A vital guide for teachers, nonprofits, and others seeking to understand the global fight against slavery.

SLAVES AMONG US

THE HIDDEN WORLD OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING

A brief, clear introduction to the tragedy of human trafficking in the 21st century.

A 10th-generation Parisian who lives in London, Villa brings a welcome global perspective to her overview of present-day slavery and how readers can fight it. She has served for more than a decade as CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, which promotes human rights, and she draws heavily on that experience as she describes the brutal fates of the estimated 40 million people worldwide who are “forced to work, through fraud or threat of violence, for no pay beyond subsistence.” Roughly 30 percent of the victims are trafficked for sex while 70 percent are trapped in involuntary labor. She includes oral histories of three survivors, two of whom suggest the range of forms modern slavery takes: Deependra Giri, an educated Nepalese man who signed a two-year contract for an office job in Qatar only to have to surrender his passport when he arrived, which meant he couldn’t leave when his employer paid a fraction of the agreed-upon salary; and Marcela Loaiza, a dancer in Colombia lured to Tokyo by a con man who promised to make her famous but whose associates demanded, once she got to Japan, that she pay them $50,000 by working as a prostitute and threatened harm to her family if she didn’t comply. Some of the crimes Villa describes, like sex trafficking, have garnered wide attention, but other shadowy practices are less well known. These include the Kafala, or sponsorship, system in place in the Persian Gulf region, which allows employers to confiscate migrant workers’ passports and deny them exit permits until the company says they can leave. In the most useful parts of the book, Villa instructs readers on what they can do to support anti-slavery efforts, including donating to groups like the Human Trafficking Legal Center, which provides free lawyers for victims. Villa’s use of real names and photos of survivors lends credibility to stories that might otherwise be too shocking to believe.

A vital guide for teachers, nonprofits, and others seeking to understand the global fight against slavery.

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5381-2728-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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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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