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Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
The Obama years brought racial division to America like we hadn’t seen since the civil rights movement of the 1960s. According to Gallup 22% of Americans thought race relations were bad or very bad when President Obama was first sworn into office in 2009. By the time he completed his second term eight years later a full 55% thought race relations were bad or very bad. That’s 8 years after America elected its first black president. Rather than heal the divide and bring us together, the first black President managed to widen our divisions.
A key part of that division was the relentless vilification of white men. Somehow in their effort to assure us all that minorities and women were important and deserved recognition — which are true — some felt the need to target the white male for a takedown. The old white male was named as bad, cruel and the source of all evil in the world. In 2015 Salon magazine declared “White men must be stopped. The very future of mankind depends on it.” Don Lemon of CNN told his primetime audience that the biggest terror threat in the United States is white men. Dozens of national broadcasts and publications delivered a similar message.
In White Guys Are Okay Too, author Tim Constantine reminds us that while no race has a lock on what is good and pure, neither can we peg any one race or gender with being evil. Not even white guys. The truth is, Constantine says in his introduction, there are good people and bad people of every race, gender and ethnicity. Equally true is that virtually all good men and women have said or done something they shouldn’t have. None of us is without sin. He then uses twenty chapters to showcase the best among all races and genders. Chapters cover a wide variety of heroes throughout history including statesmen, musicians, the Olympics, medicine, and basketball.
Constantine’s formula is simple. Virtually every chapter begins with a woman and/or minority who has excelled in that area. For example he makes the case that Aretha Franklin is the greatest singer in the history of recorded music. He then points out that there are a few white guys that were okay too. Frank Sinatra, Elvis, and the Rolling Stones are among them. His good-natured, sometimes whimsical yet always balanced approach make White Guys Are Okay Too a delightful and educational read.
Nelson Mandela, Spike Lee, and Jesse Owens join Pope John Paul II, Sylvester Stallone and Michael Phelps as Constantine breaks down the accomplishments of dozens of historical heroes, men and women, white and non-white.
Marzio Mariani’s illustrations bring a light-hearted touch and help Constantine maintain just the right balance of history and levity. The information in the book is 100% accurate but Constantine’s humorous asides and Mariani’s drawings make the reader want more.
Tim Constantine’s background as a talk radio host shines through. He crafts a message, backs it up with facts and then makes you smile while he’s doing it. White Guys Are Okay Too offers a positive message of unity among the races in the midst of a bitterly divisive time.
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