Resources on Race Vol. 2.5

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We are pleased to announce that the library received a mini-grant from the Bryant Diversity Council in order to purchase digital copies of books focusing on race, racism, and anti-racism. We continue to mourn the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Elijah McClain, Rayshard Brooks, Vanessa Guillén, and too many other unnecessary and senseless deaths. The library is continuing to engage in these conversations and speak up against racism and white supremacy wherever it appears. As our national dialogue on systemic racism continues, we urge you to check out some of these e-books and further educate yourself on these important topics. Black Lives Matter. Black Stories Matter. Black Voices Matter.

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Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcom X with Alex Haley: Constructed from interviews between Haley and X before his assassination, this foundational text of Black literature focuses on Malcolm X’s views on Pan-Africanism, Black nationalism, and human rights. As one of the most important and visible 20th century Black Americans, Malcolm X’s story continues to be relevant. Read this book to engage directly with the thoughts and perspectives of one of the most important Black figures in American history.

 Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehishi Coates: This National Book Award winner is a letter written from Coates to his son. A memoir about his time at Howard University, his young idolization of Malcolm X, and the importance of simultaneously acknowledging that race is a social construct built to justify racism, and recognizing and challenging the inequalities that have come about in our society due to “race.” Read this for empathy, and to catch a glimpse of the fear many Black men in America feel. 

How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi: Kendi’s book builds an idea of what an antiracist society looks like, and how we can each build it. How to be an Antiracist interweaves ethics, law, history, and science to encourage readers to take the next step. Read this book to learn how to challenge your own implicit biases and prejudices to construct such a society. 

 Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson: This true story about a young defense attorney (Stevenson) who fights to get a Black man named Walter McMillian off of death row after he had been imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Read this book to get a firsthand account of the failings of the criminal justice system’s treatment of Black people.

Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla Saad: Structured as a 28-day challenge for white people, Me and White Supremacy aims to inspire readers to examine their own complicity in white supremacy and white privilege with the goal of stopping unintentional pain from being inflicted on Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC). Read this book to actively engage with and unlearn culturally learned behaviors and perspectives that prop up white supremacy.

 The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Era of Color Blindness by Michelle Alexander: This groundbreaking text from 2010 focuses on the racial biases within the United States Justice System following the War on Drugs and the 1994 Crime Bill which lead to there being more incarcerated Black people today than there were slaves in 1860. Read this to learn more about the racist policies that led to these obscene numbers of imprisoned Black folk.

Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond by Marc Lamont Hill: In this text, which the New York Times called “A worthy and necessary addition to the contemporary canon of civil rights literature,” Hill looks at the way American institutions and negligence has hurt Black people and communities of color, focusing on the stories of people like Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, as well as the city of Flint, Michigan. Read this book to unravel the tangled web of unfettered capitalism, mass incarceration, and the lack of attention paid to some of America’s most vulnerable populations by our elected officials which has led to state sanctioned violence against communities.

Sister Outsider : Essays and Speeches by Audre Lord: A foundational collection of essays and speeches focusing on intersectional identity, Lord writes about homophobia, racism, sexism, police brutality, classism, and Black feminism. Lord navigates these topics through her own perspective of oppression with a hopeful outlook. Read this book to better your understanding of intersectional identities and to see that acceptance as a vehicle for progress and change.

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo: Examining the racial divide in a way that is accessible for newcomers, Oluo deconstructs Black Lives Matter, white supremacist rallies, and more. Read this to learn about subjects like cultural appropriation, privilege, and affirmative action.

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi: Using the lives of five of America’s most famous thinkers (ranging from Thomas Jefferson to Angela Davis), Kendi tracks the history of thinking about race from the perspectives of Black scholars, slaveholding presidents, and activists. By comparing these different figures, the path and effects of racist and anti-racist thinking are tracked through American history. Read this book to follow the thread of racism back to the United States’ inception.

Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Using his distinct scholarly voice, Gates presents the era following Reconstruction through the lens of how white supremacy was permeated and spread through science, imagery, literature, language, and violence. Each chapter, which focuses on a larger idea, is followed by a collection of racist images and objects which reveal many of the dehumanizing anti-Black stereotypes that continue to permeate our culture now. Read this book to engage with the history of anti-Black racism, and the construction of systemic racism following eight years of unprecedented racial progress.

Things that make White People Uncomfortable by Michael Bennett and Dave Zirin: Athlete Michael Bennett tells the story of his support for Black Lives Matter, Palestine, and other social movements while navigating the world of professional football and philanthropic efforts. Read this book to engage with stories of Blackness that intersect with sports.

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Renni Eddo-Lodge: Eddo-Lodge, a citizen of the United Kingdom, expands on her titular blog post examining the way whiteness has permeated feminism, links between race and class, as well as other examples of systemic and structural racism. Read this to learn about racism beyond the United States.

Resources on Race II

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As protests continue, the library is committing to continue to engage with the ongoing conversations about race that have come up since the murder of George Floyd. We have expanded this list to not only include books from our collection, but also videos, podcasts, and web pages that are relevant to learning the history of racial injustice and the current manifestation of the centuries-long battle to extinguish that hate. In addition, as music is often connected with social movements (particularly within the labor and civil rights movements), we have included music that has become connected to the Black Lives Matter movement and is being heard and played at protests around the nation. Lastly, we have included links to many organizations that are involved in the fight for justice. If you are interested in learning more about the goals of these groups, check out our links below. 

As it is pride month, we would be remiss if we did not mention the struggles of the black transgender community who are overwhelmingly plagued by epidemics of homelessness, poverty, unemployment, HIV, and violence.We have linked to the National LGBTQ Task Force website with more statistics and information on these inequalities. 

Black Lives Matter, and we vow to continue to be a part of these conversations regarding equity and inclusivity in our own community and our country at large.

BOOKS

Beloved by Toni Morrison: Nobel Prize winner Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel is a classic. A story of slavery, family, and trauma, Beloved is a must read for anyone who is interested in reading the work of a famous and established author.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson: This true story about a young defense attorney (Stevenson) who fights to get a black man named Walter McMillian off of death row after he had been imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Read this book to get a first hand account of the failings of the criminal justice system’s treatment of black people.

Push by SapphirePush is a story of perseverance, education, and moving beyond circumstances that negatively effect personal growth. Precious is a young black girl who has a child with down syndrome and can’t read. This novel chronicles her journey in education and learning. On a personal note, this was the first book that helped me understand privilege and I can’t recommend it enough. –Connor

Black Panther Vol. One by Ta-Nehishi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze: Marvel’s famous black superhero, T’Challa the Black Panther, was relaunched in 2016 with a book written by acclaimed black author Ta-Nehishi Coates. Read this for a healthy dose of Afrofuturism and black representation in comics.

Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom by Keisha Blane: Blane’s book examines the black nationalist movement from the beginning of the 20th century to the 60s, from Garveyism to the Black Power Movement. Check this book out for information on black women political leaders fighting for their own.

Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” by Zora Neale Hurston: While the slave trade was officially outlawed in the United States in 1808, there were some people who illegally smuggled people from Africa into the United States to be sold into the slave trade. The book is made up of interviews Hurston conducted with Cudjoe Lewis, the presumed last survivor of the slave trade. Posthumously published almost 60 years after Hurston’s death, read this book to hear a first hand account of the inhuman horrors of slavery.

Living for Change: An Autobiography by Grace Lee Boggs: Boggs’s autobiography chronicles her life of activism as an Asian American woman who walked among and worked with figures such as Malcolm X. Read this book to learn about how one woman’s journey within a movement demanding for racial justice transformed her life.

America is in the Heart by Carlos Bulosan: Filipino author Carlos Bulosan fictionalizes his own life story in this semi-autobiographical novel. The novel follows him from his life in the Philippines experiencing the effects of American imperialism in his home country. He later moves to California and chronicles the racism and prejudice he faced as a Filipino immigrant in the United States during the 1930s and 40s. 

A Different History: A History of Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki: A book of history, Takaki looks at the United States’ past through the lens of multiculturalism and marginalized communities. Looking at slavery, indigenous people, Asian-Americans, the Chicano population, and other groups, read this book for a less white-centric telling of US history.

Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead: The winner of the 2019 Pulitzer prize for fiction, inspired by a true location, looks at a reform school for young black children in Florida. However, there is something sinister happening beyond the “helpful” veneer.

Becoming by Michelle Obama: The former first lady’s memoir captured the nation when released, selling 725,000 copies when it first hit shelves in 2018. Obama tells the story of her life from the South Side of Chicago and beyond, looking at her White House years and beyond. Read this book to be inspired and hopeful about the future. 

Race and Reconciliation: Essays from the New South Africa by Daniel Herwitz: Facing its own history of racism and injustice, this book showcases South Africa in the decade following the end of apartheid. Read this book to learn about the changes that took place in South Africa, after Nelson Mandela was first elected and segregation was being unraveled.

Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman: Another Pulitzer prize winner, Forman’s book critically looks at the origins and politics of mass incarceration in the 1970s, while also examining why mass incarceration was supported by many black leaders at the time of implementation. Read this book to learn more about the history of mass incarceration.

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison: A classic work, Ellison’s novel follows an unnamed black man as he goes through society, pondering race, radical politics, Marxism, and more. Invisible Man is a classic for a reason, and should be read particularly by those who want to read “canonical” works of literature.

The Poet X: A Novel by Elizabeth Acevedo: This YA novel follows the character Xiomara, who goes by X, who struggles to balance her love of slam poetry, her relationship with her lab partner, and her mom’s expectations of her. Read this book to see how our words and art can be a positive force during difficult times.

Good White People: The Problem with Middle-Class White Anti-Racism by Shannon Sullivan: This book untangles the web of how class and race are intertwined. Well-meaning white people can inadvertently scapegoat lower income individuals for racism, without looking within their own actions and how they benefit from racist structures.  Read this to better understand the pitfalls of ally-ship and to make be a better advocate for black people and people of color.

VIDEOS/LINKS

Asian Americans from PBS: This recent documentary series from PBS premiered last month and follows the journey and struggles of Asian Americans in the United States from the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, to Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order to take people of Japanese heritage from their homes and put them into incarceration camps following the attacks on Pearl Harbor and beyond. Watch this series to learn more about the history of the Asian American experience.

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho: Former football player Emmanuel Acho has launched this series to have uncomfortable conversations with white people discussing race as a vehicle to learn. Uncomfortable conversations are often the most important to have, so watch these videos to learn everything from whether it is better to say African-American or black, to more complex discussions of race and policing.

Black History in Two Minutes (or so) from Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: From Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, these bingeable videos look at black history, events, and figures in videos that are under five minutes. Watch these videos to learn more about black history from experts in an easily digested format.

Being Antiracist from the Smithsonian: This webpage from the Smithsonian incorporates charts, quotes, and videos to teach and encourage readers to embrace and foster an antiracist viewpoint. Check this page out to learn more about this type of thinking and how you can begin to apply it to your own world.

Why Black Music Matters While Cities Burn from the Smithsonian: The Smithsonian record company “Folkways” hosted a conversation with Ta-Nehishi Coates about the history of Go-Go music and the importance of black music while there are wide-spread protests about systemic racism. Watch this to learn about black music from a scholar’s perspective, as well as some great music by the First Ladies of Go-Go.

We Are in the Future” from This American Life: In 2017, This American Life released an episode on Afro-futurism (a black-centric view of the future, like Black Panther). This past week, the episode was re-released with additional content to touch on the protests. Listen to this episode to learn about Afro-futurism and how widespread its influence is.

 

MUSIC FOR THE MOVEMENT

To Pimp a Butterfly (particularly “Alright” and “The Blacker the Berry”) by Kendrick Lamar

Voices of the Civil Rights Movement: Black American Freedom Songs 1960-1966 from Smithsonian Folkways

Walking in the Snow” by Run the Jewels

Formation” by Beyonce

Sandra’s Smile” by Blood Orange

Alemda” by Solange

Americans” by Janelle Monae

This is America” by Childish Gambino

In Bloom” by Moses Sumney

Black Qualls (feat. Steve Lacey & Steve Arrington)” by Thundercat



ORGANIZATIONS

NAACP Legal Defense Fund

Black Lives Matter

Black Visions Collective

Movement for Black Lives

Transgender Gender-Variant & Intersex Justice Project

 

Resources on Race

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A lot of people are deeply hurting due to the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor. It is important that in this moment of pain, we step back and learn from history, from the voices of black people and people of color who experience the effects of racism first hand, and examine the systems that have historically allowed these things to happen. We are sharing resources we have in our library’s collection in order to foster radical empathy. To hold ourselves accountable. To learn from the past to seek justice in our present and in our future. 

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BOOKS BY BLACK AUTHORS

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo: Examining the racial divide in a way that is accessible for newcomers, Oluo deconstructs Black Lives Matter, white supremacist rallies, and more. Read this to learn about subjects like cultural appropriation, privilege,  and affirmative action.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Era of Color Blindness by Michelle Alexander: This groundbreaking text from 2010 focuses on the racial biases within the United States Justice System following the War on Drugs and the 1994 Crime Bill. Read this to learn more about the tension between people of color and law enforcement. 

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Renni Eddo-Lodge: Eddo-Lodge, a citizen of the United Kingdom, expands on her titular blog post examining the way whiteness has permeated feminism, links between race and class, as well as other examples of systemic and structural racism. Read this to learn about racism beyond the United States.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehishi Coates: This National Book Award winner is a letter written from Coates to his son. A memoir about his time at Howard University, his young idolization of Malcolm X, and the importance of simultaneously acknowledging that race is a social construct built to justify racism, and recognizing and challenging the inequalities that have come about in our society due to “race.” Read this for empathy, and to catch a glimpse of the fear many black men in America feel. 

How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi: Kendi’s book builds an idea of what an antiracist society looks like, and how we can each build it. How to be an Antiracist interweaves ethics, law, history, and science in order to encourage readers to take the next step. Read this book to learn how to challenge your own implicit biases and prejudices in order to construct such a society. 

Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall: This collection of essays published in 2020 critiques the historical and current instances of the Feminist movement ignoring women of color, queer and trans women, women with disabilities, and working class and poor women. Read this book if you want to know more about intersectionality in the feminist movement and not erasing the multiple identities of women.

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds: A new YA adaptation of a larger text, this book examines the history of racism and antiracism and how to combat it. It includes an introduction by the author of How to be an Antiracist, Ibram Kendi. Read this book to understand the historical context of the demonization of people of color in our society. 

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: A woman from Nigeria immigrates to the United States, only to realize that for the first time in her life she has to live with the repercussions of racism. Read this modern classic to see what happens when the global North’s racist structures collide with a woman who expects more.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: After a young, unarmed black teenager is killed by a white police officer, turmoil erupts in the neighborhood. His friend (and our main character) Starr Carter learns the importance of using her voice, and advocating for the voiceless. Read this book to have insight into what it is like to live in a low-income community that has a complex, at best, relationship with police.

OTHER TEXTS TO CONSIDER

White Fragility : Why it’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo: In this book, DiAngelo looks at her own complicity to racism as a diversity trainer. Speaking from her own experiences within the training she administered, she looks at the way white people have trouble talking about race. Read this book as an entry into discussing race, after having read something by a black author first.

Asian Pacific Heritage Month Resources

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In addition to the books we highlighted on our blog a few weeks ago, here are some additional cultural and historical resources in order to learn more about the Asian-Pacific American experience from those who experience it.

Order 9066 (podcast): This podcast was made in conjunction with the Smithsonian Museum of American History and chronicles the enactment and effects of Executive Order 9066 which, signed by President Franklin Roosevelt, incarcerated around 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry in camps due to their racial and ethnic background. Follow the story from Pearl Harbor to Reparations. 

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Government Website: The Library of Congress, National Archives, National Endowment for the Humanities, and other government organizations have collaborated to make an amazing site that includes resources that focus on the Asian Pacific American experience through various mediums such as art, music, newspapers, articles, video, and more. 

Viral Histories from the Smithsonian Museum of American History: In response to the increased amount of racism and hate crimes targeted towards Asian Americans due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the NMAH launched a video series interviewing people on the front lines and connecting their experiences to history.

We hope you check out these resources, and let us know if you find any information that moves or inspires you!

Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month – Book Picks

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Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Hann – And there’s still so much to look forward to: a class trip to New York City, prom with her boyfriend Peter, Beach Week after graduation, and her dad’s wedding to Ms. Rothschild. Then she’ll be off to college with Peter, at a school close enough for her to come home and bake chocolate chip cookies on the weekends.

Life couldn’t be more perfect!

At least, that’s what Lara Jean thinks . . . until she gets some unexpected news.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan – Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.

When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn’t know is that Nick’s family home happens to look like a palace, that she’ll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back.

The Sympathizer by Viet Thannh Nguyen – It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain, is secretly observing and reporting on the group to a higher-up in the Viet Cong. The Sympathizer is the story of this captain: a man brought up by an absent French father and a poor Vietnamese mother, a man who went to university in America, but returned to Vietnam to fight for the Communist cause.

The Leavers by Lisa Ko – One morning, Deming Guo’s mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant named Polly, goes to her job at the nail salon and never comes home. No one can find any trace of her.

With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left with no one to care for him. He is eventually adopted by two white college professors who move him from the Bronx to a small town upstate. They rename him Daniel Wilkinson in their efforts to make him over into their version of an “all-American boy.” But far away from all he’s ever known, Daniel struggles to reconcile his new life with his mother’s disappearance and the memories of the family and community he left behind.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See – In their remote mountain village, Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. For the Akha people, ensconced in ritual and routine, life goes on as it has for generations—until a stranger appears at the village gate in a jeep, the first automobile any of the villagers has ever seen.

The stranger’s arrival marks the first entrance of the modern world in the lives of the Akha people. Slowly, Li-yan, one of the few educated girls on her mountain, begins to reject the customs that shaped her early life. When she has a baby out of wedlock—conceived with a man her parents consider a poor choice—she rejects the tradition that would compel her to give the child over to be killed, and instead leaves her, wrapped in a blanket with a tea cake tucked in its folds, near an orphanage in a nearby city.

As Li-yan comes into herself, leaving her insular village for an education, a business, and city life, her daughter, Haley, is raised in California by loving adoptive parents. Despite her privileged childhood, Haley wonders about her origins. Across the ocean Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. Over the course of years, each searches for meaning in the study of Pu’er, the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for centuries.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee – In the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant–and that her lover is married–she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts an offer of marriage from a gentle, sickly minister passing through on his way to Japan. But her decision to abandon her home, and to reject her son’s powerful father, sets off a dramatic saga that will echo down through the generations.

Images & Summaries Retrieved from www.goodreads.com