Structural Racism

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United States of Grace: A Memoir of Homelessness, Addiction, Incarceration, and Hope
Duncan, Lenny. United States of Grace: A Memoir of Homelessness, Addiction, Incarceration, and Hope. Minneapolis, MN: Broadleaf Books, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"A deeply personal story about growing up Black and queer in the US. In his characteristically powerful voice, Duncan recounts hitchhiking across the country, spending time in solitary confinement, battling for sobriety, and discovering a deep faith, examining pressing issues like poverty, mass incarceration, white supremacy, and LGBTQ inclusion through an intimate portrayal of his life's struggles and joys. The result is a love story about America, revealing the joy and resilience and making the bold claim that God is present with us in the most difficult of circumstances, bringing life out of death. -- adapted from jacket
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The Rage of Innocence: How America Criminalizes Black Youth
Henning, Kristin. The Rage of Innocence: How America Criminalizes Black Youth. New York: Pantheon Books, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"Drawing upon 25 years of experience representing black youth in Washington D.C.'s juvenile court, Kris Henning confronts America's irrational, manufactured fears of Black youth and makes a powerfully compelling case that the crisis in racist American policing begins with its relationship to Black children. She explains how discriminatory and aggressive policing has socialized a generation of Black teenagers to fear, resent, and resist the police, and details the long-term consequences of racism and trauma Black youth experience at the hands of police and their vigilante surrogates. She makes clear that unlike white youth who are afforded the freedom to test boundaries, experiment with sex and drugs, and figure out who they are and want to be, Black youth are seen as a threat to white America and are denied healthy adolescent development. She examines the criminalization of Black adolescent play and sexuality, and of Black fashion, hair and music. She limns the effects of police presence in schools, and the depth of policing-induced trauma in Black adolescents. Especially in the wake of the recent unprecedented, worldwide outrage at racial injustice and inequality, The Rage of Innocence: How America Criminalizes Black Youth is an essential book for our moment"– Provided by publisher.
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The Moor's Account
Lalami, Laila. The Moor's Account. Reading: Periscope, 2015. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
"In 1527 the Spanish conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez arrived on the coast of modern-day Florida with hundreds of settlers, and claimed the region for Spain. Almost immediately, the expedition was decimated by a combination of navigational errors, disease, starvation and fierce resistance from indigenous tribes. Within a year, only four survivors remained: three noblemen and a Moroccan slave called “Estebanico”. The official record, set down after a reunion with Spanish forces in 1536, contains only the three freemen’s accounts. The fourth, to which the title of Laila Lalami’s masterful novel alludes, is Estebanico’s own. Lalami gives us Estebanico as history never did: as Mustafa, the vibrant merchant from Azemmur forced into slavery and a new name, and reborn as the first black explorer of the Americas, discovering and being discovered by various tribes both hostile and compassionate. In Estebanico’s telling, the survivors’ journey across great swathes of the New World transforms would-be conquerors into humble servants and fearful outcasts into faith healers. He remains ever-observant, resourceful and hopeful that he might one day find his way back to his family, even as he experiences an unexpected (if ambiguous) camaraderie with his masters. The Moor’s Account illuminates the ways in which stories can transmigrate into history, and how storytelling can offer a chance for redemption, reinvention and survival." - Publisher description.
Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America
Lalami, Laila. Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America. First Edition. New York: Pantheon Books, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"The acclaimed, award-winning novelist--author of The Moor's Account and The Other Americans--now gives us a bracingly personal work of nonfiction that is concerned with the experiences of "conditional citizens." What does it mean to be American? In this starkly illuminating and impassioned book, Pulitzer Prize Finalist Laila Lalami recounts her unlikely journey from Moroccan immigrant to U.S. citizen, using it as a starting point for her exploration of the rights, liberties, and protections that are traditionally associated with American citizenship. Tapping into history, politics, and literature, she elucidates how accidents of birth--such as national origin, race, or gender--that once determined the boundaries of Americanness still cast their shadows today. Throughout the book, she poignantly illustrates how white supremacy survives through adaptation and legislation, with the result that a caste system is maintained, keeping the modern equivalent of white male landowners at the top of the social hierarchy. Conditional citizens, she argues, are all the people whom America embraces with one arm, and pushes away with the other. Brilliantly argued and deeply personal, Conditional Citizens weaves together the author's own experiences with explorations of the place of nonwhites in the broader American culture"-- Provided by publisher.
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Better, Not Bitter: Living on Purpose in the Pursuit of Racial Justice
Salaam, Yusef. Better, Not Bitter: Living on Purpose in the Pursuit of Racial Justice. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"They didn't know who they had. So begins Yusef Salaam telling his story. No one's life is the sum of the worst things that happened to them, and during Yusef Salaam's seven years of wrongful incarceration as one of the Central Park Five, he grew from child to man, and gained a spiritual perspective on life. Yusef learned that we're all "born on purpose, with a purpose." Despite having confronted the racist heart of America while being "run over by the spiked wheels of injustice," Yusef channeled his energy and pain into something positive, not just for himself but for other marginalized people and communities. Better Not Bitter is the first time that one of the now Exonerated Five is telling his individual story, in his own words. Yusef writes his narrative: growing up Black in central Harlem in the '80s, being raised by a strong, fierce mother and grandmother, his years of incarceration, his reentry, and exoneration. Yusef connects these stories to lessons and principles he learned that gave him the power to survive through the worst of life's experiences. He inspires readers to accept their own path, to understand their own sense of purpose. With his intimate personal insights, Yusef unpacks the systems built and designed for profit and the oppression of Black and Brown people. He inspires readers to channel their fury into action, and through the spiritual, to turn that anger and trauma into a constructive force that lives alongside accountability and mobilizes change. This memoir is an inspiring story that grew out of one of the gravest miscarriages of justice, one that not only speaks to a moment in time or the rage-filled present, but reflects a 400-year history of a nation's inability to be held accountable for its sins. Yusef Salaam's message is vital for our times, a motivating resource for enacting change. Better, Not Bitter has the power to soothe, inspire and transform. It is a galvanizing call to action"–
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
Stevenson, Bryan. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2015. eBook @ Harvard Library [Harvard Key required]Abstract

"From one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time comes an unforgettable true story about the redeeming potential of mercy. Bryan Stevenson was a gifted young attorney when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending the poor, the wrongly condemned, and those trapped in the furthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man sentenced to die for a notorious murder he didn't commit. The case drew Stevenson into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship - and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever."--Back cover.

Find the Print Book in HOLLIS. (Record #1 and Record #2)

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Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights
Yoshino, Kenji. Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights. New York: Random House, 2006. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

View eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]

"Gay Asian American Yale Law School professor Kenji Yoshino fuses legal manifesto and poetic memoir to call for a redefinition of civil rights in our law and culture. Everyone covers. To cover is to downplay a disfavored trait so as to blend into the mainstream. Because all of us possess stigmatized attributes, we all encounter pressure to cover in our daily lives. Given its pervasiveness, we may experience this pressure to be a simple fact of social life.

Against conventional understanding, Kenji Yoshino argues that the demand to cover can pose a hidden threat to our civil rights. Though we have come to some consensus against penalizing people for differences based on race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, and disability, we still routinely deny equal treatment to people who refuse to downplay differences along these lines. Racial minorities are pressed to 'act white' by changing their names, languages, or cultural practices. Women are told to 'play like men' at work. Gays are asked not to engage in public displays of same-sex affection. The devout are instructed to minimize expressions of faith, and individuals with disabilities are urged to conceal the paraphernalia that permit them to function.

In a wide-ranging analysis, Yoshino demonstrates that American civil rights law has generally ignored the threat posed by these covering demands. With passion and rigor, he shows that the work of civil rights will not be complete until it attends to the harms of coerced conformity." (Publisher's description)