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Roger Edwards
SNAP JUDGMENT: Overcoming Racial Bias to Buy My First Home
Roger, an African-American, shares a memorable moment during his “homeownership” journey when he encountered racial bias. Not only does he reveal six important lessons he learned about racial bias along the way, he also shares how his faith—and the “still, small voice” — helped him overcome unconscious bias when buying his first home. This journey interweaves such a wide range of topics like "The Talk" (and its importance in the Black community), housing discrimination, child sponsorship, and the Christian faith as it explores unconscious racial bias—not only its obvious harms but how it can sometimes rob you of unexpected blessings.
In this compact account of seeing his own perceptions challenged, Edwards shares his personal home buying experience, his expectation that he would face discrimination as a Black homebuyer, and the surprising reality. Rather than a “Southern Fried nightmare,” he found his white realtor—whose pick-up truck boasted a Confederate flag sticker—to be inviting, professional, and above-and-beyond in his helpfulness. This inspired Edwards to want to create a conversation about “the Talk,” that “collective term referring to the many conversations between parents of color and their children about how to safely navigate racism in American society.” Edwards asks whether “the Talk” might engender excessive wariness—or even “unconscious racial bias”—that can lead people to judge too quickly or miss “unexpected blessings.”

Growing up in North Carolina, near the county known as “Klansville, USA,” Edwards was exposed to racism and "the talk" at an early age. Edwards explores how "the talk" is a rite of passage for young children of color at differing stages of their adolescence, ultimately concluding that its clarifying benefits outweigh his concerns. Edwards takes care not to diminish the realities of racism, and he emphasizes that he’s benefited greatly from “the talk,” calling it “effective but also important, necessary, and valuable.” Still, he calls for “self-honesty and vigilance” when it comes to making judgements, and he shares moments in his life when he has misjudged someone's character and intentions based on preconceived notions and biased judgements.

Filled with colorful illustrations and Edward's personal narration, Snap Judgment is a quick, thought-provoking read that argues “It’s way easier to recognize racial bias in others—but not so much within ourselves.” While the book never digs into why the realtor embraces the Stars and Bars, a symbol it’s reasonable to consider threatening, Edwards offers tips on ways to be mindful and compassionate, while calling for the “hard and fast rules of identifying racists, racism, and racial bias” to be re-evaluated.

Takeaway: Surprising consideration of “the Talk” about race—and avoiding bias

Comparable Titles: Monica Guzman's I Never Thought of it That Way, Tanya Kateri Hernandez's Racial Innocence

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: B+
Illustrations: B+
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A