All the White Friends I Couldn’t Keep: Hope—and Hard Pills To Swallow—About Fighting for Black Lives

Convergent. Mar. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9780593239889. $26. REL
Henry, a singer-songwriter and host of the podcast Hope & Hard Pills, writes an honest, painful autobiography, about one Black man’s journey to awareness, self-definition, and renewed identity amid the Black Lives Matter movement and the struggle against white supremacy in the United States. As the title attests, this is the story of choosing to end relationships made toxic by micro-aggressions, stubborn ignorance, and persistent defense of a white status quo that devalues Black lives. Henry begins his narrative very embedded within white American narratives and institutions. He has white friends from church and seminary; some close enough to consider family. However, as his eyes are opened to the realities of violence and discrimination against Black Americans, he begins to raise his voice in the fight against anti-Blackness. But as his awareness grows, he finds his white friends attempting to silence him, to defend racist views and systems, and to generally suck the life out of his attempts to make meaningful change.
VERDICT This is a book full of difficult choices, about choosing not to waste energy trying to convince those willfully entrenched in racist narratives, during a personal and historic struggle for meaning, life, and Black joy.
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