A cautionary, timely gay rights manifesto with teeth.

IT'S NOT OVER

GETTING BEYOND TOLERANCE, DEFEATING HOMOPHOBIA, AND WINNING TRUE EQUALITY

The noted outspoken gay journalist and radio host passionately appeals to the gay community to resist complacency in the struggle for equality.

In a thought-provoking call to arms, Signorile (Hitting Hard: Michelangelo Signorile on George W. Bush, Mary Cheney, Gay Marriage, Tom Cruise, the Christian Right and Sexual Hypocrisy in America, 2005, etc.) masterfully combines quotations and interviews from his satellite radio show with historical facts from the ever evolving gay rights movement to reiterate the “disconnect between the way we talk about the strides forward and the reality on the ground.” As revolutionary as the advancements in LGBT equality may appear, much work remains. Anti-gay violence, vicious schoolyard bullying, transphobia, Hollywood “gatekeep[ing],” and widespread discrimination in the name of religion are still occurring at alarming rates. The author surveys an impressive variety of contentious incidents (many already addressed on his radio program) ranging from the controversial, “morally complex” resignation of anti-gay Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich to extreme cases of homophobic bigotry, industry double standards, and hate crimes. Though it’s crystal clear whose side he’s on, Signorile fair-mindedly contrasts his pro-gay stance with contradicting conservative political and religious-leaning perspectives, and he points out the inherent flaws in their dictums. He severely criticizes the Republican Party for enacting widespread legislation based on the doctrine of “religious liberties.” By rebranding their backlash against marriage equality, the author shows how it directly threatens the freedoms of the LGBT community. Furthermore, he writes, this type of manipulative legal and social maneuvering places many other minority populations at risk for legalized discrimination as well. A summary of empowering steps forms a galvanizing takeaway for readers interested in making a difference. Though a tad vainglorious in spots, the thrust of Signorile’s urgent message is cogent and heartfelt, creating an essential reminder to the LGBT community to continue pressing forward toward the ultimate goal of “full civil rights and true equality.”

A cautionary, timely gay rights manifesto with teeth.

Pub Date: April 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-38100-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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