waited until the release day. The book did not disappoint.
The end of the book states, “Ending racism is not a finish line that we will cross. It’s a road we’ll travel.” That’s a powerful statement to close with–and also one that could have been the opening line. The history in the United States is dark and ugly and, well, uncomfortable for a lot of people to face, acknowledge, and talk about. And yet nothing can change if we do not know and understand the past. So many of us were raised to avoid conversations that could be charged–don’t talk about religion or politics or race. What Emmanual Acho is advocating for is for us all to instead wade into the waters of discomfort and have conversations. Share and ask questions and listen and approach it all with an open mind, humility, and heart.
Not sure how or where to start? Pick up this book. Buy a copy and mark up the pages and passages that are the most meaningful for you. Lean into the discomfort that you may feel with the certainty of growing and knowing that, together, we can take steps toward change and a more equitable future for everyone.