A few weeks ago a friend recommended a book called Under Our Skin: Getting Real About Race and Getting Free From the Fears and Frustrations that Divide Us. It is an excellent book for anyone to read to better understand the different perspectives that are wrapped up in the racial discussion, but I would say it’s doubly so for HR and business leaders that need to be working continuously to create more equitable work environments.
The book is written by Benjamin Watson. For some of you sports fans, you will recognize that name immediately, but as a self-proclaimed “sports agnostic” person, I learned of Watson’s sports affiliation only after digging into the book. That said, this is not a sports book. It’s a book about work and life.
Why I Recommend It
Watson tells stories, offers examples of both sides of each issue, and helps readers understand the realities of living in an unequal world.
Yes, that’s correct.
In spite of many nonminorities thinking that the world today is an equal one, Watson demonstrates time and again that the world is anything but equal. I’ll say it again:
In spite of what many think, the world is anything but equal.
If nonminority readers like me walk away with that takeaway and nothing else, the book is a success, because it will encourage each of us to love and support the people around us, regardless of their skin color (or their gender, or any other factor that might cause them to be treated differently).
In addition, for minority readers, he offers suggestions to help cope with troubling situations that he has also faced. While that has value, it also helps readers like me to truly grasp just what it’s like to be a black man or woman in America today. It helps to show the slights, both large and small, that minorities face on a daily basis, shining a light on them and making me (and other readers) more aware of how we speak, act, and respond. Only then can we truly be advocates and supporters, not just those that pay lip service to the topic.
What I appreciate most about his approach is that it attempts to find common ground and bring us all together, not highlighting differences for the sake of pushing us apart and keeping us separate.
On a side note, I’ve never made an attempt to hide my spiritual beliefs, and this book aligns with what I have learned from the Bible itself–we are all people, and the most important commandment that we’ve been given is to love others as ourselves. The book helped me to see what that looks like on a daily basis and offers ideas on how to approach situations with a more open and inclusive mindset.
Click here to get the book. Then read it and pass it to a friend. The world will be better for it.