Book Review: How To Deal With White People by David Goldberg

By Lorrie Irby Jackson

There are optimists who believe that, eventually, we will achieve a color-blind society: folks who are hoping for a post-racial America, a more meaningful dialogue about race and the righting of wrongs against people of color that have occurred again and again over the last few centuries.

Well, according to David Goldberg, the author of How To Deal With White People: A Quick and Easy To Read Handbook that is simply never going to happen.  The gist of his book is that the current power, political and societal structure was set up as such for a reason. And with deft and deliberate pacing, Mr. Goldberg outlines  undisputed historical facts and practical observations, as well as how to approach, socialize with and work with whites.

Is it a venom-spewing, militant diatribe? No. But the information it contains, if enough conscious people digested and applied it, could definitely incite radical change.  Throughout the twelve chapters, Mr. Goldberg offers a historical perspective, how to decipher methods and motivations and what non-white people need to understand to navigate a worthwhile existence in a white-dominated world.

For those who criticize the existence of such a book (if not the need), Mr. Goldberg says that it’s not about disliking one group, it’s about devotion to another. Read the following excerpts and judge for yourself:

Perhaps you’ve heard this before. “Oh, what’s done is done,” “you people need to just let it go”….Discussing history is always a progressive step in a forward direction. …History is known to naturally repeat itself. …History does not forecast a change in the relationships between people of color and whites. For their survival and future, people of color absolutely must change the way they interact with whites.

Understand that there have to be LAWS enacted to force Caucasians to respect people that are non-white. Think about that. A law. This suggests that respect for people of color does not occur naturally in whites.

Whites will never discuss race honestly, openly and fairly. In fact, there would not even be  such a thing as ‘race’ if it were not for whites. They have made the differences in cultures a competition. They don’t call it a race for nothing.

Excerpt From How To Deal With White People by David Goldberg

Except for specific historical events, the author doesn’t point fingers or name names (except to illustrate a point), so it comes across as plausible and practical, even if some of the suggestions are borderline ridiculous (such as the ‘communication tips’ found in Chapter Three, which can barely be read with a straight face). When read as a whole, it makes a powerful case for awareness and self-empowerment for all people of color. But if it’s taken out of context, for whatever reason, the contents are ripe for abuse.
If you’re part of the ‘kumbuya’ crew who believes that President Obama’s election signaled wider tolerance for people of color and that equality is just around the corner, then How To Deal isn’t a book for you. But if you want a book that simplifies the cause, effect and premise of racism, as well as common-sense, non-inflammatory (for the most part) ways to counteract its prevalence in today’s society, “How To Deal” is an intelligent, insightful, and interesting read.

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