Book Review from the RWLibrary

"The Skin We’re In: A Year of Black Activism" by Desmond Cole

  • Arts   Wed, Apr 28th, 2021   Rowan Bleaney, Library Clerk at RWLibrary

On January 1st, 2017, journalist and activist Desmond Cole awakes to the news that police have raided a Toronto art gallery’s New Year’s party, and tasered the Black gallery owner. So begins the book’s year of activism, during which Cole chronicles activists fighting for racial justice across the nation. Cole skillfully takes readers from the big picture down to specific incidents, then back out again to investigate the broader systemic issues behind the tragedies. Stories such as the brutal beating of teenager Danfonte Miller by officer Michael Theriault reveal to readers the grim reality that racism is not just a problem in other countries. Theriault’s assault was so severe that Miller lost an eye. As Cole acknowledges, there’s nothing unique about the brutality and violence that occurred in Canada in 2017. The only difference was the resurgence of activism and protest across the country, and the world. This book is an excellent starting point for readers who are bombarded with stories about racial injustice from the United States, but want to better understand the situation here at home in Canada.
“The Skin We’re In” is a 2021 Evergreen Awards nominee. It’s available from the Region of Waterloo Library as a book, an ebook, and an eaudiobook. To learn more about the Evergreen Awards program and how you can vote online for your favourite Evergreen Award titles, visit