An essential work for those who pay attention to the effects of globalization—which is, or at least should be, nearly...

ARRIVAL CITY

HOW THE LARGEST MIGRATION IN HISTORY IS RESHAPING OUR WORLD

Incisive study of worldwide rural-to-urban migration, its complex social mechanisms and the consequences of institutional neglect.

Globe and Mail European bureau chief Saunders reveals how responses to the greatest migration in world history will either secure socio-economic stability or sink it into a galaxy of civil unrest and revolution. Every year, approximately two billion people migrate from rural villages to “arrival cities” across the world. Often constructed in haste and desperation, and in the margins of the main city, arrival cities are highly susceptible to social instability. Successful ones, like New York’s Chinatown, overcome this adversity to later become highly desirable places to live, reversing the internal-urban migratory patterns. This reversal, often derogatorily referred to as “gentrification,” is a result of an arrival city’s success, not its failure. With thousands of arrival cities across the world, success leads to a flourishing middle class, failure to violence, gang activity and sometimes revolution and civil war. Left ignored, essential social services can be provided by migrant-driven ethnic movements, like the Shiv Sena in Mumbai, who provide substantial community services, but accomplish the tasks through criminal practices like bulldozing slums, neglecting the most basic sanitary needs. These movements, however, only take hold when governments take rural migrants for granted, allowing dangerous and divisive politics to fill the vacuum. Rural-urban migrants need stable networks to provide fundamentals like security and equity, including a system of urban remittance on which many villages depend. Governments that recognize this and help provide for such essentials as home ownership, land titles, schools, hospitals, security forces and transportation services can interrupt the mechanisms of social upheaval that lead to violence and revolution. Never speculative, Saunders dexterously weaves personal case studies—some of which are practically unspeakable and ultimately overwhelming—with the broader institutional context.

An essential work for those who pay attention to the effects of globalization—which is, or at least should be, nearly everyone.

Pub Date: March 22, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-42549-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

SO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT RACE

Straight talk to blacks and whites about the realities of racism.

In her feisty debut book, Oluo, essayist, blogger, and editor at large at the Establishment magazine, writes from the perspective of a black, queer, middle-class, college-educated woman living in a “white supremacist country.” The daughter of a white single mother, brought up in largely white Seattle, she sees race as “one of the most defining forces” in her life. Throughout the book, Oluo responds to questions that she has often been asked, and others that she wishes were asked, about racism “in our workplace, our government, our homes, and ourselves.” “Is it really about race?” she is asked by whites who insist that class is a greater source of oppression. “Is police brutality really about race?” “What is cultural appropriation?” and “What is the model minority myth?” Her sharp, no-nonsense answers include talking points for both blacks and whites. She explains, for example, “when somebody asks you to ‘check your privilege’ they are asking you to pause and consider how the advantages you’ve had in life are contributing to your opinions and actions, and how the lack of disadvantages in certain areas is keeping you from fully understanding the struggles others are facing.” She unpacks the complicated term “intersectionality”: the idea that social justice must consider “a myriad of identities—our gender, class, race, sexuality, and so much more—that inform our experiences in life.” She asks whites to realize that when people of color talk about systemic racism, “they are opening up all of that pain and fear and anger to you” and are asking that they be heard. After devoting most of the book to talking, Oluo finishes with a chapter on action and its urgency. Action includes pressing for reform in schools, unions, and local governments; boycotting businesses that exploit people of color; contributing money to social justice organizations; and, most of all, voting for candidates who make “diversity, inclusion and racial justice a priority.”

A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58005-677-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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