Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged racism


By the age of nine, Michelle LeBeau has already taken more than a few knocks. Her mom has disappeared—whereabouts unknown—and her dad has unceremoniously dumped her with his aging parents in tiny Deerhorn, Wisconsin and left town. Michelle is Deerhorn's first biracial resident—half Japanese, half white—and she is not allowed to forget it. Her only friends are a loving spaniel and her grandparents, a charismatic retiree named Charlie, and his dutiful wife, Helen.

Acting White: The Curious History of a Racial Slur

Before I begin reviewing Ron Christie’s Acting White: The Curious History of a Racial Slur I want to acknowledge my identity politics as they are crucial in my take on this book. First off I will never know what it’s like to be accused of acting white because I am white. Moreover, I am an anti-racist feminist who believes that institutional racism and structural inequalities exist and are held in place by those in power.

The Necessity of Climate Change: Women of Color Speak from the Ivory Tower

Morgane Richardson graduated from Middlebury College in 2008 feeling that American colleges recruit women of color, but have no idea how to address the issues they face once they are enrolled. As a result, many of these women suffer depression, anxiety, and isolation in silence. Morgane decided to do something about this situation, and less than two years later, she has collected submissions from women all over the country who have had to navigate issues of race, class, and gender at elite, predominately white college campuses. With these stories, Morgane created Refuse the Silence.

Launch of StopWatch (10/18/2010)

Recent studies show that in England and Wales Black people are stopped and searched seven times more than Caucasians; and Asians at twice the Caucasian rate. Jesse Jackson has formed a new coalition of NGO’s and academic societies to combat racial profiling and power abuse in UK policing. The organization, StopWatch, was launched at King’s College in London with an address from Reverend Jesse Jackson followed by a panel discussion.

Living on the Edge in Suburbia: From Welfare to Workfare

Living on the Edge in Suburbia is Terese Lawinski’s comprehensive examination of welfare in the United States using ethnographic research on suburban families in Westchester County, New York. Lawinski leaves no stone in the welfare debate unturned, from the infamous myth of the “Welfare Queen” (introduced to America’s vocabulary by a Reagan campaign speech in 1976) to the fallacy of “illegal immigrants” coming to the U.S. in droves looking for easy money.

The Girl on the Train

Upon watching The Girl on the Train, it may not be immediately obvious that this is based on a real event: the 2004 scandal in which Marie-Leonie Leblanc fabricated an anti-Semitic attack by six Arab youth. In fact, the film’s lead character, Jeanne (Émilie Dequenne), seems like a typical teen in need of inspiration.

Love, Race, and Liberation: ‘Til the White Day is Done

The subtitle of of JLove Calderón and Marcella Runell’s curriculum, Love, Race, and Liberation, comes from the poem “Dream Variations” by Langston Hughes. To fling my arms wide In some place of the sun, To whirl and to dance Till the white day is done. Love, Race, and Liberation is a multimedia project

Cotton’s Queer Relations: Same-Sex Intimacy and the Literature of the Southern Plantation, 1936-1968

As Michael Bibler mentions in the introduction to Cotton’s Queer Relations, it seems impossible that there could be enough material out there to serve as the basis for such depth of criticism on an incredibly narrow topic.

The Blind Side

I didn’t intended to write a review of The Blind Side, but when my aunt responded to my Facebook status deriding the film’s racist indoctrination by saying my critiques were a figment of my liberal imagination, it all came flowing out. The Blind Side is a version of (Black) NFL player Michael Oher's true life story of being

From Paris With Love

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent — Isaac Asimov Luc Besson is credited with the “story” for this violent comic book of a thriller that is an insult to Paris. Years ago, Besson wrote Le Dernier Combat and The Fifth Element, flicks that are still worth seeing.

Anachronism and Its Others: Sexuality, Race, Temporality

Valerie Rohy’s exploration of the efforts to define both queer and Black identities and their subsequent intersections is as interesting as it is illuminating, as presented in Anachronism and Its Others, whether it is a discussion of the temporal implications of Frederick Douglass’ thought presented in his autobiography or demystifying the nebulous concepts of "queer time." _[Anachronism and Its Others](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1438428650?ie=UTF8&tag=f

Kinky Gazpacho: Love, Life, and Spain

Lori Tharps’ Kinky Gazpacho does what memoirs do best: it brings us the author’s journey through her inner psychological life. The book spans Tharps’ kindergarten “Culture Day” in Milwaukee, Wisconsin through her present life as a freelance writer in Philadelphia.

The Children in Room E4: American Education on Trial

No regular news consumer could avoid being informed of the failings of the educational system in the U.S. Every medium, new and old, is filled with the details of this country’s abysmal international rankings, the breakdown of school discipline, the costs of teaching to the test, the soaring dropout rate and the dearth of funding that leads school systems to abandon arts programs and other educational necessities. What is often left unexamined is one of the primary causes of many of these problems: de facto segregation by race and class.

Spell Albuquerque: Memoir of a “Difficult” Student

I found Tennessee Reed’s memoir of her educational and professional life to be inspiring and informative.


“Necesito gritar!” bellows Adele Nieves in response to the question she poses with her spoken word piece entitled “Why Do You Speak?”, which is the first track on the album. Through the unrestrained strength and rage smoldering behind every word, Adele provides a call to action against the overwhelming powers of erasure, invisibility, and silence that is exhaustively pushed upon women of color for centuries. Speak!, an explosive powerhouse of an album created by the [Speak!

American Muslim Women: Negotiating Race, Class, and Gender Within the Ummah

Jamillah Karim takes an extremely complex and contentious set of topics—race, class, gender and faith—and skillfully examines them within the framework of the ummah, or the Muslim community.

More Than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City

Author Williams Julius Wilson, a Harvard University professor, delves into the issue of race in his latest book, More Than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City. This book provides a detailed account of how African Americans are more likely to be economically disadvantaged due to their race.  Before opening this book, the readers should be aware that this is a serious read and requires one be quite interested in the subject.

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.

The Emperor Jones (1/07/2009)

"I learn more when I'm being entertained," a student wrote in a journal last year.

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.

It’s a Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments

If you keep up with the purported leaders of feminist blogging, or if you heard any of the controversy about the John Edwards campaign bloggers last year, the name Amanda Marcotte may ring a bell.

Born in the Big Rains: A Memoir of Somalia and Survival

Born in the Big Rains begins like a beautifully written work of fiction: “In the distance, a lion roared, deep and long, dismissing the night. The air smelled of smoke and freshly brewed tea, and on the horizon the day’s first light chalked the sky.” But the writing’s rich details and driving action belie that this is no tall tale, but the true story of an adolescent girl, named Fadumo Abdi Hersi Farah Husen, who was born to a nomadic family in Somalia.

Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones

Still unknown to many, the life story of Claudia Jones is equally inspiring and heartbreaking. Guilty of being everything she was labeled, Jones maintained many overlapping identities—feminist, Black Nationalist, Communist, and journalist—working in the early to mid-twentieth century on a wide array of equal rights causes. Her activism a precursor to much of the 1960s American counterculture resistance, for which we often remember recent history’s leaders of color.

How Nonviolence Protects the State

Do anti-war protests really stop the United States from invading another country? Do pro-choice marches affect legislation on abortion? Did sit-ins during the Civil Rights movement help to end racism? These are the questions that Peter Gelderloos asks in his new book How Nonviolence Protects the State.

Self Storage

Flan Parker makes money off of other people’s lost stuff. With her husband passively working on his thesis and two children to support, Flan makes money off the contents of unpaid-for storage units that she bids on. Before selling her spoils, Flan vicariously lives through the contents of each box as a reprieve from her own routine life. Although there are worse mates out there, Flan feels somewhat alone in her marriage as her husband, Shae, atrophies on the couch “researching” his thesis. Tables turn, however, when an Afghani woman accidentally hits Flan’s youngest child with a car.

Bento Box in the Heartland

Bento Box in the Heartland is a memoir that uniquely ties in the cultural experiences of protagonist and writer Linda Furiya with the foods of her Japanese heritage. Wedged between each chapter is a recipe of some of her favorite dishes, such as Chinese Home-Style Tofu and Japanese Pot Stickers.

When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts

Spike Lee's 2006 documentary When the Levees Broke is no small commitment—though clocking in at four hours, its length isn't what devastates. The film passes shockingly quickly, translating a vague sense of unease in the viewer into heavy understanding. Lee has accomplished a brilliant and agonizing oral history of a great betrayal of human rights, democracy and good governance.

Journey Toward Justice: Juliette Hampton Morgan and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

For those of us who remember the Civil Rights struggle of the '60s and '70s, this book is a valuable reminder of just where life stood back then, how far we’ve come and how much further we still have to go.

Giuliani Time

What politician can, in the span of a few decades, go from being a Kennedy Democrat to a Reagan Republican and, finally, to a man for all parties as Time’s Person of the Year? The answer, as Kevin Keating’s film reveals, is Rudy Giuliani. Keating turns a critical eye on Giuliani’s path towards becoming America’s darling politician by offering a view of the New York Mayor’s pre-September 11th history – a history marked by racism and the overseeing of police brutality.