‘We Are Not Like Them’ authors share how writing the book helped them speak honestly about race

He is having a headache about being shot by policeman and pictures the school photo his mommy would utilize when he passes away and his death would end up being news.

The work is imaginary, however the composing permits you to see the world through a various lens.

Throughout their unique, unpleasant occasions take place which begin precisely the type of discussion Pride and Piazza desired their book, “We Are Not Like Them,” to take on. The story centers around a White female called Jen and a Black female called Riley, who are required to deal with race after Jen’s law enforcement officer hubby is associated with the shooting of a Black teenager.

The 2 utilized their own relationship — Pride is Black and Piazza is White — as a beginning point.

“For us, writing together as a Black woman and a White woman, and as friends who became friends late in life, we had never talked about race until we really started writing this book because we didn’t have to,” Piazza stated. “And, sometimes, it’s the last thing you talk about. I knew about all of Christine’s terrible ex-boyfriends before we actually had a decent conversation about race.”

Good friends

The 2 very first fulfilled when Pride worked as Piazza’s editor for her book, “Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win.”

In time, in discussing their various backgrounds and how they matured, they were influenced to compose an unique informed in rotating voices in between a Black female and a White female.

What they didn’t anticipate was that their own talks would feel so tough, evaluating the limitations of both their working relationship and their relationship throughout the procedure.

“Black people, in general, are very wary of having this conversation because we talk about race amongst each other a lot because it’s a central component of life,” Pride stated. “But when you meet a new White person, as I met Jo as a new friend, there is, I think, a built-in level of apprehension there about what is this person’s background? What is their family like? You know, what, what are they hearing at the dinner table? What did they hear about Black people growing up? Who are their other friends? What is their social circle?”

Then, there’s the stress and anxiety of raising race at all, Pride included.

“Are they going to get tongue tied? Are they gonna get defensive? Are they going to get dismissive?” she stated. “So, I think the reason why a lot of these conversations aren’t happening is because of that weariness on it — at least from a Black perspective.”

Fiction into action

When Pride and Piazza were establishing the characters and composing “We Are Not Like Them,” they saw a great deal of parallels in between their story and their own experiences. In general, the composing procedure made them much better good friends, they stated.

“We wanted to talk about race in a way that’s not hitting you over the head or preaching to you,” Piazza stated. “It’s a story about female friendship and how two women help each other grow and live in the world. But we also weave through race into the mix and we think it lets people get comfortable.”

Pride is not even sure race would have shown up naturally in their relationship without the assistance of the book. Piazza concurs.

“I was filled with too much hubris. I’m like, I’ve written about politics, about finance … I’ll figure out how to write about race,” Piazza stated. “And it was just so much more of a learning curve, both writing and talking about it. And I think that shows just how fraught it has become in our entire national dialogue.”

The 2 stated they eventually wish to practice what they preach: In the hard minutes — in the minutes when it is challenging or unpleasant to continue with a discussion about race — to listen and to press through.

“We had to keep pushing through, to deliver this book so that other people could do the same,” Pride stated. “This end product and getting the story down on the page could help other readers and people do the same things we were doing, in a way our characters really became a proxy for us on the page, they are having trouble figuring out how to talk about race. And there’s a lot of misunderstandings and apprehensions and fears and even blind spots. And those were, I mean, not identical because the circumstances were different between Jo and I in real life and our characters, but the overall dynamic was [similar.]”

Piazza stated it’s working up until now. Readers have actually been messaging, emailing and opening to both her and Pride, informing them that they have actually connected to individuals that they didn’t understand how to speak with or that they have actually had a falling out with about race.

“This is genuinely a book starting hard conversations about race in America right now,” Piazza stated. “And Christine and I wanted to come together as former colleagues, and also as friends, to create a very commercial and very accessible way that would inspire people to have their own conversations about race.”

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.