Happy Banned Books Week!
Two of our very own books—Critical Race Theory and The Latino Condition—were banned in Arizona last year following the Tucson Unified School District’s decision to dissolve its Mexican American Studies program.
This week, we’re celebrating the freedom to read by offering 25% off these “forbidden” books on our website. To save, simply enter promo code BANBK at check out. Happy reading!
You will search in vain in the Constitution of the United States … for that word ‘white,’ it is not there … The omission of this word — this phrase of caste — from our national charter, was not accidental, but intentional.
In case you missed it…
September 17 is Constitution Day. Over at our blog, From the Square, we came up with a short list of NYU Press books we think every American citizen should read—or at least keep on their bookshelf.
Brush up on your constitutional knowledge, and check a few of ‘em out!
Why Jury Duty Matters: A Citizen’s Guide to Constitutional Action by Andrew Guthrie Ferguson
Jury duty is constitutional duty—and a core responsibility of citizenship! The first book written for jurors, Why Jury Duty Matters provides readers with an understanding of the constitutional value of jury duty. (Also, be sure to read the author’s excellent piece in The Atlantic on ways to the make the Constitution relevant to our daily lives.)
America’s Founding Son: John Bingham and the Invention of the Fourteenth Amendment by Gerard N. Magliocca
America’s Founding Son sheds light on the forgotten father of the Fourteenth Amendment, John Bingham—who helped put a guarantee of fundamental rights and equality to all Americans (not just white men) into the U.S. Constitution.
Last week, author Shayne Lee was on HuffPost Live with Eddie Glaude discussing Tyler Perry and T.D. Jakes. Check it out!
Ashton’s thorough treatment of her topic is sure to enlighten—she discusses everything from the official observances of Hanukkah at the White House to how the rise of the celebration affected mainstream ad campaigns and the number of opportunities available to Jewish women. It all adds up to powerful support for her thesis that Hanukkah now enjoys ‘a more significant place in the American Jewish calendar than it had known’ since the events it commemorates.
This is the beginning of the end of mass incarceration.
Those Damned Immigrants: America’s Hysteria over Undocumented Immigration
Ediberto Román (with a Foreword by Michael A. Olivas)
July 2013, Cloth
Read the introduction here.
Jim Crow’s still alive and kicking, but maybe we can kill him
Ghosts of Jim Crow: Ending Racism in Post-Racial America by F. Michael Higginbotham (NYU Press, $29.95)
Here’s a fitting book to consider while we await the verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman for the death of Trayvon Martin, yet another example of a situation in which a young man died because he was black.
Ask yourself what would have happened had the person with Skittles and iced tea been white. Answer honestly, and you’ll know for a fact—regardless of what intent Zimmerman did or did not have, regardless of what Zimmerman’s personal views on race in America are—that Trayvon Martin died because he was black.
Law professor J. Michael Higginbottham approaches two strands in this book. In the first, he looks at the legacies of Jim Crow—systematic racial discrimination, including the exclusion of African Americans from full civic participation—in 21st century American life. He’s particularly well-qualified to discussthose laws which carry with them bits of Jim Crow DNA, and one wonders what he’d have to say about the recent Supreme Court decision limiting the Voting Rights Act—not to mention the fact that within a remarkably short time, several states were moving to restrict voting rights for “some” people.
The second strand is Higginbottam’s prescription for moving the U.S. to the post-racial, color-blind society that we consistently say we’d like to be. His takeaway is that it’s not enough to say we believe in racial equality, but white people in particular must take responsibility for the way it continues to hang around all these years. We have to be the ones calling out inequality and enforcing nondiscrimination; the ones saying there is zero tolerance for racist acts.
We’re in a post-racist age, don’t you know. No one’s racist here, and it’s really not helpful to call anyone racist. But we need to point out racist acts and make sure that these acts have consequences.
That’s not news. The real difficulty lies in sensitizing whites to their own blindness where white privilege and white supremacy are concerned. Nonetheless, Higginbottham makes a clear and compelling case in defense of affirmative action policies based on two things that Americans supposedly value: common sense and fairness.
While this book won’t have much traction with the white people currently strategizing for ways to extend their reliance on elderly white voters—yes, I’m talkng to you, GOP—it does provide some very good arguments and facts for the use of those of us white people who are actively engaging with our fellow whites to get the damn blinders of privilege off, already.
Because a middle-aged fat white chick like me is safe walking in my mother’s gated community with a bag of Skittles and an iced tea, and a 17-year-old black kid ought to be safe, too.