Empowering words to challenge, confront, and defy.



A highly relevant, inclusive collection of voices from the roots of resistance.

What are some of the precursors for the resistance movements that continue to gain momentum today? Editor Long (Religious Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies, Elizabethtown Coll.; Peaceful Neighbor: Discovering the Countercultural Mister Rogers, 2015, etc.) collects an inspiring group of voices who have actively resisted the status quo, from the earliest dissent among Quakers in the historic petition against intolerance known as “The Flushing Remonstrance” to a March 2018 editorial entitled “We Do Not Want a Wall,” by San Diego immigration attorney Dulce Garcia. Long emphasizes that the collection “aims to document nonviolent protests that have been leftist—socially, politically, and economically—within the context of U.S. history.” Eschewing coverage of rallies by the Ku Klux Klan and those targeting Roe v. Wade, for example, the editor includes protests that promoted the abolition of slavery, the right to “free love and unregulated sex,” the rights of women and those disenfranchised, the conservation of animals, the elimination of police brutality, and so on. While there are documents by a few iconic names, such as Henry David Thoreau, Angela Y. Davis, and Naomi Klein, Long has left out some big names like Martin Luther King Jr. for “practical reasons”—i.e., securing rights to his work is difficult and expensive. Yet the result of showcasing less-well-known voices is added richness, underscoring what legendary activist Dolores Huerta notes is largely the impetus of people from “humble backgrounds” who “shoulder[ed] their way up from the bottom.” Many of the included pieces shine: Abenaki leader Loron Sauguaarum’s 1727 plainspoken document “I Have No King” explaining his honest understanding of a treaty made with the crafty English negotiators; ex-slave narratives such as Underground Railroad stationmaster Jermain Wesley Loguen’s “I Won’t Obey It!”; Margorie Swann’s autobiographical 1959 “Statement on Omaha Action” delineating her pacifist stance; and the 2015 “Eleven Reasons to Close Guantánamo” by Naureen Shah of Amnesty International USA, among many others.

Empowering words to challenge, confront, and defy.

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-87286-756-7

Page Count: 652

Publisher: City Lights

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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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.


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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