The Skin We're In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power

The Skin We're In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power

A bracing, provocative, and perspective-shifting book from one of Canada's most celebrated and uncompromising writers, Desmond Cole. The Skin We're In will spark a national conversation, influence policy, and inspire activists.

In his 2015 cover story for Toronto Life magazine, Desmond Cole exposed the racist actions of the Toronto police force, detailing the dozens of times he had been stopped and interrogated under the controversial practice of carding. The story quickly came to national prominence, shaking the country to its core and catapulting its author into the public sphere. Cole used his newfound profile to draw insistent, unyielding attention to the injustices faced by Black Canadians on a daily basis.

Both Cole’s activism and journalism find vibrant expression in his first book, The Skin We’re In. Puncturing the bubble of Canadian smugness and naive assumptions of a post-racial nation, Cole chronicles just one year—2017—in the struggle against racism in this country. It was a year that saw calls for tighter borders when Black refugees braved frigid temperatures to cross into Manitoba from the States, Indigenous land and water protectors resisting the celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, police across the country rallying around an officer accused of murder, and more.

The year also witnessed the profound personal and professional ramifications of Desmond Cole’s unwavering determination to combat injustice. In April, Cole disrupted a Toronto police board meeting by calling for the destruction of all data collected through carding. Following the protest, Cole, a columnist with the Toronto Star, was summoned to a meeting with the paper’s opinions editor and informed that his activism violated company policy. Rather than limit his efforts defending Black lives, Cole chose to sever his relationship with the publication. Then in July, at another police board meeting, Cole challenged the board to respond to accusations of a police cover-up in the brutal beating of Dafonte Miller by an off-duty police officer and his brother. When Cole refused to leave the meeting until the question was publicly addressed, he was arrested. The image of Cole walking out of the meeting, handcuffed and flanked by officers, fortified the distrust between the city’s Black community and its police force.

Month-by-month, Cole creates a comprehensive picture of entrenched, systemic inequality. Urgent, controversial, and unsparingly honest, The Skin We’re In is destined to become a vital text for anti-racist and social justice movements in Canada, as well as a potent antidote to the all-too-present complacency of many white Canadians.

Title:The Skin We're In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780385686341
Format Type:

    The Skin We're In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power Reviews

  • Thomas

    A powerful book about fighting white supremacy in Canada. Desmond Cole writes with passion about anti-Black police violence in Canada as well as the racism and xenophobia directed toward Indigenous fo...

  • Michael

    a collection of sharp, swift essays that sketch the past and present of white supremacy in Canada + document anti-racist protests in 2017, the year this collection homes in on. Cole blends memoir and ...

  • chantel nouseforaname

    Desmond Cole marries journalism and activism to bring forth stories of the ways anti-black racism is permeated in Canadian society and the ways that black people are resisting in Canada. I respect how...

  • Lauren Simmons

    I will preface this by saying Desmond Cole is a friend.This book, man oh man, this book. It reads at once like a convo with Des, a call to action (you better fucking act), and a thoroughly-researched ...

  • Maria

    A must-read for all Canadians, as of last year. Words cannot even begin to describe how crucial this book is to understanding racism in Canada. The whole “Canada isn’t as bad as the States” mind...

  • Elizabeth (teacupsandfirereads)

    Honestly, the words I have will come no where near to doing this book justice. All I will say it is is a must read for all Canadians, but really everyone needs to read it. For Canadians that think Can...

  • Carolyn Klassen

    The Skin We're In battles the myth that Canada is more inclusive, welcoming, celebratory of diversity than the USA. Desmond Cole breaks down his work into the twelve months of a year of interrogating ...

  • Ameema Saeed

    Oh, what an incredible read.The concept of Desmond Cole’s “The Skin We’re In” is unexpected, unique, and unforgettable. It’s the story of Canada in the year 2017 - capturing a year of the sy...

  • Sarah

    If you’re Canadian and you’ve said, or even thought, “well at least we’re not as bad as our neighbours to the south”, read this book. Not as bad as the worst doesn’t give us a pass to turn...

  • CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian

    I finally got to finish this after having to wait to get the audiobook from the library again after my time ran out when I only had 20 minutes left! It is a riveting, enfuriating, passionate book. It ...