Book Review – Real Talk? How to Discuss Race, Racism, and Politics in 21st Century American Schools

Currently, I am in the Literacy, Culture, and Language EdD program at IU Bloomington. The class I am taking this semester is Research Seminar in Literacy, Culture, and Language Education and the topic is race, language, and literacies. My professor is Dr. Marcus Croom. He wrote the book Real Talk? How to Discuss Race, Racism, and Politics in 21st Century American Schools. As part of his class, we have been challenged to deepen our knowledge about race, racism, and literacies. We also had the opportunity to read his book.

Writing a book review before grades are issued might be risky, but I have to write book reviews shortly after I read the book, or I don’t write them. My thoughts need to be fresh. Alas, I am a risk-taker, and these are my thoughts.

In his book, Croom states, “The aim of this guide is to support good faith discussions about public issues — like race, racism, and politics — based on credible information that anyone can access.”

The rigor and complexity that you find in assigned readings in a doctoral program were not found in this book. In other words, Croom took the finer points and complex thoughts found in academia and made the information digestible for the everyday reader.

Additionally, he outlined his Real Talk Protocol and how one goes about using it. What stood out to me most was Croom’s push to study an issue as far back as 20 years and to accept that you will have to “pin up and return” to the work. You have to be comfortable with everything not ending in a nice perfect bow and being solved in one sitting.

My only point of contention is that the book ended too soon. I wanted more information. Luckily, Croom noted in his book that this is only edition one.

For those who want to have productive conversations about race, racism, and politics, I suggest reading this book.

Rating: 4/5

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