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Showing posts from June, 2019

Review: White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

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White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

DiAngelo breaks down how white people become invested in their whiteness in many covert and overt ways. The result of this deeply composed but rarely addressed element to their identity is to resist and deny how much whiteness plays a role in their day-to-day lives and how they understand the world. Much like Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States, this book helps to unpack how racism (the system of power within a culture that privileges certain races over others--in the case of the US, whites over other people of color) exists in the day-to-day among white people and works in nuanced ways rather than traditional depictions of racism (think KKK, Alt-Right, etc). More importantly, she illustrates ways to identify it, address it, and develop the language to engage with it to both de-escalate the white fragility …

Review: Mindful of Race Understanding and Transforming Habits of Harm

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Mindful of Race Understanding and Transforming Habits of Harm by Ruth King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So many of us are enmeshed in this discussion of racism that sits at the heart of American culture and sit with so much pain and frustration about how to reconcile it, how do we heal, and how do we move forward. In this context, King's book is a Godsend! She breaks the book into three parts which she frames around the metaphor of diagnosis (of heart problems), heart surgery, and recovery. It's a useful framing device that allows her to help readers to first identify the problem of racism and its effects throughout our lives. In this section, she helps lay a strong foundation for anyone to understand how so many in the US experience racism differently and particularly, why white folks don't see the problem while so many people of color do in a way that is enlightening without putting white people on the defensive. In the second section, she lays out how a meditation practice can…

Review: The Hate U Give

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book gave me all the feels. All. The. Feels. The story starts with the protagonist, Star as she's attending a party with her half-sister when things go south quickly. On her way home with a friend, they are pulled over by an officer and the friend is shot dead in front of her for nothing but being concerned about Star's safety. What ensues is Star coming to terms with the death of her friend, the ensuing media circus around the event, and how she balances her home life and her school life (which are largely separate entities since she goes to a private and predominantly white school some distance from where she lives in an urban environment). But reconciling her anger with her school life is challenging as school is filled with many people that want to dismiss her friend's life as his own fault and Star is not having that.

The book reminds me how much fiction and communicate truth in that there are many many many gr…

Review: Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal

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Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal by Aviva Chomsky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Though published in 2014, Chomsky's book feels all the more necessary to be put in everyone's hands during the era of the Trump administration. Her book has several clear and well-researched points. One point is to highlight the historical events that lead to the current frame of how the US has created "illegal immigrants" and how that frame is largely informed by a racialized view that devalues immigrants of color, particularly Mexicans and other people from Latin America (that's not to say that she doesn't acknowledge how the current US culture does not devalue other immigrants of color, but that her argument is that in the 20th century, much of the creation of "illegal immigration" had Latin and Central America at its heart). She also argues that if the US is the country that it claims to be, valuing the individual and not discriminating on group identity but rath…

Review: The Professor Is In: The Essential Guide To Turning Your Ph.D. Into a Job

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The Professor Is In: The Essential Guide To Turning Your Ph.D. Into a Job by Karen Kelsky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kelsky's methodical and meticulous exploration of transitioning from a doctoral student into a professional in academia is a must-read for anyone (even in undergrad) thinking of pursuing a doctorate degree for the purpose of a university position. Her argument for the book is sound: competition for tenure-track is fierce and getting fiercer, nontenure-track positions are increasingly more exploitative, and without a serious means to economically exploit a doctoral degree will leave recent graduates with lots of debt and few opportunities. Her approach is a critical and non-sugarcoated romp through the nuts and bolts of making one marketable by being the utmost academic profession one can be by leveraging every single opportunity to network, earn CV-valuable credits, articulate value and experience, and leverage past opportunities into new ones. She's thoroughly explo…