How To Be An Antiracist Book Club Testimonials

Author Ibram X. Kendi crafts his story in an open and vulnerable way which inspires readers to do the same and look within. I appreciated this opportunity to have an open dialog about racism with my colleagues and explore the many layers of racism and policies that perpetuate it’s existence.  An important step forward is to establish a level of comfort in being able to challenge each other to think differently.  “Some of us are restrained by fear of what could happen to us if we resist.  In our naïveté, we are less fearful of what could happen to us- or is already happening to us- if we don’t resist.”  Antiracism must be at the forefront of our thinking, in everything that we do, in order to implement antiracist policies at every turn.” – Laurie Dubois, Internal Medicine Residency Program


“I am grateful to the members of the DoM community that found the time to join our book club.  They showed up, shared openly, and listened to others as they talked about deeply personal ideas about their own lives and the lens with which they have viewed the world. I am proud to be a leader in our department and look forward to continuing on this journey with all of you.  The great philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said, “I was in darkness, but I took three steps and found myself in paradise.  The first step was a good thought, the second, a good word; and the third, a good deed.”  I believe that is our path forward together.  We must continue to create space for our thoughts, works that create policies that commit us to our principals of diversity, equity, including, and belonging, and action that creates change where we seek it, together.” – Rania Omar Burke, PhD, Department of Medicine


“Race in America has been a major talking point for all of us this year.  Whether you have been directly involved in a book club or you have watched one of the 2020 Presidential debates.  We can collectively agree that racism continues to be a long standing issue that requires immediate attention.  The question is, “Where do we start?”  After participating in this book club and reading “How to be an Antiracist”. I took the time to dig a bit deeper into “where do we start”?  At the initial meeting my view was the it was not my responsibility to undo the wrong that this nation has done to black and brown people.  After attending the weekly discussions I began to realize that the problem was bigger than me and the answer was actually within the question being asked.  It starts with us.  We as a group were able to address our unconscious biases in a safe, nonjudgemental space.  We spent the time acknowledging our different point of views and that was exactly what would be needed to move us pass the starting point and into a place of understanding.  We all agreed that these types are spaces were needed in order for us to improve as a department.  I look forward to participating in future discussions and hope that these types of spaces can be used to advance us not only as a department but as the human race.” – Rachelle Joseph, Research Administration, Department of Medicine


“While I was unable to attend all the book club discussions, I enjoyed the ones I did participate in and am also glad I read Kendi’s book.  For me, his writing and approach to the uncomfortable reality of racism allowed me to be more honest with myself about my own thoughts, words and actions without making me feel defensive.  Approaching his book with an open mind and desire to learn paved the way for me to realize how beliefs about race and racism have been woven into my own life and contributed to thoughts and perspectives I need to work to change.  Safe and candid discussion often enhances the experience of a book, for me, and this was true in this instance as well.  Being able to hear ideas, perspectives, opinions and experiences from my colleagues and peers added a level of learning that I would not have enjoyed if I had read the book alone and in silence.  Looking inward and being honest with myself about ways in which I need to grow and change was hard, but it has made me a better participant as we move forward in this important work.” – Jen Fosbroke, Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Nutrition


“While I enjoyed reading Kendi’s books and discussing his themes with our group, I got the most value out of the candid and frank discussions we had and hearing the differing perspectives. I loved learning more about my coworkers backgrounds and how those shaped their beliefs. Even more inspiring was seeing those beliefs shift and reshape throughout our discussions. Having a safe space to ask my own questions and hear other people’s experiences was invaluable and I hope the DOM will continue to facilitate opportunities to have these discussions and expand our perspectives.” – Jen Visconti, Department of Medicine