The Skin We're in

The Skin We're in

A Year of Black Resistance and Power

eBook - 2020
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"In the tradition of Ta-Nehisi Coates, a bracing, provocative and perspective-shifting book from one of Canada's most celebrated and uncompromising writers, Desmond Cole. The Skin We're In will spark a national conversation, influence policy and inspire activists. In May 2015, the cover story of Toronto Life magazine shook Canada's largest city to its core. Desmond Cole's "The Skin I'm In" exposed the racist practices of the Toronto police force, detailing the dozens of times Cole had been stopped and interrogated under the controversial practice of carding. The story quickly came to national prominence, went on to win a number of National Magazine Awards and catapulted its author into the public sphere. Cole used his newfound profile to draw insistent, unyielding attention to the injustices faced by Black Canadians on a daily basis: the devastating effects of racist policing; the hopelessness produced by an education system that expects little of its black students and withholds from them the resources they need to succeed more fully; the heartbreak of those vulnerable before the child welfare system and those separated from their families by discriminatory immigration laws. Both Cole's activism and journalism find vibrant expression in his first book, The Skin We're In. Puncturing once and for all the bubble of Canadian smugness and naïve assumptions of a post-racial nation, Cole chronicles just one year--2017--in the struggle against racism in this country. It was a year that saw calls for tighter borders when African refugees braved frigid temperatures to cross into Manitoba from the States, racial epithets used by a school board trustee, a six-year-old girl handcuffed at school. The year also witnessed the profound personal and professional ramifications of Desmond Cole's unwavering determination to combat injustice. In April, Cole disrupted a Toronto police board meeting by calling for the destruction of all data collected through carding. Following the protest, Cole, a columnist with the Toronto Star, was summoned to a meeting with the paper's opinions editor and was informed that his activism violated company policy. Rather than limit his efforts defending Black lives, Cole chose to sever his relationship with the publication. Then in July, at another TPS meeting, Cole challenged the board publicly, addressing rumours of a police cover-up of the brutal beating of Dafonte Miller by an off-duty police officer and his brother. When Cole refused to leave the meeting until the question was publicly addressed, he was arrested. The image of Cole walking, handcuffed and flanked by officers, out of the meeting fortified the distrust between the city's Black community and its police force. In a month-by-month chronicle, Cole locates the deep cultural, historical and political roots of each event so that what emerges is a personal, painful and comprehensive picture of entrenched, systemic inequality. Urgent, controversial and unsparingly honest, The Skin We're In is destined to become a vital text for anti-racist and social justice movements in Canada, as well as a potent antidote to the all-too-present complacency of many white Canadians."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Toronto : Doubleday Canada, 2020
ISBN: 9780385686358
Characteristics: 1 online resource
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Alternative Title: Skin we are in


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Jul 28, 2020

I'm more than 60 per cent through and this should be on every Canadian's reading list. It's a scathing indictment of the Canadian mythos that we are better than the U.S. in terms of our history with Black immigrants and slavery.

We are not.

I learned so much from Cole's lived experience and his careful research. Things I wish I had been taught in school. I truly believe this should be on the curriculum for at least grade 9 students. It's written plainly and well enough for them to understand.

Depending on the maturity of a 13-year-old I would let them read (listen) to it, and teens 14–15 years old should be ready to read it or listen to it (recognizing not everyone reads from the page—electronic or paper—well).

If you're a parent, it would be good to read it before and then again while your kid is reading it so that they can ask questions or so that you can bring up different points. If you don't know the answer to your kid's question, it's okay to say you don't know and suggest you and them do the research together, if possible.

Conversations absolutely have to happen alongside this book.

Jun 29, 2020

The author doesn't hold back the punches and nor should he. This book is a scathing indictment of not just law enforcement (although that features prominently), but multiple Canadian institutions, norms and mores that enable racism against Black Canadians to flourish. A necessary read for naïve Canadians still operating under the illusion that racism stops at the Canadian border.

Jun 17, 2020

Every Canadian should read this!

May 16, 2020

This is an essential read.

STPL_JessH Jan 25, 2020

Sometimes, the very best and most honest books come from activists and journalists, who are both witnesses and participants in defining moments in history. In our fast-paced world, Desmond Cole takes the time to pause, to notice, to write, and record. The Skin We're In is a powerfully important book about systemic racism in Canada today. Cole writes with care and sensitivity about issues that are both personal and political. Although the book takes place over a single year, Cole weaves history and context throughout these pages to ground present struggles in the legacy of the past. I finished this book a few days ago and cannot stop thinking about it.

This is required reading as far as I'm concerned. The Skin We're In is excellent: a very impressive debut.



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Jul 28, 2020

trebyl thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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