Even if you don't watch the NBA or ESPN, you should read Kendrick Perkins' new memoir. Especially if you want to be a ally. #memoir #newrelease #amreading #mustread #racism #BIPOCauthor #ally #BLM #NBA #Celtics #ESPN

Even if you don’t watch the NBA or ESPN, you should read Kendrick Perkins’ new memoir. Especially if you want to be a ally.

I receive free electronic advanced reader copies of these books through an arrangement between the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion on NetGalley’s website. I only review books on my blog that I really love.

Even if you don't watch the NBA or ESPN, you should read Kendrick Perkins' new memoir. Especially if you want to be a ally. #memoir #newrelease #amreading #mustread #racism #BIPOCauthor #ally #BLM #NBA #Celtics #ESPN

The Education of Kendrick Perkins: A Memoir

By Kendrick Perkins with Seth Rogott, St. Martin’s Press, February 21, 2023, 304 pages.

Sometimes I pick up a book because the title or blurb catches my eye. Usually, I choose books based on my list of favorite authors. I picked up The Education of Kendrick Perkins because, as a teacher, I feel it’s important to understand how different people feel ‘educated.’

Evidently, Kendrick Perkins played in the NBA and now works for ESPN. I’d never heard of him before, though. Maybe because I haven’t watched an NBA game since the 90s. As a high school teacher, I have a general awareness of current NBA greats (one can learn a lot from boys as they discuss shoes). I know about ESPN, but I couldn’t name a reporter or talking head if you paid me. Despite not belonging to the expected audience for Perkins’ book, I couldn’t put it down.

Instead of discovering another human’s definition of what it means to receive an education, I received an education. I grew up in the era of color blindness, sure I didn’t have a racist bone in my body.

For the past ten years, teaching Native American students has opened my eyes to how racism has worked its way into everyone’s bones. I understand how microaggressions perpetuate racism (even if the microaggressor doesn’t realize the act is racist—it still hurts). I’ve gone from thinking I don’t see color to understanding I need to up my ally game.

New Memoir of a Millionaire and Primer on Racism

George Floyd’s murder in 2020 opened my eyes to the reality of racism in the United States. Perkins’ book helps me understand the social and political backgrounds that keep systemic racism alive today.

Perkins mixes his personal history with research about racism and its repercussions in the lives of Black children and families. He shows how the false stereotypes historians and the media perpetuate make life even more difficult for hardworking minorities to break the cycle of poverty.

Perkins calls for Black athletes and fellow Americans to reevaluate their perceptions of racism and the cultural status quo. Only by revealing the sickness can we learn to change and heal.

My only criticisms of the book probably reveal more about me than the author. I don’t enjoy reading or watching things with swear words. While not overdone, the 11 instances of one offensive word did jar the narrative for me.

The second criticism concerns a scene where the Celtics celebrate their championship at a player’s private residence. Perkins describes his high from smoking weed all night (he was not the only one who celebrated this way). A few other references to alcohol paint a picture most of us would rather not acknowledge: Elite athletes drink and use drugs.

I can understand Perkins’ desire for honesty and authenticity in his memoir. Without those touches of honesty, readers might discount Perkins’ informative narrative about the continuing racial injustices. Racism still flourishes—racists have rebranded it, but wise Americans will dig deeper and do all in their power to stop it.

Want to be an #ally? Read this educational new memoir from @KendrickPerkins! #antiracist #amreading #netgalley Click To Tweet
Even if you don't watch the NBA or ESPN, you should read Kendrick Perkins' new memoir. Especially if you want to be a ally. #memoir #newrelease #amreading #mustread #racism #BIPOCauthor #ally #BLM #NBA #Celtics #ESPN


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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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