In This is the Fire, CNN Tonight anchor Don Lemon takes an unvarnished look at how pervasive racism is in the United States and discusses some creative ways to deal with it. A gay, black man originally from Louisiana, who is engaged to a white man, Lemon looks at racism, transphobia, and many of the other biases that infect American society in his own unique way. He concludes that this is inherent in our culture’s messaging and the only way to begin the process of uprooting and eradicating it is to acknowledge rather than deny it.
Lemon takes the reader on an emotional journey through history, with a discussion of a slave uprising near where he grew up that was put down with a degree of depraved violence that was out of proportion to the violence the rebelling slaves committed that one has to wonder what kind of society breeds people who can behead the rebels and display their heads on stakes for months as a ‘warning’ to anyone else who might want freedom. This is one of those untaught parts of our history that so many still try to keep hidden, but until we expose the warts we cannot cure them.
Regardless of what category you fall into, this is a book worth reading. Some will be made intensely uncomfortable, while others will become angry. I think I fall into that latter category, having grown up in East Texas, not far from where Lemon grew up a decade later, and having experienced the type of mindless prejudice that was not only socially accepted at the time, but was part of the law of the land.
This is a book that can be read in a couple of hours that will change your life forever. Don’t miss it.
I give it a resounding five stars.