📚All The White Friends I Couldn't Keep
Part memoir, part manual for nonviolent resistance, and wholly engaging.
In All The White Friends I Couldn’t Keep, Andre Henry rejects the separation of personal and political. To be able to separate them at all is a function of privilege, and that privilege is not readily available to everyone.
In this book, which covers an incredibly active six years from 2014-2020, Henry shares the hope and hard pills he has learned throughout his journey as an activist, artist, musician, and author. The amount of vulnerability he shows as an author is remarkable.
The narrative is driven by Henry’s experiences becoming more vocal about anti-Black violence and racism in America. While his story intersects with evangelicalism (he attended evangelical churches, and has a degree from Fuller Seminary), it is not limited to that world.
Henry’s story is not told for the benefit of a white audience, and white feelings or education are not his concern. But white readers should consider what this book reveals about how whiteness and racism work in spaces like white evangelicalism and other forms of white Christianity. I would do a disservice by retelling the particulars of Henry’s story here, but the way his white friends—the ones he couldn’t keep—drew upon Christianity to defend racist beliefs should give white readers pause, and encourage them to interrogate why that is. That’s a lifelong work—but to quote Tori Douglass, that’s our white homework.
All The White Friends I Couldn’t Keep balances the personal and the political, the hopes and the hard pills, while celebrating Black life and offering useful advice to anyone who is invested in long-term resistance to the racism inherent in social structures & institutions like policing & the prison system. As readers, we benefit from Henry’s wisdom as he has learned how to make this necessary work possible. The world is overwhelming, but as Henry reminds us through music and through online activism and now through this book - it doesn’t have to be this way.
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