cover image Letters to My White Male Friends

Letters to My White Male Friends

Dax-Devlon Ross. St. Martin’s, $24.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-250-27683-4

Journalist and educator Ross (Make Me Believe) discusses in this astute and accessible account the challenges and double standards he faces as a Black man in America and what white people can do to help bring about change. Ross documents his “socialization inside white-dominant institutions,” beginning with his enrollment at age 12 in a Washington, D.C., private school, where “you were rewarded for pontificating even if you didn’t know what you were talking about.” At Rutgers University in the 1990s, Ross and two other Black males were the only students (out of hundreds) charged with reckless endangerment for participating in a protest that shut down traffic on a local highway. The summer before his third year of law school, Ross was standing on a D.C. street corner when he was arrested, beaten, and charged with assaulting a police officer (the charges were later dropped). Ross folds analyses of Supreme Court rulings, gentrification, the “war on drugs,” and income disparities into his candid personal reflections, and offers a useful framework for how white men, in particular, can “shift culture and advance equity” by paying attention to how they receive feedback and by drawing on their own feelings of powerlessness to empathize with marginalized groups. This commonsense guide tackles a pressing social issue head-on. (June)