PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Gift Guide: Giving Up Whiteness

Today’s first recommendation in The 2020 PopCult Gift Guide is a thought-provoking book that will make a great gift for any White person who is trying to grasp what they can do as individuals to help improve the rocky state of race relations in this country.


Giving Up Whiteness: One Man’s Journey

by Jeff James
Broadleaf Books
ISBN-13 : 978-1506464022
$24.99 (discounted at Amazon)

I have not yet had the time to dig into this book, but it’s a much-needed conversation starter that should help White folks understand why they need to listen to Black folks, what they’re trying to say, and how we can make this world better for everybody by treating everyone fairly.

Let’s go to the publisher’s blurb…

It’s one thing to know about white privilege. It’s another to try to give it up.

Jeff James was one of the good white guys—or so he thought. But when he asked an African American friend how he could help fight the rising tide of racism, he had to think again. “Simple,” she shot back, “get rid of whiteness.”

Thus began his journey to discover, name, and dismantle the racial category that had defined and advantaged him for a lifetime. In Giving Up Whiteness, James leads readers on an intimate, humble, and disorienting investigation of what it means to be white in twenty-first-century America. He shares his discoveries on just how deeply the forces of race have shaped his own and other white people’s choices about where to live, what causes to care about, who to marry, and what church to join.

With a blend of honest storytelling and incisive critique, James guides readers through the questions he encountered:

How and why were race and, specifically, whiteness invented?
What privileges and protections accrue to people categorized as white—and why has it been so difficult to expand them to everyone?
How has the white Christian church bolstered white supremacy?
Is it even possible to give up whiteness as an identity, and if so, what would it look like?
The things we can’t see yield the most power, so it’s time to take a hard look at whiteness. Ultimately, James writes, well-meaning white people have a lot of work to do and it’s past time to get started.

Jeff James was a co-founder of Create WV, and this book came highly recommended by Black people I respect. It’s on my stack of stuff to read once I get the gift guide finished up. It’s a great gift idea for the thinking person who cares about making things better. You can order it from any bookseller by using the ISBN code.