If the title of Michael Bennett’s recently-released book, “Things that Make White People Uncomfortable” makes you feel just that, it’s a great reason to pick it up, according to the book’s co-author.
“There’s topic in the book that makes Michael uncomfortable,” co-author Dave Zirin told KIRO Nights. “He is really vulnerable in the book. He talks about his family, his feelings, the Seahawks, incidents of police violence that have affected him, his daughters at great length … and he says it in the introduction, ‘I’m uncomfortable writing this book. I’m uncomfortable talking about these issues. Let’s be uncomfortable together and see if we can grow together.’”
The book attempts to discuss controversial topics that people often shy away from. Racism, police violence, athletes’ relationship with sports leagues are topics in the book.
Zirin says that the title is meant to offer a humorous entry into the issues.
“That was Michael’s idea for the book,” Zirin said. “He wanted to call it ‘Things That Make White People Uncomfortable At Dinner.’ The idea was that it be a cheeky, funny title. It has roots in a famous quote by Bill Russell, from the 1960s, the Boston Celtic great, who said that if we are going to see change in this country we have to figure out a way to make the majority white population uncomfortable, otherwise change won’t occur.”
“(Bennett) has a hell of a sense of humor,” he said. “He likes showing off and he thought it would be the sort of thing that would make people smile, even. Not the sort of thing that would become this polarizing title that would put people at arm’s length from the book.”
“Things That Make White People Uncomfortable” troubles
The book was released this week.
However, Bennett’s book tour was put on hold. The former Seahawk was indicted for an alleged incident that occurred during the 2017 Super Bowl in Houston, Texas. He is accused of pushing his way onto the field, as a spectator. In the process, he allegedly threw a disabled, elderly woman on the ground. He faces a felony charge with the potential of up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Still, it seems the book is doing well anyway, Zirin says, who calls the charges “outrageous and absurd.”
“His lawyer has said that these charges are bogus,” Zirin said. “If they get dismissed and he is found not guilty, as I totally think he will be, hopefully, this won’t be a country that views him as branded; as somehow a criminal because of this. Again, 14 months after the fact, the idea he pushed somebody in a wheelchair, on the evidence of one police officer speaking about it, even though … there are cameras and police officers everywhere. Somehow, they have no video of this?”
Listen to the entire interview with co-author Dave Zirin on KIRO Nights here.