[BOOK REVIEW] Things That Make White People Uncomfortable


Breandan Gibbons, The Rubicon TV: Executive Producer

Laura Ingraham told Lebron James to “shut up and dribble” after Lebron James criticized Donald Trump.

Donald Trump called Colin Kaepernick a “son of a bitch” for kneeling for that national anthem. 

In his book, Things That Make White People Uncomfortable, Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Michael Bennett shows an irreverence to this type of ignorance from conservative leaders and critiques the NCAA, the National Football League, the President and calls on all to challenge their fears and start a conversation to enact true change.

Bennett is proud of his long history of “making white people uncomfortable” and tremendously lays out why in the early chapters of his book. This prefaces every other part of his life that he recounts with humor and honesty.Growing up in several places throughout America, namely Louisiana, Southern California, and Texas, Bennett is able to provide a perspective that is often overlooked and uses his platform as a professional athlete to better the world around him.

Professional sports, specifically basketball and football, are racist in their economic make-up, Bennett argues. Black athletes get paid millions to incur brain damage and take a physical beating that takes a toll for the rest of a players life while almost an entirely white, entirely male group of owners split up the billions. Equating professional sports to slavery seems far-fetched, but Bennett shows the logical steps with ease.Very rarely does the general public listen when players lament at the dangers of their sports. It would behove the general public to listen to Bennett before turning on that first game of the 2018 NFL season this year.

Raw and uncut, Bennett explains the day-to-day of an NFL football player and just how taxing the game is on their bodies. He shares stories of old players telling him the struggles they go through every day now that they are done with the game. Bennett expands on his own fears about wanting to be there for his daughters.Using his own fears, Bennett challenges readers to face their fears; to truly consider if watching football is worth it, considering the consequences.

Concerns raised in Bennett’s book are the type of concerns that get parents to force their kids to play soccer instead of football. They are the type of concerns that get people to do some more yardwork on a Sunday afternoon as opposed to watching another NFL Sunday. It seems to be no coincidence that Michael Bennett has now been indicted on a felony charge of assaulting the elderly for an alleged incident following the 2017 Super Bowl, over a year ago. 

Clearly, the timing of the charge connects with the release of this book and shows one thing about the National Football League.While they may claim to want players who seek to use their platform for good, as expressed with the Walter Peyton Man of the Year Award (an award for which Bennett was the finalist in 2016), the league does not care about the communities off of which they leech.

Bennett eloquently and powerfully poses that threat with this book. It is a must-read for any who seek to be an ally for any disadvantaged group and for all those who sit down each Sunday during the fall to watch NFL football.

Rating: 5/5