Friday, November 13, 2015

BOOKS AND CONVERSATIONS ABOUT RACE

With so much conversation about race, equality and injustice it is time to take a look at some recent books that offer commentary on those topics. Look to the Monrovia Public Library for some truly thought-provoking titles that will give readers ideas and information for their own conversations.

Ta-Neshisi Coates, born in Baltimore and a writer for Atlantic magazine, addresses his concern about how African Americans are racially profiled and denied certain freedoms in his book Between the World and Me. Written like it is a letter to his 15-year-old son, Coates does not take the typical positive road to say that justice and equality will eventually prevail. Instead he encourages his son to constantly struggle against fear, violence and the status quo. This book challenges many assumptions.

It seems that many people of different political beliefs have come to agree that there are simply too many people of color in jail. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color-Blindness by Michelle Alexander details how imprisonment has become a kind of social control that keeps African Americans from education and employment and from their families and communities.

 The name Jim Crow was originally that of a minstrel performer and came to be known as a phrase meaning racial segregation. Here the author presents an historic analysis of how current day laws continue to segregate.

In Just Mercy: The Story of Justice and Redemption author and lawyer Bryan Stephenson gives readers a memoir of his career fighting for poor Black prisoners, some on death row. Called a real-life Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird, Stephenson shows how inequality of laws and sentences unfairly target and incarcerate. This book is highly readable for many audiences, including teen readers and book group members.




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