Tag Archives: Racism

How to Be an Antiracist Book Review

Intrisincingly, we know that racism is wrong. But after 400 years, how do we break with ideas and stereotypes that are built into our world and our perception?

How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi was published in 2019.

Antiracism is defined as follows:

A person who opposes racism and promotes racial tolerance.

In this best-selling, life-altering book, Kendi speaks the cold and hard truth about racism, its effect on society, and what we can do to overcome it. He is unafraid to challenge his readers to look at their own racist views (even if they claim otherwise) and force us to face reality. Backing up the narrative is his own story, historical facts, law, science, etc, he is telling us what we need to do to create a better world. But in order to do that, we must first be willing and able to confront our own sins.

This has to be one of the foremost important books of our era. Though in many ways, our culture is moving forward, we are still besieged by old ideas of what a person should be based on factors such as skin color, family background, gender, etc. The test before us is as follows: Are we bold enough to tear down the impressions from the past or will we remain frozen in place, too scared to do what needs to be done?

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

How to Be an Antiracist is available wherever books are sold.

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I Stand With Moses Ingram

The world of Star Wars stands for everything that racism and hate are against. Diversity, inclusion, respect, democracy, etc are ingrained into this world. That does not mean, however, that everyone in the fandom is immune from the hate and racism in the outside world.

Earlier this week, Obi-Wan Kenobi star Moses Ingram spoke out about the racist messages she has been receiving via social media from a small group of fans who are unhappy with her character’s place in the universe.

Ingram is unfortunately not the first SW actor of color to have this experience. Both John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran were also verbally attacked by online trolls. They could not fathom that there are more non-Caucasian characters than Lando Calrissian.

Thankfully, both the upper echelons at Disney and her colleagues have spoken up. Ewan McGregor, as both the lead actor and executive producer of the series, released a video in support of his co-star.

As a performer, Ingram is completely new to me. But in the three episodes that have been released so far, I have become a fan. Her performance is brilliant and I cannot wait to see where she will go in future episodes.

The haters can suck it for all I care. I stand with Moses Ingram.

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His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice Book Review

Change can happen in a number of ways. One of the ways is a single moment that catalyzes a movement and forces change.

That moment was the murder of George Floyd two years ago. It forced all of us to open our eyes to the structural racism that has plagued this nation and limited African-Americans for centuries. His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice, by Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa, was published earlier this month. The book not only traces Floyd’s life, it tells the story of how structural racism affected his family going back generations.

We get to know the man behind the image. He was a sweet, intelligent person who loved his family and had ambitions beyond what was expected of him. Had Floyd (whose family knew him as Perry) not been limited simply because of his skin color, Floyd might have done great things with his life. But, as we all know, his life was cut short in a tragic and horrific manner.

I think this book is a necessary read for all of us. It is a condemnation of all of us who were previously unable or unwilling to take off our blinders. It is a reminder that hate kills. There is no going back and undoing what has been done. We can only move forward and do everything we can to prevent it from happening again.

Do I recommend it? Without a doubt. I would not be surprised if it was not only on the bestseller list for a long time to come, but also on many “best-of” lists by the end of the year.

His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice is available wherever books are sold.

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Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality Book Review

No social movement that aims to create a better world is without its internal struggle. While the men are at the forefront, it is often the women who do the work. But few are given the spotlight and the respect they deserve.

The late Constance Baker Motley was one of these women. Her story is told in the new biography Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality. Written by Tomiko Brown-Nagin, it was published in January. Born to immigrants from the Caribbean in 1921, she came of age in an era in which both her gender and her skin color created barriers. Instead of just submitting to these barriers, she broke them. After graduating from law school, she was the only female on staff working for the legal team of the NAACP under the leadership of the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Balancing work, marriage, and motherhood, Baker Motley smashed both Jim Crow to bits and created a large crack in the glass ceiling. Her career contained a lot of the firsts: the first African-American woman who was a state Senator in NY and the federal judiciary, and the first woman elected as Manhattan Borough President.

As a product of the American education system, I am utterly dismayed that she is not a household name. She was not just a groundbreaker, but a rule breaker. These days, it is perfectly normal for a woman to have the figurative balls of her job, her marriage, and her children in the air at the same time. But not back then. In fighting for the rights of both women and Black Americans, she paved the way for equality that has become the norm and unfortunately, still has to be fought for.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality is available wherever books are sold.

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Florida Republican Fuckery: Banning Math Books and Cutting Tax Ties With Disney

As I see it, the only way for the government to function is for those in power to at least, be able to listen to someone else, whether it is another politician who has different beliefs or a business owner.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis appears to feel otherwise. In addition to his Don’t Say Gay law, his state is upping the ante on book banning within schools. Following on the heels of the so-called “CRT (aka Critical Race Theory)” bullshit, 54 math books have been rejected because some claim that CRT is included in the material.

First of all, CRT has nothing to do with math. It has everything to do with the denial of the truth of American history and the fact that racism, in all forms (especially against people of color) is still alive and well in this country. Second, this concept is not even taught in the K-12 classroom. It is only taught at the university level or higher. That means that the student is not exposed to it until they are at least 17.

Third of all, math, in all of its forms, is one of the core concepts of learning. It starts when we are very young and being taught to count by our parents. Even if we choose a career that has nothing to do with numbers, it has everything to do with our daily lives. Whether it’s maintaining a budget or calculating miles, it is absolutely essential. In going down this path, DeSantis and his ilk are limiting the education of his state’s children and their future opportunities.

While this has been happening, he has been tangling with Disney in regards to their response to the Don’t Say Gay legislation. As of yesterday, the company has been stripped of its tax status and independence that has been in existence since the late 1960s. For decades, Disney has had tax breaks and has paid its own way in regard to municipal services such as law enforcement, the fire department, etc. This means that the funds will come from the taxpayer. Nothing gets politicians out of office and voters to the voting booth faster than a tax hike. If he wants another 4 years in office, I would re-think his decision.

I don’t agree with everything that the company puts out, nor am I an economist. While we have to recognize that Disney did not do anything until its employees walked off the job, I admire that they are standing their ground. Given its popularity and the number of IPs that it owns, I don’t think that this is a wise decision. If I were to make a guess, I would say that the tax dollars that come in from the park’s visitors add a pretty penny to state coffers.

When one takes political office, they are serving all of their constituents, not just the ones who agree with them. It would behoove Governor DeSantis and other Republicans to remember this. I guess the only way they will learn this lesson is when we boot them all out of office come November (hopefully).

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Ladies Get Paid: The Ultimate Guide to Breaking Barriers, Owning Your Worth, and Taking Command of Your Career Book Review

It’s not exactly a secret that women, especially women of color earn less than men. Instead of speaking up and asking for what we deserve, we often accept less to be seen as a good employee.

Ladies Get Paid: The Ultimate Guide to Breaking Barriers, Owning Your Worth, and Taking Command of Your Career, by Claire Wasserman, was published earlier this year. Wasserman, the founder of Ladies Get Paid, encourages her readers to see their career worth and not be afraid to stand up for themselves. Citing stories of subjects who have followed her advice, she speaks of subjects such as asking for a raise/promotion, dealing with office politics, and feeling like you are not enough.

I loved this book. Wasserman writes in such a way that even the timidest of readers would find the courage to speak up for themselves. What got me was the stories of the women she profiled. Even though the details are different, the narrative arc is the same. I also very much appreciate the big point she makes is that employers continue to pay those of us with darker skin less than our lighter-skinned sisters.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Ladies Get Paid: The Ultimate Guide to Breaking Barriers, Owning Your Worth, and Taking Command of Your Career is available wherever books are sold.

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Two Giant Steps Forward and One Step Back: Ketanji Brown Jackson and the Ten Year Anniversary of the Homicide of Trayvon Martin

One of the most potent and universal quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. is as follows:

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

Last Saturday, February 26th, was the ten-year anniversary of the murder of Trayvon Martin. Had his killer (who shall not be named on the blog) not decided to take the law into his own hands, young Mr. Martin would be 27. He might have graduated from high school and college, started a successful career, and perhaps said “I do” by now. But he will forever remain 17, a promising life full of possibilities that we can speak of in a hypothetical manner.

Though we cannot bring Travyon back to life or undo the acquittal of the man who was responsible for his killing, we can see look to our present and see where progress has been made. The men responsible for the executions of both George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery were found guilty of their respective crimes.

During the 2022 Presidential election, President Biden promised to nominate an African-American woman to the Supreme Court. On February 25th, he kept his promise. After Justice Stephen Breyer announced his upcoming retirement, Ketanji Brown Jackson was introduced to the country as his replacement.

This is one GIANT step forward. As both a woman and a person of color, Brown Jackson, represents the true nature and the potential of this nation. With March being Women’s History Month and this coming Tuesday being International Women’s Day, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our wins and identify where there is more work to be done.

Of course, not everyone welcomed her with open arms. Her legal abilities and history were questioned by some Republicans (no surprise there). The obvious inquiry is if Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh had to face the same criticism. Probably not. My hope and prayer is that not only will she sit on the highest court of the land, but also that she will help to create the America that we know is possible.

May the memory of Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, etc, be a blessing and a reminder of how far we need to go.

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The Super Bowl Halftime Show Was Amazing, But it Cannot Hide the NFL’s Racism Problem

Like many people, I watched last week’s Super Bowl for the Halftime Show. I’m not a fan of either team and to be perfectly frank, I don’t understand football.

From a personal perspective, I loved it. The artists who performed are ones that I grew up with. It was a lovely throwback to what I remember to be a simpler time. My only complaint is that Mary J. Blige was the only female headliner. But other than that, I was thoroughly entertained.

Charlie Kirk, however, was not entertained. He referred to the show “sexual anarchy”. He has yet to see his 30th birthday. I would have anticipated this kind of opinion coming from someone much older, not from a guy who only graduated from college a few years ago. But I expect nothing less from people who think like him.

As excellent as the performance was, it cannot hide the accusation of racism that exists within the NFL. The lawsuit against the league by Brian Flores, claiming sham interviews for several coaching positions based on skin color, speaks volumes. When most if not all of the workforce are people of color and upper management, are either close to or 100% Caucasian, that speaks volumes.

Games like the Super Bowl are supposed to bring us together. It is one of the few uniting forces in our otherwise divided nation. I just wish that the cracks were not revealed along the way.

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It Could Happen Here: Why America Is Tipping from Hate to the Unthinkable – And How We Can Stop It Book Review

For more than 200 years, Americans have taken comfort in that our democratic nation was solid. Our beliefs and freedoms would be with us forever. Until recently, I think most of us had this perspective. The last few years have proven that in reality, we are on extremely shaky ground.

It Could Happen Here: Why America Is Tipping from Hate to the Unthinkable – And How We Can Stop It, by ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, was published earlier this month. The grandson of a Holocaust survivor, he knows all too well what happens when hate consumes a nation. In the book, he calls out antisemitism, racism, and hatred of all kinds. His warning is loud and clear for anyone who is willing to listen: we are at a tipping point. Unless we do something when there is still time, this country that we know and love will be nothing but a shell of its former self.

Greenblatt could have offered platitudes or pie in the sky ideas. Instead, he offers real-world ideas that are applicable to anyone who has felt ostracized because of who they are. This is a book that we should all be reading and applying to our everyday lives. It is possible to undo the damage. We just need the courage, the backbone, and the balls to do what needs to be done.

Do I recommend it?

Absolutely.

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Justice Served: Ahmaud Arbery’s Killers Found Guilty

Martin Luther King Jr. once said the following about justice:

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”

Yesterday, America made a giant step forward in reaching the ideals set up by her founders. The men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery were found guilty. I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel like I can breathe again. If the jury had gone in the other direction, I can only imagine what the response would have been like.

While we cannot undo what has happened, we can do the right thing going forward. The message is clear: acts of hate will not be tolerated. Those who perpetrate such actions will be caught and have their day in court.

Rest in power, Ahmaud. You will never be forgotten.

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