This Is the Fire
What I Say to My Friends About Racism
In this "vital book for these times" (Kirkus Reviews), Don Lemon brings his vast audience and experience as a reporter and a Black man to today's most urgent question: How can we end racism in America in our lifetimes?The host of CNN Tonight with Don Lemon is more popular than ever. As America’s only Black prime-time anchor, Lemon and his daily monologues on racism and antiracism, on the failures of the Trump administration and of so many of our leaders, and on America’s systemic flaws speak for his millions of fans. Now, in an urgent, deeply personal, riveting plea, he shows us all how deep our problems lie, and what we can do to begin to fix them.
Beginning with a letter to one of his Black nephews, he proceeds with reporting and reflections on his slave ancestors, his upbringing in the shadows of segregation, and his adult confrontations with politicians, activists, and scholars. In doing so, Lemon offers a searing and poetic ultimatum to America. He visits the slave port where a direct ancestor was shackled and shipped to America. He recalls a slave uprising in Louisiana, just a few miles from his birthplace. And he takes us to the heart of the 2020 protests in New York City. As he writes to his young nephew: We must resist racism every single day. We must resist it with love.
"A forthright, historically supported examination of the racial divisions that have plagued our nation.”—Wesley Lowery, New York TImes
"Lemon brings a searing power and persuasiveness to his arguments and views. In his eloquence and candor, Lemon is a lyrical and ardent advocate for what is decent, just, and long overdue. His dismay and anguish are laid bare with a fervor that is authentic and hard-won. Lemon's call-to-action is a soaring examination of the causes of racist violence and injustice past and present, and he expresses his commitment to asking tough questions and seeking demanding answers that he hopes will kindle the fire this time to constructively confront racism in all its forms."—Booklist
"Astutely diagnoses our nation’s greatest malady. . . . Throughout, the author demonstrates an impressive ability to loop it all together and make it stick. He puts 2020 in context and gives it the language to sing a quietly outraged song. Long on context and analysis, this is a vital book for these times."—Kirkus Reviews