Barack Obama smashed down one long-closed door in 2008. This book makes a compelling case for another shattering of barriers...

WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO MAKE A WOMAN PRESIDENT?

CONVERSATIONS ABOUT WOMEN, LEADERSHIP, AND POWER

Intriguing interviews exploring the role of women in American political leadership.

“When so many other nations have women presidents, why doesn’t the United States?” Feminist.com founder Schnall (Daring to Be Ourselves: Influential Women Share Insights on Courage, Happiness, and Finding Your Own Voice, 2010) is a sensitive, perceptive interviewer who leads each of the more than two dozen conversations that she transcribes in this book with some variation on its titular question. The answers to this initial query tend to hit on a few unsurprising explanations: systemic sexism, the burdens of raising families that still tend to fall on women, and a lack of willingness of women to step forward and run for political office. The author effectively leads her interlocutors (mostly, but not all, women and mostly, but not all, liberal) through wide-ranging conversations that use the initial question as a springboard to more substantial discussions about women in politics, women’s leadership more broadly and the changing state of American gender relationships. This makes the book worthwhile since the initial question is not especially interesting, or at least not as interesting as the larger context within which women politicians, business leaders and others operate. The book touts that Schnall’s conversations are with “thought leaders,” a label that may be generous to at least a few of them, but she does draw on an impressive array of politicians, business figures, entertainers and others to provide a snapshot of the roles of American women in the corridors of power. Of the many contributors, some of the more well-known include Maya Angelou, Olympia Snowe, Nancy Pelosi, Gloria Steinem, Anita Hill and Nicholas Kristof.

Barack Obama smashed down one long-closed door in 2008. This book makes a compelling case for another shattering of barriers sooner rather than later.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58005-496-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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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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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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