Foreword by: Robin D. G. Kelley
Publication Date: April 28, 2023
At the core of the intractability of racism is the persistent cultivation of our collective ignorance of it. This book argues that this cultivated ignorance compels us to support a status quo that we abhor. We are stuck because we cannot imagine a world beyond racism. We are also stuck because engaging with issues of racism with others usually produces immense acrimony and little result. The author responds directly to this challenge by introducing Brave Community—a research-based and learner-tested method that leverages learning as a vehicle to increase the bravery and empathy that we need to both imagine and pursue a world beyond racism. It is an approach that can be used by educators, administrators, cultural workers, human resources professionals, community leaders, and others. The text includes effective practices embedded in vivid portraits of learning across higher education, K–12, and cultural institutions. Now as ever, we need effective tools for creating a shared understanding of the relationship between racial justice and democracy. Designed to be immediately applicable, Brave Community teaches in clear and practical ways how anyone who wants to tackle racism can do so, and help others to do the same.
Janine de Novais is a writer, sociologist, and teacher interested in how human liberation is a cultural project—a matter of (un)learning. She has experience researching and teaching in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs, as well as cultural institutions.
“Janine de Novais has given us the model we need to free us from our comfort zones, confront difficult truths, expose the paper-thin foundations, lies, and distortions upon which racism is built, and cultivate a post-racist imagination.”
—From the Foreword by Robin D. G. Kelley, Distinguished Professor and Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in U.S. History, UCLA
“With Brave Community, Dr. Janine de Novais opens a pathway from the cultural quagmire of current race relations to a viable and practical post-racist future. She activates our longing for collective capacity to be with our differences, traumas, and lineages in ways that bring us into a coherent whole—and then gives us a step-by-step practice to help anyone in any community to transform their relationships. Grateful for this thinking and these tools.”
—adrienne maree brown, writer, activist, and New York Times bestselling author, Pleasure Activism and Emergent Strategy
“Straightforward, candid, approachable, and informed by years of practice, this book will be a go-to resource for years to come.”
—Eve L. Ewing, writer; sociologist, University of Chicago; and author, Ghost in the Schoolyard, 1919, and Electric Arches
“Dr. Janine de Novais is a formidable voice in developing a pedagogy for understanding racism in our communities. In Brave Community, Dr. de Novais precisely maps out how the classroom can serve as a space for liberation and community-building across educational, cultural, and social settings. It is a guidebook and a methodology that is instructional and inspirational.”
—Thelma Golden, director and chief curator, The Studio Museum in Harlem
“With Brave Community, Janine de Novais gives us an essential guide to building a better world. At a time when the very language we use to talk about our experiences is being contested and even banned, de Novais, driven by a sense of justice and deep care, provides a needed tool for fighting back.”
—Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, theoretical physicist, University of New Hampshire; author, The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred