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The Anti-Racist Cookbook:

A recipe guide for conversations about race that goes beyond covered dishes and "Kum-Bah-Ya"

Robin Parker & Pamela Smith Chambers

Paperback, 128 pgs., 6 in. x 9 in., resource list, index


Many Americans are distressed by race but few know how to talk about it. Now there is a way. Race is a touchy topic, but with proper guidance and kindly suggestions, it is possible to create a setting and begin a dialogue among people of different backgrounds. The Anti-Racist Cookbook shows how.

Robin Parker and Pamela Smith Chambers wrote the Anti-Racist Cookbook because they found people have a difficult time discussing race. As diversity consultants and professional facilitators of cross-race dialogues, they are in a position to know.

Parker and Chambers caution us, "With so much 'happening' around race, yet so little spoken about race, the topic takes on a forbidden air. Our worst fear is that confronting racial issues will lead us to violence like that which followed the verdict in the 'Rodney King case.'" It is dialogue that will keep us from that. How do we begin that dialogue? The Anti-Racist Cookbook holds a simple, practical answer.

The Anti-Racist Cookbook is divided into an Introduction and five chapters. The Introduction gives the reader information on the problem of race relations and the authors' approaches and philosophy. The Preparation chapter gives the reader information on how to organize and facilitate a small-group discussion on race.

The next three chapters of the book contain questions for discussion. The Appetizers chapter focuses on an individual's cultural background and early messages about race and ethnicity. The Soups and Salads chapter focuses on an individual's racial experiences in childhood and adulthood. The Main Courses chapter focuses on the different emotional experiences of race in everyday life, and what work individuals can do to improve race relations.

The Desserts chapter provides conversational intervention strategies that individuals can use to combat prejudiced comments or statements that derail interracial understanding. That chapter gives examples of the comments and statements, explanations of why they are particularly problematic, and pertinent responses.

Robin Parker is a diversity consultant who has built a national reputation for innovative work on anti-racism issues. His training efforts have focused on building more inclusive communities, schools, and workplaces through diversity education. Before joining the Beyond Diversity Resource Center as Executive Director, Parker served as a Deputy Attorney General in the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, and Chief of the Office of Bias Crime and Community Relations.

Pamela Smith Chambers is a leading specialist on race and cultural diversity issues. She has a commitment to help people confront institutional racism and oppression through personal growth and change. Before joining the Beyond Diversity Resource Center as Training Director, Chambers was the Supervising Program Development Specialist in the New Jersey Office of Bias Crime and Community Relations and, prior to that, the Director of Counseling and Education Services at the YWCA of Trenton.