Book Review: Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé (A Rant) | SPOILER REVIEW

What would you get if you fed an AI 10,000 words of antiracism books, “deconstructing whiteness” seminars and the script of that Karen movie trailer and then told it to write a YA thriller?

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What would you get if you fed an AI 10,000 words of antiracism books, “deconstructing whiteness” seminars and the script of that Karen movie trailer and then told it to write a YA thriller?

You’d get this book. This book is what you’d get.

About the Book

Title: Ace of Spades

Series: (standalone)

Author: Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Published: 2021

Genre: YA, mystery/thriller, contemporary

Rating: 1/5 stars

The Premise

Synopsis (from Goodreads) (truncated):

An incendiary and utterly compelling thriller with a shocking twist that delves deep into the heart of institutionalized racism, from an exceptional new YA voice. Welcome to Niveus Private Academy, where money paves the hallways, and the students are never less than perfect. Until now. Because anonymous texter, Aces, is bringing two students’ dark secrets to light. Talented musician Devon buries himself in rehearsals, but he can’t escape the spotlight when his private photos go public. Head girl Chiamaka isn’t afraid to get what she wants, but soon everyone will know the price she has paid for power. Someone is out to get them both. Someone who holds all the aces. And they’re planning much more than a high-school game…

My Thoughts

This is one of the most poorly-written YA books I have read for a long time.

Almost none of the plot of this book really makes sense. It attempts an allegory of institutionalized racism, but the storyline is ridiculous and full of plot holes and the social commentary is so heavy-handed it borders on satirical.

It tries to talk about bias and privilege, but the message seems to be that all white people, or at least the rich ones, are always villainously scheming about how to ruin the lives of minorities.

I also have about 50 unanswered questions about how on earth the logic of this book is supposed to work. After the halfway point, nothing is explained adequately.

WARNING: This review is full of spoilers after this point, so if you have not read the book and plan to, I would click off now.

The “All White People Are Racist and Evil” Messaging

To be very clear before I get into this review: I am absolutely not attempting to claim that racism does not exist in the United States. It very definitely does, and I think it’s extremely important to have books that explore this.

A thought-provoking novel about racism and how it manifests in the world of elite private schooling along with good representation for Black and LGBTQ+ teens could be great social commentary and a worthwhile read. But Ace of Spades is not that book.

At best, it’s simply poorly-written. At worst, it’s straight propaganda.

If you subscribe to the idea that all white people are racist from birth, you might agree with what this book pushes. But if you think people are individuals with vastly different upbringings, no group of people can be generalized as “inherently racist” and no race is a monolith, then perhaps you won’t.

“‘I don’t trust white people like you do. I obviously don’t think they are all murderers, but I think they are all racist... racism is a spectrum and they all participate in it in some way. They don’t all have white hoods or call us mean things; I know that. But racism isn’t just about that—it’s not about being nice or mean. Or good versus bad. It’s bigger than that. We’re all in this bubble being affected by the past. The moment they decided they got to be white and have all the power and we got to be Black and be at the bottom, everything changed… Some might even treat you good, like an owner might treat a pet.‘”

And yes: almost every single white person in the book is completely evil.

Even if you do believe that every white person has unconscious bias by virtue of being white and growing up in the West, you can’t possibly believe they all are scheming against Black people every day… right? Because that’s what the book purports.

Around halfway through the book, the two main characters Chiamaka and Devon learn that their entire school (or at least the legacy kids? or is it the entire school? Because some of them were not in on it but then the book goes and contradicts itself) is in on a systemic racist plot by Niveus Academy to ruin their lives and make them drop out of the school. This plot is carried out by literally every white person in the book, except for one guy who was used as a plot device at the beginning and seemingly wasn’t aware of it.

This doesn’t feel real. This can’t be real. Mr. Taylor; Jack; Daniel … all these people I’ve known for years, trying to ruin my life.

Chiamaka’s girlfriend? Plotting. Devon’s favorite teacher? Trying to get him rejected from college (by lying to him about the attendance policy?) Niveus, we learn, means “white” in Latin. And their school values are literally an anagram for “[N-WORD] DIE”

So Ace of Spades tries to handle racial issues with all the subtlety of a bulldozer. And it absolutely fails.

I think the idea of unconscious bias is an important one to talk about. It would be impossible to claim that people do not have biases due to their life experiences, society, and upbringing. And it’s also true that institutions in the US and UK have been systemically racist and the effects of this can be seen today. You cannot in good faith claim that the past has no effect on the present.

But this book is so off-the-deep-end woke it reads like satire:

“I gaze up at the wall of creepy photos, hundreds of white faces watching me. And in the odd photo, Black faces stare out, wearing blank expressions, their hair beaten into submission like mine.

“Protesters? I finally make out what they are saying. “No justice, no peace.” Over and over again. So many brown faces, disrupting the ocean of white.”

“I never go outside [with natural hair], ever. It’s too risky. I’d rather straighten than get prodded and stared at, stroked like an animal and questioned. Like Jamie looking at me yesterday as if I were some science experiment he’s intrigued by.”

This whole time I was convincing myself that Jamie was as scared as for his future as I am for mine, but truthfully, he’s a white man and they are able to get away with murder.”

(Oh, good grief)

So many reviews I’ve read of this book talked about how they think this book is realistic and they found it really disturbing because “it could be true.”

Am I living in the same country as you guys? Do people truly think every white person is a blatantly racist villain who unquestioningly spends their free time plotting how to bully Black people and make them fail? Has the brainwashing gotten this bad?

This is Aces. Every person I have spent the past four years with. Every person who I have looked in the eye. Sat next to in class. Passed in the hallway. Every person who, all along, wanted to humiliate me, see me work to get to the top, only to tear me down. Every person who knew they could hide behind these masks—online or here, now; a cult, that wants nothing more than to see me and Devon fail.

There are a few different scenes in which each white character reveals their racism in some sort of weird campy horror villain way that is so far-removed from reality I was struggling to believe this wasn’t satire.

In one such scene, Devon learns that his favorite (white) music teacher has been lying to him about how skipping class isn’t allowed therefore sabotaging his college applications (because that’s a really logical devious plan). Here’s an excerpt of that scene:

Mr. Taylor walks back over to his piano and strokes his fingers across the keys as a loud, discordant pattern of notes screeches out…. he pats the air, like he’s patting me from afar. “It’s okay not to go to college, it’s okay.” Smiling wide. “Not all people are suited for higher education. Especially your kind. Your kind needn’t have an education.”

I want to scream for help but he’s suddenly up by the door now, blocking the entrance. And anyway, who is going to help me?

Is this what people actually think the world is like? (If so, that would explain a whole lot about Twitter)

Look, I’m sure there are plenty of rich, white, racist private school people in this country. But I truly doubt they act like the ones in this book.

Racism is in general no longer socially acceptable in the West, and most racist people– well, excepting the alt-right morons who like doing parades– most racist people aren’t going to show it to the world. They sure aren’t going to reveal it like a horror movie villain, and it’s definitely not every single white person. In fact, I’d dare to say it’s a relatively tiny percentage of the white people in this country.

And I think a lot more racism is subtle– a real elite private school that is racist wouldn’t do some sort of nonsensical elaborate scheme like this.

(Edit: As a commenter pointed out to me, there is still overt racism that occurs in these sorts of environments, and it’s not always subtle. I still think that the level of racism that was depicted in this book was a little too over the top to be taken as a common or representative depiction of the majority of modern society, but it’s obviously true that overt racism hasn’t been eradicated from society. So I want to clarify that I’m not criticizing the book for trying to depict racism, but more for the implication that this kind of extreme racism is representative of the norm in the US)

To be fair to the book, perhaps it was intended to be a critique on the ways people can be socialized into certain damaging ideologies through tradition and elitism. However, I still believe it could have been written better.

I also know that Ace of Spades is meant as an allegory of systemic racism, but I really thought that it was lacking in realism and at some points was even borderline racist itself.

Now let’s move onto talking about the plot in general.

The Plot of Ace of Spades Does Not Make Any Sense

I’m not sure whether people were just too impressed with the brilliant social commentary of Ace of Spades to notice the plot holes, logical inconsistencies and dubious understanding of the world, but I also didn’t think the plot of the mystery made much sense. At the very least, some more explanation was needed for several events.

First, Niveus Academy’s devious plan is unbelievably stupid.

Why would a racist school accept two Black students every ten years to do this cartoonishly evil and extraordinarily contrived plan? Why would white supremacists go out of their way to Gossip Girl about two random kids? What does the school gain by bullying these kids? In what way does this advance the interests of the school/white people?

It seems like a lot of effort for a goal that is completely insignificant and a plan that might not even work. What if the kids didn’t drop out? Why would they only start doing this in the kids’ senior year? And why would they try to bully them out instead of just failing them out or expelling them via kangaroo court or something else that would be way easier and more likely to work?

Even by accepting the proposition that such a school could exist unscrutinized that is run by a white supremacist organization, their plan to sabotage Black students is extremely contrived, unrealistic and ineffective.

According to the book, Aces’s goal is to prevent these Black students from graduating and being successful. So… wouldn’t it be so much easier for them to just… not accept any Black students in the first place? You’re telling me White Supremacist Academy is accepting Black students just to make them drop out again? That makes no sense at all. The same end result could be accomplished by simply being discriminatory in their acceptance policies.

Alright, I thought, so maybe they’re accepting Black students to look less like a white supremacist school full of white people. That might make sense… if there were more than two Black kids in the entire school in any given year. So you’re telling there’s always exactly two Black kids in the whole school, and everyone else is white? If that doesn’t scream “racial quota” I don’t know what does. Plus, if the public hasn’t realized this school is systematically bullying the Black kids out every single year that there are Black kids in the school I doubt they’d notice an all-white school.

Also, are there no students of any other ethnicities in this school? Sometimes I think people forget that Black and white aren’t the only two racial groups in the United States. How does Niveus feel about Asian students, or Hispanic students, or indigenous students? Do they not exist in this universe?

And why did no one notice this was happening before now? Why is every single white person written like a Machiavellian villain? Why did not one single person at the school express any sort of objection to this scheme? Did none of the girls who became friends with Chiamaka feel any sort of connection to her or guilt for what they were doing? At all? (Wait, right, every white person in this book is evil and incapable of treating Black people well)

And how would a secret like this be kept by high school kids? In real life, someone’s Snapchat story would’ve gotten screenshotted.

It feels like Àbíké-Íyímídé came up with the message of the book first and then tried to shoehorn it into a trendy dark academia YA mystery with no regard for logic.

There’s also a strange and unrealistic lack of outside intervention or attention on the major civil rights violations that Devon and Chiamaka expose. The whole Niveus situation screams discrimination lawsuit and media firestorm.

There’s no way you could convince me that should this school exist in real life, that there wouldn’t be (rightful) national outrage and that the school wouldn’t be shut down immediately.

Why did the media not jump right on the story, like they 100% absolutely would in real life? Why is the only news organization they can find paid off by Niveus? Is there no other news organization they could have contacted, like, I don’t know, any of the other national news organizations?

I am willing to bet that if a private school was exposed for doing something like this that the vast majority of the country would be rightfully furious and it would be all over the media. So the reaction in this book makes absolutely no sense.

Chiamaka and Devon go to a reporter to get their story out, and it turns out that the news station is… also racist!

“It’s not just Niveus; there are places all over the US that … that do this. Central News 1 is a part of it.”

In this universe, no institution, especially when there are white people there, can be trusted. Do you see what the book is trying to say now?

Especially during this section, could not help thinking that this book was promoting the idea that America and all of its institutions are irredeemably racist, and I believe this is a damaging philosophy. We’re told that institutions all over the country do this regularly to Black people, not just Niveus.

Yes, racism exists in America, but I do not believe that it is baked into every institution, which is what the book seems to be insinuating with this allegory.

Anyway, if this happened in real life, almost EVERY media outlet would be clamoring to get the story. Fox, CNN, MSNBC, New York Times… they are not all racist and they are not all paid off by a secret society of white supremacists.

Then, at the end of the book, there’s a spontaneous protest at the school, supposedly organized by people who saw Devon’s exposé on Twitter and got together in like a day. They protest the school. They “disrupt the ocean of white.” They… burn down the school?

So I’m wondering: why was there NO coverage of the protests at the school? How would no one have gotten footage of the protests? That would be ALL over Twitter and every media organization would be running the story. Why was the news reporting people who died in the fire but not talking at all about the protest?

I guess the characters were still just watching Central News 1, the white supremacist news? But why aren’t there any other news sources, if this takes place in America? (And, by the way, why does this book seem to think that burning down a school with students inside leading to the deaths of several people in a riot is a good solution for anything?)

Finally, one of the biggest plot holes in the book is Belle’s sister Martha and the hit and run.

At the beginning of the book, we learn that Chiamaka and her boyfriend Jamie were involved in a hit-and-run, supposedly killing a pedestrian and then driving off and leaving her in the road. Jamie had been driving and refused to call the authorities. Chiamaka has been torn up by guilt over this for a year. Then we find out that guess what, the hit-and-run was also because of the evil white people!

“Apparently, [Belle and Martha’s family] all went to Niveus and are involved in Aces. Somehow, they staged the car accident.”

It’s like that line in the Star Wars sequel that everyone makes fun of, “somehow, Palpatine returned.” Are you just not going to provide any explanation for how it’s possible to stage a car accident?

When we see Chiamaka’s flashbacks, we get a description of Jamie screaming and panicking after hitting someone on the road and begging Chiamaka not to call 911, and we’re told that Martha is lying on the road and there was blood “pooling around her head.”

So, was Jamie in on the staging? He had to be, because otherwise how would Martha know where he and Chiamaka were going to be driving? Did he take acting classes in order to simulate a realistic reaction of someone who just hit and killed a pedestrian with his car? Did they just trust in Chiamaka not calling the police on her phone? Did Martha bring fake blood to put on her head and pretend to be dead? Or did she, like, walk out in front of the car to purposefully be hit? How could they rely on Chiamaka not getting cold feet and informing the police of what happened in the days afterward? This makes absolutely no sense and we’re given zero explanation. YA thrillers are often logically dubious, and I’m usually willing to excuse that for the entertainment value and all, but this is kind of a huge plot hole. Maybe I missed something, though… if you’ve read this book and I misunderstood something about this plot point please let me know.

The Good Things About Ace of Spades

So as you can probably tell I was not the biggest fan of this book, but I also want to highlight some of the positive aspects of it.

The book’s commentary on homophobia was leagues better than the commentary on racism, for one thing. Part of Devon’s character arc is his journey towards coming out as gay to his very religious mother, and Chiamaka’s POV goes into her confusion upon thinking she may be bisexual.

Additionally, there was also some other commentary I thought was indeed thoughtful and much less heavy-handed:

“I’m sure people are surprised after the Aces blast about me and Jamie hooking up that Belle and I are hanging out. It’s the opposite of what usually happens: Boy is a massive d*ckhead to both girls, girls fight each other, boy is left unblamed as girls antagonize each other.

(Right? Blame the guy who cheated, not the girl he cheated with!)

I had some problems with the way Devon’s behavior in some instances was presented, but I’ve already rambled for long enough in this review to get into that whole other issue.

The Verdict

As you really should be able to tell by now, I did not enjoy this book. To be frank, I found much of it to be blatant propaganda and race-baiting.

I know this post has edged into very controversial territory, but I want to discuss my issues with the book because I haven’t seen many negative reviews for it.

I wish that I had enjoyed this book, because it had a lot of potential and could have been a great social commentary with much-needed representation in the YA sphere. However, I did not think it was well-executed.

Have you read Ace of Spades? What did you think of it? I would love to discuss in the comments.

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15 comments on “Book Review: Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé (A Rant) | SPOILER REVIEW”

  1. Tl;dr: I don’t think it’s unrealistic to show many explicit manifestations of racism, but the author could have done it in a more thoughtful way.

    I haven’t read Ace of Spades so I can’t comment on the execution of the book itself, but I did want to comment on this:

    “Racism is in general no longer socially acceptable in the West, and most racist people– well, excepting the alt-right morons who like doing parades– most racist people aren’t going to show it to the world.”

    I used to go to a fancy French university, living in a town where there were not many people of colour, and unfortunately, I can tell you from personal experience that this isn’t true. It was never as horror-villain-y as the examples that you brought up, but there were many people in that town who were perfectly happy to show their racism to the world. I was stared at, followed, catcalled, and yelled racial slurs at because of the colour of my skin and my gender. Other friends were spat at or denied service. Two were assaulted. And all this happened in the span of less than two years! And our university did absolutely nothing to address any of this. As far as I’ve heard, they still haven’t despite this continuing to be a serious safety concern for many students.

    A lot of racism is subtle, as you pointed out, but I brought up my own experiences because I think it’s important to note that explicit racism is still alive and well in many places, and I don’t think it would’ve been inappropriate for the book to choose to focus on explicit manifestations of racism.

    But, I do think they could’ve done it in a much more thoughtful way than you described.

    It seems like the author wanted to do both a YA horror thriller and a deep social commentary on real life, but didn’t quite know how to execute the landing (because that’s a really big task). My instinct would have been to recommend that they focus on a real-life example and heavily modify it from there. Because there were a lot out there, and in recent history too. Still opportunities for social commentary, but hopefully without the plot holes and with better execution.

    And also, it sounds so exhausting to read a book where there is so much trauma, but seemingly without a lot of satisfying conclusions? What does this book offer that can’t be found in real historical and present-day accounts of racism in educational institutions?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for commenting!

      “I used to go to a fancy French university, living in a town where there were not many people of colour, and unfortunately, I can tell you from personal experience that this isn’t true. It was never as horror-villain-y as the examples that you brought up, but there were many people in that town who were perfectly happy to show their racism to the world. I was stared at, followed, catcalled, and yelled racial slurs at because of the colour of my skin and my gender. Other friends were spat at or denied service. Two were assaulted. And all this happened in the span of less than two years! And our university did absolutely nothing to address any of this. As far as I’ve heard, they still haven’t despite this continuing to be a serious safety concern for many students.”

      Wow, I’m really sorry that happened to you. I’m really glad you shared because where I live I haven’t witnessed anything like that. However I live in a very diverse and liberal area within the US where most people grew up in a multicultural environment. I would imagine there’s a lot more racism in places that are really homogenous like that. That’s really disgusting :/

      My issue wasn’t as much with the author depicting racism as being more than subtle– which I probably should have made more clear in my review, but mostly with the implication that every white person is secretly racist/inherently racist and is always out to get people of color which is something that I see people saying all the time but that I just think is a really divisive sentiment that isn’t going to help things at all. I also don’t think it’s true. So that was what I mostly disliked– and also that the way the racism was written was a little bit too over-the-top in the sense that all of the perpetuators suddenly switched into these crazy villain caricatures after it was revealed that they had been in on this plot.

      “And also, it sounds so exhausting to read a book where there is so much trauma, but seemingly without a lot of satisfying conclusions? What does this book offer that can’t be found in real historical and present-day accounts of racism in educational institutions?”

      Yeah I’ve seen other readers complaining that the book was exhausting for them to read. In the author’s note, she said that she wrote it based on her experiences of microaggressions in college as a black woman. I’m sure it would be really hard to synthesize all that into writing a thriller. But overall it just seemed to be a pretty agenda driven book that didn’t really communicate a lot of the nuance that I think the author might have been aiming for

      Liked by 3 people

      1. :/ Thank you for taking the time to write such a long post and for responding to my long comment!

        I agree… it seems that the author is taking a caricature approach. It may be YA, but YA readers are more than capable of reading books that tackle difficult issues in nuanced ways – so it seems to me that it’s an issue of execution. I also think that the over-the-top, all-white-people-are-bad framing might take away from the overall strength of the message, if there was anything positive in the book’s depiction of racism. And like you said in your review, it overshadows how issues of racism are more than just about Black/white.

        I almost wonder if the author would’ve been better off writing a memoir, where she would’ve been able to share her personal experience while being able to directly share more of her own agenda.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. As much as I enjoyed this book myself, I absolutely loved getting your more detailed thoughts on it, Emily! 🥰 Especially since this was a rant, and, you know, I can never resist those 😂 I think you make some very valid points and I can definitely see why you’d read the book this way!

    Like I already said, though – I actually could see something like this happening, as long as it stayed on a small scale. While reading, I got the impression that Niveus Academy had been specifically founded by wacko, super rich, white supremacist legacy families who indoctrinated their children to their super racist way of thinking from birth onwards and came down heavily on any disagreement, and who took particular pleasure in destroying the lives of Black people who might otherwise have been successful. Which is why, to me, it also made a whole lot of sense that they would admit the students in the first place, lull them into a false sense of security, and then take that final year to totally destroy them in a way that made it look like the students themselves were at fault and make it extremely hard for anyone to believe their stories. Like, yes, the car accident thing bordered on being unbelievable, but what with Chiamaka having been drunk, I can see Jamie and Martha pulling this off if they had the full support of an entire organization who also provided them with props and training. (If I remember correctly, it was explicitly mentioned that Jamie was in on this? 🤔) And I thought the news station was a local thing, with Niveus alumni working there, which is why they stood behind the academy.

    Also, as a private school, I think you have a lot of freedom in picking which students you admit, so I’m assuming that yes, there weren’t any other minority students there, but no outside organization ever really controlled that…

    So yeah, do I see every white person in the US being in on something like this? Of course not. But it’s genuinely creepy how much organized racists can get away with if there are a lot of them and no one pays close attention. And I also have to admit that studying abroad at Washington & Lee University in Virginia truly opened my eyes as to how much power legacy families still have over minority students, and how much they are able to get away with. Don’t get me wrong – I loved my time at W&L, and most people there were genuinely nice and welcoming! But some of the fraternities were notorious for not letting Black students in, had fancy dinners were black-faced pledges had to serve the older members “like in old times”, and the school came down harshly on anyone who dared to say that they felt uncomfortable holding school convocations over the grave of one of the Confederacy’s biggest proponents, when General Lee had, first and foremost, been “a great educator”. Once, the KKK left flyers with death threats outside Black students’ dorm rooms, and when students complained, the university administration said that they unfortunately couldn’t do anything because they didn’t know who the culprits were. Of course, this was a one time thing and nothing close to what went on at Niveus, but after having seen the type of micro-agressions that minority students have to face at a university that doesn’t have a solely racist student body and teachers, I didn’t think it was too far-fetched that a school that was founded only for that purpose could get away with heavy-handed racism and have nobody on the outside be any wiser 😅

    Although I do agree with you that some things in Ace of Spades were unrealistic! Like, yeah, I don’t see the big news networks not stepping in after the situation escalated into a full-scale riot and they burned the school down. I’m sorry, but that would have attracted outside attention! And also, I wasn’t completely sold on minority students accepting their scholarships to the academy without researching ANYTHING! Like, come on, aren’t you going to look up the school’s name before you go there? Wouldn’t you try to see how other minority students described their experiences there, especially when you knew that the school wasn’t very diverse and that things might be hard for you?? I didn’t buy that part either 😅 And I also didn’t buy the epilogue, where we saw that this kinds of stuff was still a large scale thing that was allowed to continue after what had happened at Niveus. That and the insta-love was actually what made me dock a star from my overall rating…

    Overall, though, I had loads of fun with the book! Even though it seemed a bit contrived in some places, I considered it realistic enough to be able to suspend my lingering disbelief, and I just loved what a page-turner it was!

    But yeah, in retrospect and after having read your review, I suppose you could also read Ace of Spades as blaming all white people for being blatantly racist… I always saw comments like that as something Devon and Chiamaka might say because of their anger at how they were treated, not as a general idea the book wanted to promote. But maybe that distinction was less clear than I thought and I was just seeing what I personally wanted to see 🤔

    Anyway, you’ve definitely got me thinking – like I said, I loved reading this review! 💙 So please don’t take my differing perspective as an attack on your opinions or anything, because I believe that way of seeing things is totally valid! I just thought I’d use the opportunity to give you some of my more in-depth thoughts on the book as well, seeing as you gave us this wonderfully detailed summary of yours!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “So yeah, do I see every white person in the US being in on something like this? Of course not. But it’s genuinely creepy how much organized racists can get away with if there are a lot of them and no one pays close attention. And I also have to admit that studying abroad at Washington & Lee University in Virginia truly opened my eyes as to how much power legacy families still have over minority students, and how much they are able to get away with.”

      Oh yeah, people are telling me about incidents they have seen happening on universities and I really didn’t realize this stuff happened so much. That W&L story is absolutely terrible. I can definitely believe that racism would be present in these sorts of old money fraternity type environments. I think that’s what the author was wanting to talk about in this book and obviously a lot of people don’t realize that it happens so much when they haven’t seen it themselves, myself included

      The reason I think I was so attuned to thinking it was talking about all white people is because in America right now it’s really common for people to say that white people are to blame for all racism, white people are inherently racist and privileged, they need to educate themselves and listen to POCs and stop trying to deny that they are racist, America is inherently racist and we have to get rid of every institution, etc. I think there is some truth to the idea that white people are “privileged” just by virtue of being a majority group and proportionally not experiencing as much racism as other groups, but not that they are all racist, and because I had heard these talking points so much I was quick to see them in the book.

      I’m really glad you commented! I was pretty scared to post this review but I have learned a lot from the people who left comments. This is why I love the blogosphere!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I learned so much from reading your review, too, so I’m really glad you decided to post it! Of course, I’d seen the “Western societies are inherently racist” idea floating around as well, but I feel like it’s a lot less polarized here and mostly used to critically refer to institutionalized racism that is has come from generations of white people being in more privileged positions. I rarely see it used to call out all white people for being horribly racist individuals or the sole source of racism… (I totally agree that that mindset is unhelpful and only adds more fuel and hatred to the fire, by the way!) But it makes a lot of sense that you’d interpret the book very differently if you were constantly confronted with that way of thinking! Especially if you haven’t ever experienced extremely racist attitudes like the ones in the book yourself – although I think that’s a very good thing! It gives me a lot more hope for the world to see that those kinds of incidents don’t happen everywhere!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh yeah, it’s a really common thing at least on the internet here for people to say that all white people are privileged, cannot have opinions on certain things, you can’t be racist against white people because they are privileged, etc. which… irritates me lol
        Thank you for reading!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You always post such thoughtful and well-researched posts, that I appreciate very much. I have not read The Ace of Spades, and now I don’t want to read it. Thanks for the thoughtful post today!

    Liked by 1 person

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