Books for White Folks Part 11: The Peripherals

Book cover to Technically Wrong by Sara Wachter-BoettcherSo we come to the final in this series.  These are what I call the “peripherals.”  These are books that I recommend in general but within the context of exploring race, identity, and privilege, I recommend that you first read at least one book from each of the previous lists.  The reason being is that with the context of those books, I think you will find additional value in these, particularly in thinking about the interplay of white supremacy, identity, and other facets that these books cover while maybe only superficially or partially covering racism, identity, and privilege.  

Again, there are so many to choose from so recommending just one to dive into is a bit of a challenge but if I had to choose, I would go with: Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech by Sara Wachter-Boettcher.  If you have read other books from my previous lists, then what I think this book will do is help you better understand that in some cases, white supremacy is literally baked into the programming and structure of technology.  While that in itself is a powerful consideration to which Wachter-Boettcher explores regularly throughout her book, I found that the premise itself is useful for thinking about society in general.  If our laws are our algorithms, then what does it mean that for hundreds of years, we had algorithms privileging one group above all others.  What kind of long-lasting results occur because of that.   

The Recommendations

  • Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History by Kurt Andersen
  • With Amusement for All: A History of American Popular Culture Since 1830 by LeRoy Ashby
  • Electoral Dysfunction: A Survival Manual for American Voters by Victoria Bassetti
  • Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior by Jonah Berger
  • The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned a Network into a Propaganda Machine by David Brock 
  • The Politics of Resentment by Katherine Cramer
  • All the Rebel Women: The Rise of the Fourth Wave of Feminism by Kira Cochrane
  • Fear Less: Real Truth About Risk, Safety, and Security in a Time of Terrorism by Gavin de Becker
  • As Texas Goes...: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda by Gail Collins
  • Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
  • Bait And Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit Of The American Dream by Barbara Ehrenreich
  • Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America by Barabara Ehrenreich
  • The Wal-Mart Effect: How the World's Most Powerful Company Really Works - and How It's Transforming the American Economy by Charles Fishman
  • The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class—and What We Can Do About It by Richard Florida
  • Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew America by Thomas Friedman
  • That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World We Invented--and How We Can Come Back by Thomas Friedman 
  • The Science of Fear: Why We Fear the Things We Shouldn't--and Put Ourselves in Greater Danger by Dan Gardner
  • The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things by Barry Glassner
  • Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild
  • Whose Freedom?: The Battle Over America's Most Important Idea by George Lakoff
  • Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect by Matthew Lieberman
  • Rethinking Our Past: Recognizing Facts, Fictions, And Lies In American History by James Loewen
  • What Is Populism? by Jan-Werner Müller
  • Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars from 4chan and Tumblr to Trump and the Alt-Right by Angela Nagle
  • Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O'Neil
  • Learning as a Way of Leading: Lessons from the Struggle for Social Justice by Stephen Preskill
  • Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do About It by Richard V. Reeves
  • The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future by Joseph E. Stiglitz 
  • Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election That Changed Everything for American Women by Rebecca Traister
  • Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech by Sara Wachter-Boettcher
  • Justice For None: How the Drug War Broke the Legal System by The Washington Post
  • White Working Class by Joan Williams

So that has been 11 blog posts on book recommendations around racism, identity, and privilege.  We covered a whole lot!  

  1. What did you find interesting, surprising, curious, or important?  
  2. What books have you read or decided to read?  
  3. What recommendations do you have for me?

You can find the full list of books in the genre of race, identity, and privilege on Goodreads.  For all posts in this series, check out:
  1. The Introduction
  2. The Ambassadors
  3. The Fiction
  4. The Classics
  5. The Memoirs and Personal Accounts
  6. The Comics
  7. The Histories
  8. Education
  9. Identities and American Culture
  10. The Systematic Critiques
  11. The Peripherals
  12. Since I Started...


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