An eye-opener that will startle readers, the book offers grist for policy makers and others battling to preserve a shred of...

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THE DAILY YOU

HOW THE NEW ADVERTISING INDUSTRY IS DEFINING YOUR IDENTITY AND YOUR WORTH

Turow (Communication/Univ. of Pennsylvania; Niche Envy: Marketing Discrimination in the Digital Age, 2006, etc.) warns that today’s advertising industry is secretly reshaping our world—and not for the better.

Using the Internet, writes the author, marketers and media now peek, poke, analyze and tag us, gathering data for “one of history’s most massive stealth efforts in social profiling.” Turow shows that advertiser efforts to understand consumer buying impulses now involve many digital tracking tools as well as companies like BlueKai and Rapleaf, which follow people on and across websites to learn what they care about and who their friends are. Once collected, customer information analyzed so marketers can divide people into targets and waste, writes the author. Targets are desirable consumers; waste has no value. When companies “track people without their knowledge, sell their data without letting them know what they are doing or securing their permission, and then use the data to decide which of these people are targets or waste, we have a serious social problem.” All these privacy-breaching and social-profiling activities are legal and unregulated, and all are becoming standard practice among media buyers in top advertising firms. As a result, the industry has information on the social backgrounds, locations, activities, and social relationships of hundreds of millions. Turow traces the history of advertising’s evolving relationship with the Internet, debunks arguments that the consumer is king in the new media environment and says advertisers are segregating people and customizing content on the basis of assigned reputations. The practices persist despite the fact that 79 percent of respondents in a 2005 survey said they are nervous about websites having information about them.

An eye-opener that will startle readers, the book offers grist for policy makers and others battling to preserve a shred of privacy in America.

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-300-16501-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 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 PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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