Book Reviews

Book By: Sue, Derald Wing
Review By: Carolyn A. Caveny
Academic Advising
Emmanuel College, Boston, Massachusetts  

Inquisitive learners will pick-up and peruse Overcoming Our Racism: The Journey to Liberation.  However, only the intentional learner will embrace the work, the problem and overcoming the problem, and thus persist throughout the journey.

From the outset, Derald Wing Sue attributes racism, which is pervasive and systemic in these United States, only to White Americans (p.31).  Sue not only strongly and effectively defends this attribution, but equally important, he invites the reader to examine the historical and current evidence that perpetuates this reality.  At the same time, he provides the learner with comprehensive exercises for self-evaluation, referenced as “What You Can Do to Overcome Racism”, at the end of each of the eleven chapters.

Sue defines racism as any attitude, action, or institutional structure or any social policy that subordinates persons or groups because of their color (p. 31).  And, he directly and consistently poses the question, “Once you become aware of your role in the racial oppression of others, what do you do about it?” (p. 65).      

Sue offers particular challenges in Chapters 8 - 10, “How Do You Develop a Nonracist White Identify?”, “What Must You Do to Combat Racism?”, and “What Must Society Do to Combat Racism?” to provide the reader with a well-organized syllabus for on-going discussion and professional development.  Sue intentionally shifts his remarks to another audience, people of color, in the closing chapter and examines eight strengths resulting from adversity and cultural values that inform their lives.

The National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) may want to consider Sue’s Overcoming Our Racism as a future topic for conversations at its national and/or regional conferences.  As a result of this initiative, the delivery of academic advising services to students of color from myriad communities in our institutions may be proportionally enriched because academic advisors were willing to stretch and embrace the implications of what they learned on their journey to liberation.

P.S.  Also, watch for another valuable resource, “Understanding Cultural Identity and Worldview Development”.  This NACADA audio/visual CD will be available in Spring 2007.


Overcoming Our Racism: The Journey to Liberation. (2003). Book By: Sue, Derald Wing.  Review By: Carolyn A. Caveny. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 320 pp.  $22.95 ISBN #0-7879-6744-0


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