Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged race


There are a plethora of films which recount the arrival of distinct ethnic groups to America, ranging from the Eddie Murphy’s pathetic Coming to America to the Charlie Chaplin’s classic The Immigrant to the Patricia Riggen’s subtle _[Under The Same Moon](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00180IPM6?ie=UTF8&tag=feminrevie-20&lin


A first day in a new school. Stomach butterflies, lunchroom trades, art projects. Kids asking why you’re not the same color as your dad. This is the story of Violet, a children’s picture book by Tania Duprey Stehlik with edgy illustrations by Vanja Vuleta Jovanovic. Violet’s mom is red, her dad is blue, and Violet is, well, violet. Back home at the kitchen table after school, Violet asks her mother to explain.


Here’s the truth: right up front I judged Picara by its cover. The cover, a photo of a young girl sitting on a rail guard with a sideways gaze and unreadable emotion on her face, conjured up one word in my mind: Angst. Well, two words: Teenage angst.

make/shift: feminisms in motion (Issue 6)

Make/Shift aims to thrust the ignored populations into the greater recognition. Native Americans living in urban settings rather than rural reservations tend to be invisible in our nation’s consciousness. Society shies away from the combination of disability and sexuality, and when it comes to women’s prisons, many question the validity of empowerment through peer education health programs.

Legacies of Race: Identities, Attitudes, and Politics in Brazil

Legacies of Race answers many of my personal questions about a strict notion of racial identification among the “black and white” in Brazil. When I visited Rio de Janeiro for the first time in 1993, I was intrigued by the notion of the “Afro-Brazilian” population who viewed themselves as “mixed race” rather than the distinctive “white” or “black” of the United States.

I'ma Be Me

In her first HBO comedy special since 2006's Sick & Tired, Wanda Sykes’ I'ma Be Me promises from the outset that she is "not holding anything back." This is a promise she works assiduously to keep throughout the show.

The Blue Hour: A Life of Jean Rhys

There’s no shortage of texts examining Jean Rhys, the woman whose writing is as highly regarded among second wave feminists as it is among literature professors. Rhys herself was at work on a memoir when she passed away in 1979, leaving behind the collection of pieces that became Smile Please.

What Makes Me White

In America we have seen a lot of victories in the battle against racism. An African American leader in the White House is a prominent sign of this progress. However, we still have far to go. The recent arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Gates has made many rush to judgment saying he is using the “race card” to dismiss any wrong action he may have taken during the incident. On the other hand, some are calling the actions of the police officer overtly racist. Accusing either side of using or dismissing race is an easy way out of a difficult discussion.

District 9

In 1982 an alien spacecraft descends into the Earth’s stratosphere and hovers for months over Johannesburg, South Africa. Humans, alternately fearing that the aliens are hostile and hoping that they are harbingers of technological advances, board the ship. They are disappointed to discover that the aliens are neither, being nothing more than incredibly ill and malnourished refugees from a distant planet. Human governments around the world provide aid for the aliens while they bicker over what to do with them.

Race, Space, and the Law: Unmapping a White Settler Society

Institutional racism: we all know it exists, yet many deny it does. In this book, Sherene Razack, author of Looking White People in the Eye, edits a set of deeply disturbing accounts of racially-motivated public policies and resultant public consciousness in North America.


Mudbound, the first novel by Hillary Jordan, is all about tension. Race, family, marriage, class, identity are all buzzing, pressing in the narrative, and all of them feed into the greatest tension of all: the classic survival story of man versus nature. The first few pages describe two brothers scrambling to dig a makeshift grave ahead of an impending storm. This scene sets the tone and becomes, in many ways, a vivid metaphor for the entire narrative.

Race, Place, and Environmental Justice After Hurricane Katrina: Struggles to Reclaim, Rebuilt and Revitalize New Orleans and the Gulf Coast

Hurricane Katrina was one of those events that it was impossible not to be affected by because the images we all watched on our televisions and in the newspapers were so horrible. There was a sense of shock that U.S. citizens could be treated so poorly in their own country. Yet this outrage seems to have faded along with the general public’s memory of the storm. Hurricane Katrina will forever alter the course of history in New Orleans and the life paths of thousands of families from the region.

Dragon Ladies: Asian American Feminists Breathe Fire

Incredible. Insightful. Inspiring. These are the words I use to describe Dragon Ladies: Asian American Feminists Breathe Fire, the pivotal textbook on the growing politics of Asian American women.

No Girls in the Clubhouse: The Exclusion of Women from Baseball

The premise of No Girls in the Clubhouse is that baseball could be successfully gender-integrated at all levels with no disadvantage to either side, but social expectations—not biological deficiency—exclude women from full participation in the sport. Feminists won't be surprised to learn how, in anthropologist Marilyn Cohen's analysis, the historical achievements of female baseball players have been obscured.

Lessons in Integration: Realizing the Promise of Racial Diversity in American Schools

This dense volume brings together a wealth of scholarly essays that address the topic of integration in American schools in the early twenty-first century. The book is the fruit of a collaborative research roundtable convened by the Southern Poverty Law Center and Harvard University in 2004.  2004 was also the fiftieth anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka that led to the end of legal segregation in American schools.

Terror in the Heart of Freedom: Citizenship, Sexual Violence, and the Meaning of Race in the Postemancipation South

Hannah Rosen's Terror in the Heart of Freedom is an essential historical document. This text is a detailed analysis of the connection between gendered rhetoric, sexual violence, and the oppression and resistance of freed people during the reconstruction era.

Art + Revolution: The Life and Death of Thami Mnyele, South African Artist

It should be of no surprise that some of the most peaceful and timid visionaries have met violent deaths. It seems that the power with which they create, forge, or even love is equal to that which opposes their very existence.

Bombay Anna: The Real Story and Remarkable Adventures of the King and I Governess

Almost everyone in America has heard of Anna, the famous upper class English lady who held her own with the King of Siam. What most people haven’t heard is the real story behind the better-known, fictionalized character. Susan Morgan has devoted over a decade to fleshing out the life of Anna Leonowens in Bombay Anna.

Margaret Cho’s Beautiful Tour

Margaret Cho’s Beautiful Tour, which began in February 2008, is still scheduled to visit a number of lucky locations throughout the United States. As usual, Cho’s brand of feminist, LGBTQ, activist, and politicized humor was hilarious, raunchy, and thought-provoking. Unlike so much of the comedy gracing television screens lately, Cho continues to infuse her comedy with cutting edge analysis of race, gender, body image, and sexuality.

Queer Queens of Qomedy (08/01/2008)

Lesbians, like feminists, have no sense of humor. Or so we’ve been told… repeatedly. Poppy Champlin and her troupe of hilarious women-loving-women are busting that stereotype wide open. In various venues across the United States, the Queer Queens of Qomedy are met with crowds of queer fans and a hail of riotous laughter. I joined in on the gayety this past Friday night at the historic Birchmere music hall in Alexandria, Virginia, and I must say I’ve never laughed so hard in my life.

Feminist Media Reconsidered

Some of the most incisive feminist analysis today is being published in the groundbreaking make/shift magazine. Started by three activists – Jessica Hoffmann, Daria Yudacufski, and Stephanie Abraham, who first worked together as founders and editors of the feminist zine LOUDmouth – make/shift is run by an editorial/publishing collective committed to antiracist, transnational, and queer perspectives.

When She Was White: The True Story of a Family Divided By Race

It would be hard to find a story more inherently dramatic than that of Sandra Laing, one that can show in a more complete and complex manner the ramifications of South Africa’s apartheid regime. With coloring distinctly different from that of her white family, Sandra Laing was expelled from her white school in 1965 and reclassified as “coloured” (of mixed-race descent), then, after her family engaged in legal battle, was made ‘white” once again; in the throes of this conflict, at the age of fifteen, Laing fell in love and ran away with a black man, with whom she had several children.

In Black and White: An Interpretation of the South

From 1888 to 1925, Lily Hardy Hammond accurately predicted the future. In that time period, the prominent activist said and wrote just about everything that progressives and left-leaning people are saying across the United States now. This is simultaneously inspiring and deeply upsetting to read as a young radical in 2008. In Black and White traces Hardy Hammond’s political writings and presentations over the course of her lifetime.

Blue Rage, Black Redemption

In the midst of our current pop culture’s street gang glamorization and mafia worship, the Nobel Prize-nominated work of late Crips gang founder Stanley “Tookie” Williams is a flash of clarity and a voice of reason. Executed in 2005 for the murder of four people, Williams claimed his innocence until the end. Perhaps even more importantly—and certainly the legacy we hope he is remembered for—Williams was believed to have been reformed as he spent much of his sentence in California’s San Quentin prison writing and working on peace plans for our badly torn nation.

Private Lives, Proper Relations: Regulating Black Intimacy

Why is contemporary African American literature — particularly that produced by black women — continually concerned with issues of respectability and propriety? Her first book, Private Lives, Proper Relations, Candace M. Jenkins looks at how African American writers express the political consequences of intimacy for the susceptible black subject.

Mohawk Girls

Mohawk Girls is a beautifully written and directed documentary film by Tracey Deer. Released in 2006, Deer parallels the lives of three teenage girls living on a reservation just outside of Montreal, Canada to her own experiences while struggling to grow up in a world that fails to reach out to those not living within the main steam culture.

New Orleans Noir

Unlike every other volume of short stories I've read, none of the stories in this book disappointed me. Written by authors who live or have lived in the Big Easy, New Orleans Noir digs below the surface and into the social fabric of a city that had its troubles long before Hurricane Katrina. To say that it pushes the reader out of her comfort zone would be a major understatement. The collection is divided into two parts: pre- and post- Katrina.

Zaatar Days, Henna Nights: Adventures, Dreams, and Destinations across the Middle East

Pakistani-American Maliha Masood needed a change in her life. She resigns from her lackluster job, cashes in her savings and books a one-way ticket to Paris. While in Europe, her strong desire for adventure and self-discovery propels her to hop on a flight to Cairo, Egypt, but the journey does not stop there.

From the Plantation to the Penitentiary

From the Plantation to the Penitentiary is Wynton Marsalis’ most overtly political release to date and is, simply put, brilliant.

Romancing the Vote: Feminist Activism in American Fiction, 1870-1920

Leslie Petty has written a scholarly text that examines a particular set of novels from the late 19th through early 20th century that depict politically active women and intended for those involved in the women’s movement. She argues that through these types of novels, the texts themselves helped to create and sustain these movements. Petty has done a exceptional job of shedding light on this heretofore “submerged” tradition.