Antiracist Read: You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey – Crazy Stories About Racism

My most recent anti-racist read was You’ll Never Believe what Happened to Lacey – Crazy Stories about Racism, by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar. I experienced this book in the audiobook format.

Here is some information about the book, from Brave and Kind Books:

Writer and performer on Late Night with Seth Meyers Amber Ruffin writes with her sister Lacey Lamar with humor and heart to share absurd anecdotes about everyday experiences of racism.

Now a writer and performer on Late Night with Seth Meyers and host of The Amber Ruffin Show, Amber Ruffin lives in New York, where she is no one’s First Black Friend and everyone is, as she puts it, “stark raving normal.” But Amber’s sister Lacey? She’s still living in their home state of Nebraska, and trust us, you’ll never believe what happened to Lacey.

From racist donut shops to strangers putting their whole hand in her hair, from being mistaken for a prostitute to being mistaken for Harriet Tubman, Lacey is a lightning rod for hilariously ridiculous yet all-too-real anecdotes. She’s the perfect mix of polite, beautiful, petite, and Black that apparently makes people think “I can say whatever I want to this woman.” And now, Amber and Lacey share these entertainingly horrifying stories through their laugh-out-loud sisterly banter. Painfully relatable or shockingly eye-opening (depending on how often you have personally been followed by security at department stores), this book tackles modern-day racism with the perfect balance of levity and gravity. (Source)

You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey is unlike any other book I’ve ever read. The book takes the complicated, scary, and untouchable topic of racism and… makes it hilarious? Crazy Stories about Racism is the perfect descriptor; each chapter includes a different story (or set of stories) detailing acts of racism that Lacey or Amber have experienced in their lives. Some are subtle microaggressions, like an inconsiderate or thoughtless comment; others will make your jaw drop, like a stranger putting their entire hand into Lacey’s hair at a professional event… and getting stuck. The book is absolutely hilarious, because of the stellar writing and audiobook performance – Amber Ruffin is a celebrated comedy writer and performer, after all. But it’s also heartbreaking to hear what these two sharp, kind, hard-working women have to go through just to live their daily lives. The stories, especially those about the way people of color (specifically Black women) are treated in the workplace do the tricky work of getting the reader laughing, cringing, and learning at the same time. It’s a one-of-a-kind book and a fantastic read. I am hopeful that this book can break down barriers and use comedy to push a wider group to consider their privilege, the impact of their actions, and the systemic issues at work around us every day.

Co-authors Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar – and co-narrators of the audiobook – have generously shared their thoughts and experiences in these pages and beyond. Here are just a few of the resources available to learn more about You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey:

You can learn from Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar everyday via her Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook page. Additionally, you can watch her on The Amber Ruffin show, steaming on Peacock. These resources are valuable, but they are not a substitution for paying for the author’s work. You’ll Never Believe what Happened to Lacey is available wherever books are sold (purchasing is a great way to support your local bookstore, a shop like that supports local bookstores, or one of the many wonderful Black-owned bookstores across the US like Brave and Kind Books, the source of this post’s cover image).

I’ve been reading amazing books like You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey to help me on my antiracist journey. I’m not an expert, and I’m not a professional. You’re welcome to read and learn along with me, if you’d like.

Waking Up White, by Debby Irving
White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo
Stamped – Racism, Antiracism, and You, by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
This Book is Anti-Racist, by Tiffany Jewell and Aurélia Durand
So You Want to Talk about Race, by Ijeoma Oluo
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, by Austin Channing Brown
Me and White Supremacy, by Layla F. Saad
We Want to Do More Than Survive, by Dr. Bettina L. Love
Subtle Acts of Exclusion: How to Understand, Identify, and Stop Microaggressions, by Dr. Tiffany Jana and Michael Baran

And reads for kids:
Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Kids Antiracist Book Club Reads

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