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ANTI-RACIST ALLY

AN INTRODUCTION TO ACTIVISM AND ACTION

Essential reading for our times, with the goal of true human equality.

“Not being racist is not enough.” The founder of @officialmillennialblack on Instagram delivers a simple guide for those “who wish to join the fight against racism.”

Early on, Williams, an experienced social justice activist, describes her process: “I began writing this book in the wake of the series of tragic murders that shocked the world in 2020 and galvanized many who had never considered their role in anti-racism to take action in their own lives.” In this “deliberately small book,” Williams aims to assist those who want to become more active by outlining how to be an effective anti-racist ally. The author lays out a series of focus areas for would-be allies, all of which are meant to “challenge the things we’ve been taught based on white supremacy, and to seek better and fairer ways moving forward.” Williams begins with definitions and first steps, including “Becoming an Anti-Racist Ally” or “What Does Racism Look Like Now?” She addresses common questions and concerns about terminology, misconceptions, and intersectionality. After the introductory concepts, the author moves on to proactive elements—e.g. how to be an ally in your social circle, workplace, and community. Throughout, she uses a conversational tone to explain the reasons behind each of her suggestions, such as examining the diversity of the communities you are a part of, and then suggests simple ways in which to talk with the leadership of those groups about the vitality of anti-racism. Williams is clear that the “allyship journey” is rarely easy or quick, which makes it that much more important to implement sturdy support structures, make space for messy feelings, and celebrate small victories. Williams also provides two helpful lists for further reading, one for adults (White Fragility, Between the World and Me, How To Be an Antiracist) and one for younger readers.

Essential reading for our times, with the goal of true human equality. (Includes Further Reading list and endnotes)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-308135-2

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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WHAT THIS COMEDIAN SAID WILL SHOCK YOU

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

The comedian argues that the arts of moderation and common sense must be reinvigorated.

Some people are born snarky, some become snarky, and some have snarkiness thrust upon them. Judging from this book, Maher—host of HBO’s Real Time program and author of The New New Rules and When You Ride Alone, You Ride With bin Laden—is all three. As a comedian, he has a great deal of leeway to make fun of people in politics, and he often delivers hilarious swipes with a deadpan face. The author describes himself as a traditional liberal, with a disdain for Republicans (especially the MAGA variety) and a belief in free speech and personal freedom. He claims that he has stayed much the same for more than 20 years, while the left, he argues, has marched toward intolerance. He sees an addiction to extremism on both sides of the aisle, which fosters the belief that anyone who disagrees with you must be an enemy to be destroyed. However, Maher has always displayed his own streaks of extremism, and his scorched-earth takedowns eventually become problematic. The author has something nasty to say about everyone, it seems, and the sarcastic tone starts after more than 300 pages. As has been the case throughout his career, Maher is best taken in small doses. The book is worth reading for the author’s often spot-on skewering of inept politicians and celebrities, but it might be advisable to occasionally dip into it rather than read the whole thing in one sitting. Some parts of the text are hilarious, but others are merely insulting. Maher is undeniably talented, but some restraint would have produced a better book.

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9781668051351

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

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Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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