A powerful anthology that might indeed fulfill the wish of the co-authors that readers craft potent strategies to resist...
Two journalists present their conversations with people of color about approaches to resisting white supremacy, which “defines our current reality.”
Solomon (co-editor: Naked: Black Women Bare All About Their Skin, Hair, Hips, Lips, and Other Parts, 2005) and Rankin (editor: Bet on Black: African-American Women Celebrate Fatherhood in the Age of Barack Obama, 2013), colleagues at Colorlines, present “a curated, multidisciplinary collection that serves as a showcase for some of our most powerful thinkers and doers.” At the opening of each chapter, which covers grassroots organizing and the necessity of gallows humor in the face of discrimination, among many other topics, the authors give their views on why that topic relates to the resistance. At the end of each chapter, Solomon and Rankin offer deeply personal, uncompromising reflections. For example, at the end of “Laugh to Keep from Crying,” Solomon writes, “laughing is an underground railroad for those of us lucky to ride its tracks, the vehicle through which we have mushed you in your savage face for murdering us because you are a land-thieving lazy ass who believed that something called God told you to kidnap, dehumanize, and torture other people into doing your fucking farming, child care, and nation-building.” Though the book was composed with “Black folks in mind,” the lessons for any reader are apparent and highly useful. Some of the contributors will be familiar to readers who pay attention to contemporary literature and race-related issues—e.g., Ta-Nehisi Coates, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Imani Perry, and Kiese Laymon—and any reader who believes strongly in their own progressivism will still learn from various passages about how people of color deal with certain realities every day. As these pieces demonstrate, white supremacy does not always take obvious forms such as violence; Solomon, Rankin, and the other contributors show that it can take subtler forms.A powerful anthology that might indeed fulfill the wish of the co-authors that readers craft potent strategies to resist white supremacy.
Pub Date: March 26, 2019
Page Count: 304
Publisher: Nation Books
Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019
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by Ta-Nehisi Coates ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 8, 2015
This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”
Awards & Accolades
Best Books Of 2015
New York Times Bestseller
National Book Award Winner
Pulitzer Prize Finalist
The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.
Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”
Pub Date: July 8, 2015
Page Count: 176
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Review Posted Online: May 5, 2015
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015
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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.
“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.
It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.
Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019
Page Count: 432
Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019
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