Most citizens who are not on the far-right fringes of American politics understand the necessity of encouraging diversity in our social, political, and cultural lives. We must remain committed to making sure historically underrepresented, non-normative voices are brought to the forefront. I would like to recommend two books, both of which received a starred review, that offer unique approaches to this issue.
In Good Talk, novelist Mira Jacob examines parenting, love, and racism through the prism of her multiracial 6-year-old son’s inquiries about racial issues across the U.S. “The result,” noted our reviewer, “is this series of illustrated conversations between [her son] Z and the author, by turns funny, philosophical, cautious, and heartbreaking.” Not only does Jacob insightfully and urgently plumb the many racial and social challenges facing our country today; she delineates her journey in a highly appealing illustrated fashion that is simultaneously accessible and consistently profound. As our reviewer writes, “the memoir works well visually, with striking pen-and-ink drawings of Jacob and her family that are collaged onto vibrant found photographs and illustrated backgrounds….The visual echoes between past and present make this extraordinary memoir about difficult conversations all the more powerful.”
Digging into the psychological implications of racial bias, renowned psychologist Jennifer L. Eberhardt, in her new book, Biased, “breaks down the science behind our prejudices and their influence in nearly all areas of society and culture.” Through a smooth mixture of neurological research, case studies, and personal anecdotes from her own experiences, the author “challenges the idea that addressing bias is merely a personal choice.” For readers who actively work to encourage diversity, Biased will be a cold yet necessary shot in the arm. “Throughout,” writes our reviewer, “Eberhardt makes it clear that diversity is not enough. Only through the hard work of recognizing our biases and controlling them can we ‘free ourselves from the tight grip of history.’ ” Eric Liebetrau is the nonfiction and managing editor.