Posts Tagged ‘racism’

29. “Those Who Walk in Darkness,” John Ridley

May 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Page count: 310
Page total: 7,273


27. “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” Rebecca Skloot

May 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Another excellent book. While I was initially disappointed to discover that this book was more about the Lacks family and how their lives have been affected by Henrietta’s cells having been stolen than about the science related to those cells, Skloot gives her subject such excellent treatment that it becomes utterly engrossing.

I was number eighty- or ninety-something on my library’s waitlist; it took about three months for me to get it. It was worth the wait!

Page count: 338
Page total: 6,756

1. “Seeing a Color-Blind Future: The Paradox of Race,” Patricia Williams

November 11, 2009 1 comment

I read this book for my Gender and Cultural Studies seminar. It’s very short, but pretty good. One of the things I liked about it is that it is one of relatively few materials we read that’s by a woman, and one of only two by a woman of color (the other was Chakravorty Spivak).

This book is a collection of speeches that constitute Williams’ lecture in the BBC Reith lecture series.

Page count: 74
Page total: 74

59. “How to Rent a Negro,” damali ayo

September 14, 2009 Leave a comment

Interesting read. I’ve definitely seen many of these practices, and I’m sure I’ve participated in a few rentals myself.

damali ayo gave a presentation at my school once. She was very funny, but she promised to kick our asses and mine was left unkicked. I like “diversity lectures” that don’t pull punches.

By the way, when I was talking to her after the event, she made sure to mention that several of her models for her new organic, sliding-scale clothing line were gender queer. I was about a year into my transition at that time and things were rocky. I wish I asked to touch her hair after that because dang I reduced to my body, the Other.

I brought her guide of things you can do to end racism home and put a copy in my bathroom, which had a chair in it for some reason, so there was apparently a lot of thinking happening in there. One of my roommates come out all outraged, holding the guide and asking why people were always concerned about making black people equal and why wasn’t anyone worried about how people of Swedish decent, like him, faced prejudice.

And then I put my righteous anger where it belonged.

Page count: 191
Page total: 23,620

53. “The Color Purple,” Alice Walker

August 16, 2009 2 comments


Page count: 295
Page total: 22,512

50. “One Day, When I was Lost,” James Baldwin

August 7, 2009 Leave a comment

The subtitle is “A Scenario Based on Alex Haley’s ‘The Autobiography of Malcolm X.”

First, I have not been doing much reading lately.

Second, this was really good. At 268 pages and screenplay format, it is less of a commitment than is Malcolm X’s autobiography, but it made me want to read it. I’m white. I grew up in a white suburb. No one ever tried to teach me about Malcolm X and all I ever heard was that he thought it was okay to kill white people. As I got older, I heard that that wasn’t true, but this play does an eloquent job of explaining who X was and what he believed. Baldwin’s writing is immensely readable. I’m now much more interested in reading “Malcolm X”– I hope Haley is as evocative.

Luther, reflecting on witnessing his brother being lynched when he was a boy:

then I knew– that G-d had turned away from these people forever. They were trying to kill G-d because G-d was black and they knew it. (143)

One of the ministers is unjustly arrested and Malcolm gathers a crowd of ministers and temple members goes to get him out. After a long time, the police acquiesce:

(WHITE) POLICE CHIEF: I just don’t want to see any more bloodshed. Bloodshed never solved anything.
MALCOLM: It did, for you, just as long as the blood was ours. (Addressing the crowd) Brothers, sister, I want to thank you for your patience, for that patience has helped us to save a life. W have seen the brother (who was imprisoned) and we have spoken to the doctors. The brother is much better than before– before your presence forced the white devils to give him decent care. Everything that can be done is beong done, and we feel satisfied that we can end out vigil tonight and go home and get some rest for the many vigils that are coming. There will be many. I want every man, woman, and child here tonight to remember that if you hadn’t been here, our brother might be dead. But, as long as we keep doing like we did tonight, out brothers and sisters will live. (178)

Malcolm speaking at the University of Ghana:

I’m not anti-American, and I didn’t come here to condemn America– I want to make that very clear! I came here to tell the truth– and if the truth condemns America, then she stands condemned! (240)

Page count: 268
Page total: 21,704

48. Generation on Fire: Voices of Protest from the 1960s: An Oral History, Jeff Kisseloff

July 22, 2009 2 comments

Very interesting read. This is more appropriately titled something like “Generation on Fire: Jewish Voices of Protest from the 1960s,” as at least ten out of fifteen people profiled are Jewish. For that matter, “Generation on Fire: White and Jewish Voices of Protest from the 1960s,” would fit, as only two (!) of the people he profiles are people of color. This was an excellent and interesting book, if only for bringing into light the sheer amount of shit people had to live through when fighting for civil rights (one interview subject recounts a man’s attempt to scoop his eye out of his sockets during a protest), but the demographics Kisseloff chose to focus on began to bother me somewhat as the book went on. It’s totally cool for him to focus on people who inspired him when he was growing up, and it makes sense that many of those people would be Jewish like himself, but it seems wrong to do an oral history of protest during the 1960s and feature only two people of color.

Likewise, Kisseloff’s treatment of the women who shaped an era is pretty iffy. In the introduction, women are clearly an afterthought: “by the time I interviewed them, you’d never know that many of them had been real tough guys (or women).” I’m pretty dubious of his choice to end one of three interviews with a woman by focusing on her role as a grandmother, rather than reformer. This isn’t because there is anything wrong or counter-revolutionary about being a mother, but the sort of neatness. Another woman’s interview ends with the following reflection:

There isn’t equal pay for equal work, but it’s a hell of a lot better than it used to be. We still don’t have guaranteed child care, but people are conscious of it. There’s still inequality in terms of wealth, but there’s a larger sense of self-worth and self-respect in terms of what we can be. It’s a totally changed world. 182

Which, I’m sorry, is just depressing as shit.

Nonetheless, it was an interesting read and now I’m searching my library databases for more oral histories.

Page count: 269
Page total: 21,151

EDIT: Jeff Kisseloff was kind enough to comment here and inform me that my numbers were off– only six out of the fifteen people he profiled are Jewish, so my suggested title amendment is of course (even more) unnecessary. See the comments for his thoughts.