GATHERING STORM

AMERICA'S MILITIA THREAT

Dees, chief trial counsel of the Southern Poverty Law Center, covers much of the same territory as Kenneth Stern (The Force Upon the Plain, 1995) in uncovering the danger of America's extreme right, but he does it with greater passion, considerable narrative drama, and deeply scary inside reports from SPLC moles. Dees's (A Season for Justice, 1991) main thesis is that what were previously scattered, ideologically divided groups of right- wing extremists have now become a unified force bent on using violence to bring about white supremacist rule in the US. The dominant ideology is Christian Identity, a ``theology of hate'' whose followers are preparing for an Armageddon to overthrow the Zionist-occupied government (or ZOG). What Dees finds particularly alarming is the combustible union of hate groups, such as the Klan, with the rapidly growing (311 as of this year) and well-armed militia movements. Like Stern, Dees reviews such key events as the shoot-out at Ruby Ridge and the conflagration in Waco, and charts the growing hatred of the government that emerged in the aftermath of these events. ``It is that virulent hatred . . . that is driving the militia movement, while at the same time masking its insidious racist underpinnings,'' he declares. Interestingly, he suggests that Timothy McVeigh might have been part of a small cell in the movement's decentralized ``leaderless resistance'' network. The most revealing information comes from the spies of SPLC's Militia Task Force; this group penetrated the October 1992 conference in Estes Park, Colo., that helped unify the forces of the far right, and drawing on transcripts from the meetings, Dees offers extracts of the virulent demagoguery that was spewed there. (In a timely bit of reporting, he notes that Larry Pratt, recently forced to resign as co-chair of Pat Buchanan's presidential campaign, was present at this conference.) A convincing brief for the argument that the extreme right poses a serious, ongoing danger in this country. ($50,000 ad/promo; author tour; radio satellite tour)

Pub Date: April 19, 1996

ISBN: 0-06-017403-X

Page Count: 288

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1996

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more