South Carolina-based journalist Issac J. Bailey reflects on a wide range of complex, divisive topics--from police brutality and Confederate symbols to respectability politics and white discomfort--which have taken on a fresh urgency with the protest movement sparked by George Floyd's killing. Why Didn't We Riot? speaks to and for the millions of Black and Brown people throughout the United States who were effectively pushed back to the back of the bus in the Trump era by a media that prioritized the concerns and feelings of the white working class and an administration that made white supremacists giddy, and explains why the country's fate in 2020 and beyond is largely in their hands.
... Bailey offers an unflinching perspective about the ongoing dialogue about racism and racial justice in America ... While Trump is now out of office, this book is as relevant as ever. While the Trump era exposed the persistent undercurrent of racism embedded in institutions and systems, the author notes that race in America continues to be an 'emotional, complex' topic.
The essays of Issac J. Bailey’s Why Didn’t We Riot? are incisive as they confront the realities of systemic racism in America and in the age of Donald Trump ... The book is replete with reminders of established inequalities. It reveals racism in the justice system with an essay about a wrongly convicted man whose trial reflects the degree to which judges, juries, prosecutors, and sentencing guidelines work against Black Americans. It exposes the microaggressions that Bailey has been subject to, including suggestions that his successes are proof against systemic issues ... The title question hangs over the book’s deliberate accounting of Black marginalization, unanswerable if logic is applied. By the book’s end, a 'communal scream' is called for, rendering Issac J. Bailey’s essays essential reading.
... singular voices have arisen that are able to separate the wheat from the chaff to openly speak the truth about the continuous violence perpetrated upon Black people and the rising inequality in Trump’s America. Issac J. Bailey is one such voice. Despite his many accomplishments in a white dominated world, he feels a deep anguish about the mounting abuses African Americans are forced to endure ... In 169 pages, Bailey splendidly creates a milieu where empathy can take root and blossom within readers of all backgrounds. A recognition slowly arises that we are all in this together and the time for an awakening to that fact is now.