Authors of “Let’s Talk Race…” Clarify Intent of Book

By Fern L. Johnson and Marlene G. Fine

As the authors, we were saddened and disappointed to see our book, Let’s Talk Race: A Guide for White People (New Society Publishers, 2021), characterized in a letter in the August issue of The Andover Beacon from Brianna Marino, Kathy Prieto, and Jessica Fraioli, as “the very embodiment of critical race theory (a divisive and Marxist ideology which divides groups of humans by color and assigns characteristics based on that color while insisting, as the book insinuates, that the pigment of your skin can, inherently, make you oppressors).”

First, our book is a practical guidebook intended to assist white people who seek to better understand the role of race and racial inequities in American society through structured conversation. The book is for the general public and aims to improve racial empathy and understanding. We do not argue or “insinuate” that the color of a person’s skin makes them an oppressor. 

Second, critical race theory is a complex academic theory focused on the ways in which historical practices shaped racial disparities that continue to be embedded in our social institutions. This theoretical perspective neither claims that race is a biological reality nor is it Marxist.

The writers of the letter objecting to our presentation to the Wilmot FCC appear unfamiliar with both our book and critical race theory. The following link provides an explanation of critical race theory and provides links to additional resources.

Fern L. Johnson and Marlene G. Fine