Uprooting Racism publisher’s note

Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice, by Paul Kivel.
In 1995, I worked on one of my last books for New Society Publishers,
Uprooting Racism, by Paul Kivel. I was both editor and typesetter. It was in my capacity as the former that I wrote this publisher’s note.


In this book, Paul Kiv­el is tak­ing on a lot. He’s speak­ing to white peo­ple as a fel­low white per­son about a hush-hush sub­ject: racism. He’s speak­ing with an hon­esty that allows for con­fu­sion and for admis­sion of his own inner prej­u­dices. In an era when many whites express pride of the advance­ment of the civ­il rights move­ment, he asks why so much of our world is still racial­ly proscribed.

Our soci­ety has been built upon a foun­da­tion of racism for so long that it’s become part of the land­scape: always there, sel­dom acknowl­edged. In this book, Kiv­el acknowl­edges and he ques­tions. He asks us where we came from, he asks us what we know. He’s resist­ed the temp­ta­tion to make this a man­u­al of polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness, and has instead allowed us to share our own prej­u­dices with him as we read.

Kiv­el chal­lenges us to look at our place in soci­ety. Just because we’ve begun to unlearn racism doesn’t mean the per­son wash­ing the dish­es of a favorite restau­rant isn’t still African Amer­i­can. Or that the edi­tor of a favorite mag­a­zine isn’t still a white per­son. Or that the taxi dri­ver we hail isn’t still clas­si­fied an ille­gal alien by a gov­ern­ment restrict­ing immi­gra­tion from darker-skinned regions of the world.

Paul Kiv­el doesn’t give us pat answers to these dilem­mas. He knows there will be no point at which we can sit back and con­sid­er our job com­plet­ed. We must con­tin­ue to wres­tle with these ques­tions, and in the con­fu­sion find moments of con­nec­tion and clarity.

Uproot­ing racism is of course a large task, much larg­er than any one of us. But by work­ing in our com­mu­ni­ties, and by engag­ing with our neigh­bors, work­mates, and friends, we can make a dif­fer­ence. May this book inspire and con­fuse you!

Mar­tin Kel­ley, for the New Soci­ety Publishers

June 2016: Found in the Pendle Hill library:2D02AB99-CB27-4A0E-A1EB-DB33AF5F5A7B