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review 2017-05-07 14:05
Really boring.
Black Lotus: A Woman’s Search for Racial... Black Lotus: A Woman’s Search for Racial Identity - Sil Lai Abrams

This sounded like an intriguing memoir. A young, mixed-race woman grows up thinking she is half Chinese and half white. It's not the best of childhoods, with her mother abandoning the family, leaving her father (who has his own issues) having to raise Adams and her siblings alone. Adams finds out that her dad is not actually her biological father, but rather she is the product of an affair her mother had with a black man. The book deals with Adams dealing with her childhood, these revelations, the struggles of adulthood and coming to terms with this information.

 

At least, that's what the book is supposed to be about. Honestly, I was really bored. The story is quite compelling but the author's writing style just wasn't for me. As an outsider I wanted to understand her struggle but I never really felt like I could connect with the author in any way. Another review describes her (and I believe within the text itself) as a "rebel without a cause" and I just couldn't feel much sympathy for her. It's clear she managed to become successful and find a way out of her childhood when many others couldn't or wouldn't have.

 

But it just didn't click with me. I'm glad she found happiness though.

 

I would skip this one. I remember now that I actually considered reading it when it was first released but for some reason decided not to add the book to my reading list. Now I can't quite remember what it was that made me not want to read it (nothing specific clicked when reading the book or looking at some of the older reviews) but my instincts were right.

 

Library if you're really interested.  

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review 2017-03-03 01:47
The Delusion of Inclusion
The Delusion of Inclusion - Brian W. Smith

Title: The Delusion of Inclusion
Author: Brian W. Smith
Publisher: B.W.S.
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Five
Review:

"The Delusion of Inclusion" by Brian W. Smith

My Viewpoint....

What a interesting story that only this author can give to his readers! I will say by the end of this story I was in tears in how this author presented this novel so well to the reader. This was definitely a excellent read that dealt so well with today's 'prejudices and racial profiling' as we can see that racism still exist in our African American and Caucasian world. The characters [from Wood, Ryan, C- When & Paige] to name a few were all over the top. They were very well developed, portrayed and even humorous as times giving the reader one intriguing, thought provoking as well as a very emotional read that will give you a lots to think about long after the read.

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review 2017-02-18 22:14
Class
Class - Lucinda Rosenfeld
ISBN: 9780316265416
Publisher: Little Brown & Co. 
Publication Date: 1/10/2017 
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 4 Stars

 

Lucinda Rosenfeld's CLASS features New York, Karen Kipple as she struggles to balance the demands of motherhood and career, always convinced that she was shortchanging one or the other.

Married for ten years and for the last five Karen had been the director of development for a small non-profit devoted to tackling childhood hunger in the US. For the past two years, she had been trying to write an oped which she hoped one day to publish in a major newspaper, about the relationship between nutrition and school readiness.

Matt, her husband is also a career activist in the nonprofit sector and she is always worried about Ruby, her eight-year-old daughter’s education. She encourages her former lawyer husband to quit his job and work with low-income people to assist their housing needs.

Karen had enrolled her daughter at Betts, aware that it lacked the reputation for academic excellence of other schools nearby, but Ruby would be exposed to children who were less privileged than herself. Even though the white population of the school hovered around 25%. Being in the minority in what she had chosen. However, was he sacrificing her education? Diversity or inferior education?

She had always aspired to a life of making a difference and helping those less fortunate than herself. She tried to live in accordance with the politics and principals, which of course included the notion that public education was a force for good and that without racially and economically integrated school, an equal opportunity couldn’t exist.

Ruby was smart and a voracious reading and life should be good. Karen, an advocate for non-food additives and chemicals as well as diversity. She has a nice condo, hubby, and daughter, Karen’s life seemed to be good in New York; however, she is unhappy.

“Karen’s complex and contradictory relationship to eating had also grown more in the last few years, along with weight, teeth, and marriage—somehow become a dividing line between the social classes with the Earth Day — esque ideals of the 1960s having acquired snob appeal, and the well-off and well-educated increasingly buying “natural” and “fresh” and casting aspersions on those who didn’t.”

Then when a classmate of Ruby’s transfers out of Betts to a more privileged school of white students, all of Karen’s earlier thoughts and commitments, quickly vanished. Her husband wants a divorce because she enrolled Ruby in a new school without telling him.

Following the lead, she moves Ruby and then begins an affair with a rich guy, Clay, among other things. More lies. Her emotions are all over the board. Karen is torn between social classes, seeing the poor living in shelters and the rich and their superficial ways. Hypocrisy. Guilt.

She was capable of paying hundreds of dollars for an espresso machine from Italy, Karen had a deeply ingrained cheap streak as well, which caused her to do things like go to the library and photocopy the crossword puzzle from the Sunday paper rather than pay for a subscription.

Rosenfeld kicks butt and puts it all out there. With keen insights, raw honesty, a brutal portrayal ---the truth of our unequal society in urban America. With humor and highly-charged topics, the author hits the bull's eye, with CLASS.

I especially enjoyed the wide range of topics from privilege, class, identity, entitlement, education, politics, domestic, marriage, social economics, philanthropy—to ethical dilemmas, the author does not miss a beat in this delightful satire.

A tale of one woman’s struggle between the madness of liberal and reality. The lesson liberals need to learn is that despite their arrogance, they do not have the power to alter reality. From liberals to progressive—is equality among human race the exception, and inequality the norm?

Much to like here whether you are a modern-day urban parent, grandparent, or single. Smart, witty, engaging, absorbing, and thought-provoking! The hardcover was stunning with a perfect fitting cover. An ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions.

A special thank you to Little Brown & Co., Goodreads Giveaway, and NetGalley for a complimentary reading copy, in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/12/01/Class
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review 2017-02-18 13:48
Not quite what the title says it is but still has important information.
Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons, and the Racial Divide - Joy-Ann Reid

The Obama/Clinton story had been a rivalry for the ages after the 2008 election. After a brutal primary where people liked both but ended up with hard feelings after a long slog there were a ton of questions. Were these two going to be able to work together? Hillary Clinton had been widely considered as the frontrunner and almost certain nominee. How would the Democrats meld this together and win?

 

The story was one for the ages and we saw President Obama campaign for Clinton in the 2016 election. But how did they get here? How did the Democratic Party get here? And where does it go from here?

 

These are the questions that pop up in this book. It traces the modern (I guess?) Democratic Party with Lyndon B. Johnson undertaking some of the Presidential duties for the first time after the JFK assassination. From there Reid follows the path of the party and into Clinton's announcement that she would be running for the nomination a second time in 2015.

 

Overall the information was interesting but I had been under the impression the book would focus on Obama/Clinton rather than the history that got us here. And while it's an important read, I thought it was quite boring. Reid is a journalist and that, unfortunately, probably played into my dislike. I enjoy following her on Twitter and occasionally watch her show but the text wasn't very readable to me. It was very interesting to read about the path the Democratic Party took after the death of JFK through the lens of issues including racism, civil rights, voting rights, and the campaign/eventual election of the first black POTUS but it was tough.

 

That said: it's important information. A lot of people could stand to read the change and evolution of the Democratic Party (and the Republican Party as well but that's not Reid's focus here) on BOTH sides of the aisle, regardless of where they sit on the political spectrum. As other reviews note it's definitely not a book for newbies or people who are not political junkies. The first 'Game Change' book might be a good compliment to give you a more general background of the election as a whole or if you need a refresher on the events.

 

Recommend the library if you're interested.

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review 2016-11-19 18:40
If ever there was a perfect time to read this book, it would be now.
White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide - Carol Anderson

I thought this would be a good book to read after the election and it still is. But unfortunately the events that have occurred since then probably spins this a little differently.

 

The book is an overview of the journey and barriers African Americans have taken ever since the end of the Civil War and its reconstruction. Topics ranging from citizenship to the Great Migration to voting rights to civil rights to police brutality are all touched upon here. The book is engaging, although for my tastes it reminded me once again why I never cared to go into law with examinations of Supreme Court cases and legislation. This is a minor point and my own personal preference though.

 

Again, it wouldn't be surprising if this were information you were only vaguely aware of and/or never learned in school. It may present information that makes you uncomfortable. But it is informative. And it should probably be read in conjunction with other books as supplements. For as good of an overview this is, it's a slim book and can't cover everything in detail.

 

The book also reminds me that progress is very much a winding road filled with potholes and road blocks and rough terrain that needs repaving and sometimes you go through many detours or make a ton of U-turns. Which is not to be glib about the process since this often this ends in violence or death but all the same it's a reminder that paths like this are never easy ones.

 

Go into the book with an open mind. Despite the title (which, in retrospect I think is a bit provocative and I'm not sure quite adequately captures her thesis although I understand where she's coming from) it's an informative text that is extremely fitting for the moment.

 

Other books that I'd recommend as compliments to this one include Michelle Alexander's 'The New Jim Crow', Ari Berman's 'Give Us the Ballot', Isabel Wilkerson's 'The Warmth of Other Suns' and Ian Haney López's 'Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism & Wrecked the Middle Class'. Other, post-2016 election book lists would also probably be a good place to look ('White Rage' has appeared on few I've seen) too.

 

I borrowed this from the library but for the right person it would probably be a good book to keep on the bookshelf and it wouldn't surprise me if it shows up on college syllabi either, although it is not "textbook" in tone or writing style.

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