The book is about exploring the roots of White supremacy in the United States.
As a White woman with “a relatively comfortable life,” the author notes that this survey of racist ideology “wasn’t an easy book to write” and that she doesn’t “expect it to be an easy read” for other middle-class White people. The bulk of the book “Digging up the seeds of white supremacy” provides a historical overview of the roots of White supremacy, covering major events from 1492 through 2020, from Pope Alexander VI’s institutionalization of the “Doctrine of Discovery” and Europe’s embrace of race-based slavery to Jim Crow and the racist persecution of the war on drugs. The figures most often associated with American racism certainly make appearances, including enslavers, the Ku Klux Klan, and Southern sheriffs. However, the book also emphasizes the ways in which some White activists have historically perpetuated White supremacy. The author lays emphasis on the historic phenomenon of “White Women Myopia,” demonstrating how “systems of ‘help’ established by white women didn’t produce equality for people of color.” Although academic historians won’t find much that’s new in the book’s analysis, which does not fully and methodologically engage with archival research, it more than accomplishes the author’s goal of providing an accessible history for general readers. This effort toward engagement is accompanied by a down-to-earth writing style and an ample assortment of full-color original art as well as diagrams, charts, and other visual aids. The book will likely show many White readers the ways in which America’s racist history resonates in their present-day lives and along the way it provides actionable agendas for change. Oddly, though, the book accepts a common right-wing trope that overstates the prevalence of leftist “cancel culture” that allegedly targets the non-woke and, in doing so, uses some of the same talking points that people opposed to anti-racist work often use. TW