Reading on Race

Posted Nov 10, 2017

Whether you are preparing for our upcoming community discussion on race featuring the article "Charlottesville and the Bigotocracy" by Michael Eric Dyson (more info here) or just want to increase your knowledge on the issue of race and racism in the U.S., here are a few new books we recommend.

On Race: 34 Conversations in a Time of Crisis by George Yancy

Yancy brings together thoughtful and thought-provoking conversations with a variety of thinkers on race today. Examining race through the lens of philosophical inquiry, and driven by curiosity, this book is a natural conversation starter itself. Use it to spur self-dialogue and to share with others.

Silencer by Marcus Wicker

Poet Marcus Wicker, winner of the National Poetry Series award for his first collection, examines race and discrimination through the lens of middle-class and suburban America. Rhythmic, lyrical poems abound with insight and scrutiny of himself, class, race, politics and America. Balance deep reading of non-fiction on race and racism with an examination of these ideas through art - a medium inherently political and personal.

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Between the World and Me author Ta-Nehisi Coates returns with a collection of essays coalescing around the eight years of Barack Obama's historic presidency. Coates examines not only President Obama's role and legacy, but the other movements and ideas that burgeoned during his era - many of which served to highlight just how far-reaching and deeply embedded America's racist history is. Includes several previously published essays, and new ones as well. Another not-to-be-missed book from one of today's most significant voices. This book will be the featured reading material of a new conversation series on race the library is starting this winter. Click here for more information.

Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson

In this book, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, a Georgetown University professor and contributor to the NY Times, argues that in order to make racial progress, white people must face the true history of discrimination of African Americans in the U.S. The book is organized around the idea of a sermon, beginning with a call to worship, and ending with a closing prayer (Dyson is also an ordained minister), and draws on the rhetorical traditions of the pulpit, delivering an impassioned argument for real racial progress through confronting the pain and suffering caused by the myth of white supremacy. Dyson's plea to white America to begin righting its wrongs is from the heart and, supported by fact and history and truth, the head, too.

Get started with Dr. Dyson's writing with his article "Charlottesville and the Bigotocracy" then come discuss it with Martha Barry of the YWCA - Southeast Wisconsin on Tuesday. November 21 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. We are thrilled to be collaborating with the YWCA, with support from the Shorewood Foundation, on this program. Dr. Dyson will be the keynote speaker at the YWCA's Evening to Promote Racial Justice on December 6. More information can be found on their website.


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