UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATIONS WITH A BLACK MAN, by Emmanuel Acho (Flatiron Books, New York, NY, 2020, 244 pages).
Book Review by Dennis Moore
February 28, 2021 (San Diego) - Emmanuel Acho believes the only way to cure our nation’s oldest disease – racism – starts with a profound, revolutionary idea: actually talking to one another. No, seriously. Until it gets uncomfortable … and then some!
In Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, “An Oprah Book”, Acho connects his own experience with race and racism – including his majority – white prep school education juxtaposed with his time in majority – black NFL locker rooms – with the lessons of history, culture, and the wisdom of other voices. The result is an essential guide to the conversations we should all be having to increase our understanding and join the anti-racist fight.
Nothing is off the table. Want to know exactly why it’s okay for white people to use the N-word? Whether you should teach your kids to “see color”? Whether “reverse racism” exists? Why white privilege isn’t just for the wealthy? What it really means to be an ally? Acho addresses these and many more questions with the same openness and vulnerability he asks of the reader.
Filled with honest reflections and actionable conclusions, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand and eradicate racism. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” It’s time to listen, learn, and speak.
Imagine, if you can, David Duke or some leader of a white supremacist organization sitting across from Emmanuel Acho or Rev. Al Sharpton, and having an uncomfortable conversation on racism and the history of blacks in this country! This, after reading “The 1619 Project!” See attached here. The author actually has an illuminating YouTube video conversation with noted actor Matthew McConaughey on the subject of having an uncomfortable subject with a black man!
In his sit down conversation with Matthew McConaughey on the 2nd episode of the YouTube video of Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, McConaughey asks Acho; “how can I do better as a man, how can I do better as a white man?” Acho says in response to McConaughey: “You have to acknowledge that there is a problem!” Acknowledging that there is a problem can be demonstrated in the attached Democracy Now video; “The Truth in Black and White”: The Kansas City Star apologizes for history of Racist Coverage here.
EMMANUEL ACHO, the son of Nigerian immigrant parents, grew up in Dallas with his three siblings. In 2012 he was drafted into the NFL by the Cleveland Browns, and he later played with the Philadelphia Eagles while earning a master’s degree in sports psychology at the University of Texas in the off-season. In 2016 he left the NFL for ESPN, where he served as the nation’s youngest national football analyst, and he was named to the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 list. He is now a Fox Sports analyst and the creator of the ongoing online video series Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man.
The author has recently expanded his horizons by being selected to host 'The Bachelor' on March 15 in an episode titled "After the Final Rose."
I now find myself watching religiously the daily sports show Speak for Yourself that Acho co-hosts with Marcellus Wiley on FS1, as it gives me insight into this man that goes beyond just talking about sports. He has a keen intellect about the bigger picture, human nature and the frailty of life! An example of Acho's keen intellect is indicated in the banter between he and Wiley on Speak for Yourself in their podcast here.
Coming at the end of Black History Month, this book by Acho is timely and revealing, a book that I highly recommend.
Dennis Moore has been the Associate Editor for the East County Magazine in San Diego and the book review editor for SDWriteway, an online newsletter for writers in San Diego that has partnered with the East County Magazine. Mr. Moore can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.