Courageous Discomfort: How to Have Important, Brave, Life-Changing Conversations about Race and Racism
An empowering handbook on how to have candid conversations around race and become a better advocate, written by a Black woman and a white woman who ask and answer 20 common, uncomfortable-but-critical questions about racism.
Many people struggle to have honest conversations about race, even those who consider themselves allies or identify as anti-racist. For anyone who wants to have better, more productive discussions, COURAGEOUS DISCOMFORT is an empowering handbook that teaches you how to do just that.
In these pages, authors (and best friends), Shanterra McBride, who is Black, and Rosalind Wiseman, who is white, discuss their own friendship and tap into their decades of anti-racism work to answer the 20 uncomfortable-but-critical questions about race they get asked most often, including:
• Should I see color?
• I'm a good person—how can I be racist?
• What if I say something wrong?
• What kind of apology makes a difference?
These 20 questions-as-chapters invite you into the conversation without judgment and inspire thoughtful reflection and discussion. There will be moments when you will laugh or cringe at the ridiculous or awkward things you read. But the truth is, there is no perfect solution or script for every maybe-racist, sort-of-racist, or blatantly racist situation. And that's OK: making mistakes is just an opportunity to do better next time. But doing this work will empower us to have the relationships we really want to have, including the relationship we want to have with ourselves.
TIMELY BUT PERENNIAL TOPIC: Social justice is a longstanding, perennial issue but has entered the vanguard of national discourse in recent years. For anyone hungry for resources related to being an advocate for diversity and inclusion, COURAGEOUS DISCOMFORT provides an accessible, empowering playbook to follow as you confront and reckon with race-related issues and questions, now and moving forward.
ACCESSIBLE APPROACH: This beautifully designed book stands out from the more academic books in this category like WHITE FRAGILITY and HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST. With accessible writing, an organizing principle that invites you into the conversation, and a lovely package, COURAGEOUS DISCOMFORT is user-friendly and can even be given as an inoffensive, helpful gift to friends, relatives, and recent grads.
BLACK AUTHOR + WHITE AUTHOR: Written by a Black and white author pair who have both published books before, this handbook is authentic and credible, but also approachable. The authors' tone and the organization of the book make it feel as if you are part of their candid conversation on race, with someone asking all the uncomfortable, awkward questions that you have asked yourself, or your friends are too scared to ask of you. This Q&A format applies to readers, whether they identify as white or non-white, who have found themselves in similar conversations, unsure of how to handle them.
GREAT FOR BOOK CLUBS: Inspired by a webinar, featuring chapters-as-questions, this book is primed for book clubs. The organization lends itself perfectly to discussion—clubs can pose each question/chapter title, review the thought prompts, and share personal experiences for an enlightening, educational, and productive conversation.
• People who want to have better, more productive conversations around race and racial issues
• White people who want to be better allies
• Anyone who is focused on social justice, particularly millennials and members of Gen Z
• People who read books like WHITE FRAGILITY, CASTE, and HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST
Praise for Courageous Discomfort: How to Have Important, Brave, Life-Changing Conversations about Race and Racism
Courageous Discomfort is exactly what the world needs in our divided times. McBride and Wiseman challenge us to confront our racial biases through brilliant and brave stories that show us how to unpack uncomfortable experiences and handle difficult moments in authentic ways. This book is about positivity and hope-it offers a clear path to help us better ourselves, improve our relationships with our friends and families, and ultimately heal our communities.
-Michele Borba, EdD, author of Thrivers and UnSelfie
Conversations about race need not make you feel at a loss for words. This entirely approachable, compassionate, and thought-provoking guide offers all the support you’ll want for engaging in meaningful discussions.
-Michelle Icard, author of Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen
Based on work that both Wiseman and McBride have done with all kinds of communities-from the most conservative to the most liberal-this book shows us how to positively transform our conversations about race and uphold the dignity of all of us. Everyone should read it!
-Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, author of Fierce Love
Courageous Discomfort offers invaluable insight for how to navigate the troubled waters created by systemic racism. McBride and Wiseman utilize the power of acknowledgment, deep listening, vulnerability, and curiosity to address and rectify the historical wrongs perpetrated by racist ideology. This book is a gift to anyone who wishes to contribute to making the world safe for us all to live authentically with our dignity intact.
-Donna Hicks, Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
Courageous Discomfort helps you find your footing in your anti-racist journey and gives you tools to confidently make a difference at this pivotal point in our history.
-Ryan Harris, Super Bowl champion and bestselling author