JD Mass, author of Race for What? has a lot to say about his experience growing up as a white kid in a black community and shares what he believes are the 7 steps to healing racism.
Q. Can you tell us about your book?
Race For What? is part journey of a road less traveled and part guide meant to dare white folks to analyze where we came from, where we are going, and the value of healing the harm that has been done.
In this memoir, I tell the story of growing up in a black community and witnessing racism firsthand, as well as my successes and missteps in building powerful alliances with the community in which I was raised. I have been on a lifelong journey to learn why racism was created and what we can look forward to without it.
Race for What? provides stories with a unique perspective from a white man’s experience and illustrates seven steps to healing. In the seven steps, I encourage white people to work through the emotional and psychological obstacles and see the value of repairing and healing the harm racism has caused.
Q What is your writing inspiration?
It was a combination of three things. First and foremost, I spent my entire life being lived by and loving black folks. Second, in 2017 I achieved my doctorate in Organizational Psychology which gave me the tools to communicate my vision effectively. Third having been heavily involved in white antiracism groups in Los Angeles and later in St. Louis I learned that I have a valuable and unique perspective to share. All of this combined inspired me to write Race for What?
Q What is the core message you want to deliver to the world through your writing?
I am witnessing a desire for change to the dominating way of our culture. I believe that if we continue to work at it, humanity is achievable. I am encouraging white folks to stay the course, work through the pain, fear and discomfort of letting for of our desire for control and privilege. Together we can finally correct the harm of racism.
Q What is something you learned while writing this book?
I learned that writing a book is no easy task. I learned that I needed the help and support of others and I had to use the struggles that so many others are in for justice to motivate me to continue to complete my mission.
Q If you could give your book to one person in the entire world to read, who would it be and why?
Ice Cube. His music and movies have contributed to my development that led to my ideas shared in my book. I am a huge fan of his work, his art, and his commitment to the healing of his people. I believe that my book supports the Contract with Black America in which he worked with some of the greatest minds that have also influenced and taught me. My book is meant to offer a white man’s perspective to support him and other black folks and organizations dedicated to the healing of marginalized and oppressed communities.
Q. Can you tell us three fun facts about you?
1) My three favorite athletes of all time are Allen Iverson, Albert Pujols, and Russell Westbrook for how they played their sport and how they carry themselves outside of their profession.
2) My vegan breakfast sandwich that I used to make was listed as the best tasting vegan food item by the top blogger in LA in 2010
3) One of my favorite moments in my life was creating remakes of popular songs with my son to reflect whatever was going on in our lives.
Bonus: Nelly and I from our high school time, before he became famous, used to buy cheap tickets to Cardinals baseball games and eventually work our way down to field level so we could be heard by the players.
Rapid Fire Answer and Questions:
Super power of Invisibility or mind reading? Invisibility
Halloween or Valentines Day? Valentine’s Day
Beach or the mountains? Beach
Rain or Sun? Sun
Book Series or Netflix Binge? Netflix Binge