Review: Viral Justice: How We Grow the World We Want

Review by Sayo Lyra Stefflbauer, University of Amsterdam


  • Sayo Lyra Stefflbauer University of Amsterdam


Book review, Viral Justice, Ruha Benjamin


Viral Justice is a lexicon of racial injustice in the United States, interweaving historical and contemporary case studies, academic research, and autobiographical testimony. Throughout seven chapters, Princeton Professor of African American Studies and Global Health, Ruha Benjamin exposes the mutually reinforcing mechanisms of oppression upholding white supremacy and urges readers to question the narratives that feed them. We enter Benjamin’s story through the front door of her childhood home. The White House is the name of her grandmother’s small, weathered residency in South Central Los Angeles, situating the reader in the overpoliced, politicized existence of a Black family. It is through this autobiographical lens that Ruha Benjamin introduces her grandmother’s abolitionist affirmations, that developed in response to the incessant racism, exclusion, and neglect of the Black community, and precipitated her own political awakening.