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NO MORE POLICE

A CASE FOR ABOLITION

A brilliantly articulated plan to abolish the police.

Two seasoned activists make a convincing case for defunding the police.

As Kaba and Ritchie note, defunding “means investing the billions currently poured into policing and the prison-industrial complex into community-based safety strategies: meeting basic needs that include housing, health care, access to care for disabled people, childcare, elder care, a basic guaranteed income, and accessible, sustainable living-wage jobs.” The authors use three main arguments. First, they show how policing endangers, rather than protects, America’s most vulnerable communities. Second, they claim that calls for reforming the police—rather than abolition—are futile because the inherent violence of policing makes it impossible to reform. Finally, they argue that there are more effective ways to promote safety. “We call for abolition of police because, despite all of the power, resources and legitimacy we pour into them, they cannot and will not deliver safety,” they write. Kaba and Ritchie begin by showing how police manufacture crimes by focusing on making most of their arrests in certain “hot spots”—which, they argue, is code for brown and Black neighborhoods—while ignoring others. This perpetuates a culture of “fearmongering” that politicians use to divert funds to police and away from social services programs that have been proven to prevent violence. The authors urge a shift to an “abundance mindset,” in which the government stops using resources to punish marginalized populations and instead uses them to meet every American’s needs. Furthermore, they urge us to listen to survivors, who often encounter violence in the very systems that are allegedly set up to protect them. Kaba and Ritchie are knowledgeable, passionate, and skilled at elucidating complex concepts clearly, without sacrificing nuance. The book is deeply researched and flawlessly argued, and the plan they lay out is practical, compassionate, and circumspect.

A brilliantly articulated plan to abolish the police.

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-62097-732-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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WHAT THIS COMEDIAN SAID WILL SHOCK YOU

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

The comedian argues that the arts of moderation and common sense must be reinvigorated.

Some people are born snarky, some become snarky, and some have snarkiness thrust upon them. Judging from this book, Maher—host of HBO’s Real Time program and author of The New New Rules and When You Ride Alone, You Ride With bin Laden—is all three. As a comedian, he has a great deal of leeway to make fun of people in politics, and he often delivers hilarious swipes with a deadpan face. The author describes himself as a traditional liberal, with a disdain for Republicans (especially the MAGA variety) and a belief in free speech and personal freedom. He claims that he has stayed much the same for more than 20 years, while the left, he argues, has marched toward intolerance. He sees an addiction to extremism on both sides of the aisle, which fosters the belief that anyone who disagrees with you must be an enemy to be destroyed. However, Maher has always displayed his own streaks of extremism, and his scorched-earth takedowns eventually become problematic. The author has something nasty to say about everyone, it seems, and the sarcastic tone starts after more than 300 pages. As has been the case throughout his career, Maher is best taken in small doses. The book is worth reading for the author’s often spot-on skewering of inept politicians and celebrities, but it might be advisable to occasionally dip into it rather than read the whole thing in one sitting. Some parts of the text are hilarious, but others are merely insulting. Maher is undeniably talented, but some restraint would have produced a better book.

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9781668051351

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

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Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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