"One of the best Black Lives Matter books of all time" - BookAuthority. Dedicated to the mothers of the Black Lives Matter Movement, and set among the stories of unarmed black men, women, and children who were victims of excessive use of force and racial bias, Liuzzi Hagan’s memoir is a candid, emotionally intimate account of the devastating personal effects of politically motivated and systematized racism in America. She is white; her husband is black. They have mixed-race twin daughters. Their relationship spans over forty years. As both a witness to and a target of racial bias, her stories, ranging from microaggressions to the truly terrifying, are told in vivid and affecting detail. Interwoven throughout the stories are appeals for empathy and insight, as well as suggestions on how to dismantle systemic racism and change the race narrative to make America safer, egalitarian, and a place where black lives matter. This is a story of shock, outrage, heartbreak, forbearance, love, and hope for her family, for the families who lost loved ones to racially motivated violence, and for America. It includes discussion questions for classrooms and book clubs.
5.0 out of 5 starsTRUTH
August 15, 2019
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book is a clarion call to wake up to the often blatant, but more often insidious, process of systemic racism in the United States. After a brief introduction recalling the experience of sitting next to the mothers of murdered black men in a restaurant, it opens with the murder of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, who shot him point blank when Trayvon was returning home after buying some delicious snacks. Trayvon was unarmed, but Zimmerman claimed that he was "standing his ground" and that Trayvon was a threat to his life and the neighborhood he was on watch for.
Dianne is a white woman married to the love of her life, a black man who she has watched be treated in micro- and macroaggressions--including death threats--countless times. The heat is on, because being part of a mixed couple, many white people have viewed her as a traitor to their race, which has brought even more antagonism against them. Through the book Dianne reveals experience after experience of what she and her husband go through at the hands of white racists--from housing discrimination to being forced out of their predominantly white neighborhood because they stand up for themselves, and every day occurrences which are exhausting to the soul. Also, throughout the book, Dianne reveals the depths of racism she witnesses repeatedly, not the least of which is being on a community board which knowingly retains the legal services of a man who is the head of a white nationalist group which espouses violence against blacks.
This book is structured in a way that reveals the truth of systemic racism bit by bit, including a heartbreaking letter to Trayvon, and calls repeatedly for white people to take a look at how they are either knowingly or unknowingly aiding and abetting racism in the US. Dianne also outlines a number of times ways white people can stop being part of the problem and become part of the solution. She concurrently laments what her husband feels is the hopelessness of the fight against racism and expresses faith in white people to see truth and act accordingly.
One fact is that supporting Donald Trump and voting for politicians who use white supremacy as their platform is the surest way to cause harm to blacks as well as ensure the downfall of what the United States might have been, if only on paper. White people in the US benefit from racism, both economically and socially. It feels good to think you are better than someone else. There is the story of a white woman in the South during slavery. Her father owned slaves, and this woman was horrified at the reality of slavery. She was very kind toward the slaves on her father's plantation. But her father eventually died and she inherited his slaves. Slowly, but surely, the illusion of power over another human being overtook her, and she eventually became ruthless with her slaves--beating them and humiliating them every chance she got. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Though the names and dates have changed, this dynamic is still prevalent, indelibly etched into the American consciousness. Dianne's book is like a surgeon's knife attempting to cut away the tumor of this dynamic which has resulted not only in countless affronts to the safety and dignity of black people--including ghettoization, purposeful economic disenfranchisement, miseducation, substandard medical care, enforced poverty, pumping of drugs into their communities, shame and self-hatred--not the least of which is the fact that a black man, woman, or child is murdered almost every single day by a white policeman or vigilante or just plain a white person filled with hatrred. Even recently an 80-year-old black man in a wheelchair was beaten to death by a white man who shouted racial epithets at him while he killed him. That is the depth of hatred and feelings of white superiority that Dianne is calling her readers to wake up to and fight against.
I remember, as if it were a red hot knife cutting through my brain, the day my best friend's mother turned to me and said, "Brother, the white man will do anything to keep you down." I wasn't surprised at her words, because I knew the reality of this country, but I was horrified at the level of emotion in her words, her conviction that she was telling me the TRUTH. That is what Dianne, in her book is trying to wake white people up to--the role they play either passively or aggressively in a vicious game that takes no prisoners.
Dianne ends with hope for the future. Dare we share that hope? I have heard many times that one begins to change the world by making change within themselves. All one has to do is wake up to truth. TRUTH in capital letters. And in her book, Dianne is helping people to do that.
5.0 out of 5 starsWe become mothers to our children and we are raised together, with Love.
April 19, 2019
“There are people who, like me, refuse to turn a blind eye or accept an unfair system based on skin color, and who refuse to be silent.” ~ Dianne Liuzzi Hagan, Another Day in Post-Racial America: To the Mothers of the Black Lives Matter Movement, With Love
I rest better at night and believe more passionately in the power of love because of people like Dianne Liuzzi Hagan, a writer from Syracuse, New York, who formerly resided in my hometown, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Her adult life since college (where she met her husband Ron of 40 years) has been lived in consciousness of her American whiteness and its privileges: Ron is black; they have mixed race adult twin daughters.
Liuzzi Hagan’s 2019 published book of essays judiciously and painstakingly recounts the tragic loss of young black lives in America (exacerbated through the years of our nation’s first black presidency, televised), while she mourns with the Mothers and Families of the Movement, underscoring the indecency of America’s willful abandonment of criminal justice on behalf of our slain black sons and daughters.
Dianne takes up this mantle, actualizing, authenticating, and decrying the social injustices perpetrated on young blacks, urging us all to speak, to act, to live in harmony, forward, toward our shared purposes to reverse policies which allow for these deadly transgressions to continue with impunity.
Liuzzi Hagan’s conversation with us throughout Post-Racial is nicely balanced for differing perspectives; her outrage often muted, considering the factual consciousness of her terror in American blackness accompanied by her husband: She preaches her truth loudest through the power of their lasting love – the picture of the mixed race couple on the opening page declaring their joy and commitment to a single destiny since they were wed!
This is outstanding, therapeutic writing that resonates, immortalizes, is bountiful to souls unborn and to spirits departed. I found healing in these pages, felt tremendous gratitude, like Dianne, to have eluded the constant terror which caught these Mothers.
The ending is abrupt, but I get that. The future’s up to us, to believe in, to work toward, together for good. We are they, who write, who sing, who talk, who vote, who tell the nightmare stories of the American Dream living lives which bridge our better tomorrows.
My Condolences, Deepest Gratitude and Love to the Mothers of the Movement.
To Dianne: Thank you for writing what clearly breaks your heart, continually, to endure. Our sons and daughters are our gifts to the world, and Post-Racial ennobles them, us, and all humankind.
Thanks for letting the record show.
Carolyn “Carly Pete” Williams
5.0 out of 5 starsGreat book that provokes much needed discussion
March 29, 2019
Format: Kindle Edition
This book is a must-read. It is enjoyable but also provokes hard thoughts and discussions about systemic racism in America. Told through personal stories as well as observations of current and past events, it discusses the violence and threat to black lives from the hands of racially biased and/or motivated police officers, vigilantes and white supremacists. It should causes all Americans to consider systemic racism and ways in which we can move towards a post-racial society. The updated version includes discussions even more relevant to readers as we now live in the age of Trump. President Trump’s continued attacks on American ideals of equality – his refusal to condemn Nazis and white supremacists – and his constant dog whistling to his white supremacist followers- present minorities of various backgrounds with an even more dangerous society to live in and navigate. However, the author has hope and argues that we can overcome these challenges by rejecting Trump’s ideology and by embracing multiculturalism. If we can see each other in equal terms, recognizing each person’s intrinsic value, we can move forward without having to take the usual steps back. Take a look at this book and find the relevance in events you see in media every day.