RACE: further reading, viewing, and listening

May 2, 2013

Want to learn more about the topics featured in Jennifer Guerra's hour-long documentary on race? The State of Opportunity theme thought about what cultural, social, and research out there helps us understand the impact of race beyond our own personal experience. Check out some of these films, books, blog, and songs to help think through what race means for our kids and education today.

multiracial group of girls
Credit Jennifer Guerra

Colorlines - award-winning investigative reporting and news analysis--and that drives our focus on finding solutions as well as naming problems.

A historical lesson and a bit of levity from Louis 

Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life (2nd edition with an Update a Decade Later) - Annette Lareau

Class does make a difference in the lives and futures of American children. Drawing on in-depth observations of black and white middle-class, working-class, and poor families, Unequal Childhoods explores this fact, offering a picture of childhood today. Lareau shows how middle-class parents, whether black or white, engage in a process of "concerted cultivation" designed to draw out children's talents and skills, while working-class and poor families rely on "the accomplishment of natural growth," in which a child's development unfolds spontaneously—as long as basic comfort, food, and shelter are provided. Each of these approaches to childrearing brings its own benefits and its own drawbacks. In identifying and analyzing differences between the two, Lareau demonstrates the power, and limits, of social class in shaping the lives of America's children. 

Racial Formation in the US - Michael Omi & Howard Winant

First published in 1986, Racial Formation in the United States is now considered a classic in the literature on race and ethnicity. This second edition builds upon and updates Omi and Winant's groundbreaking research. In addition to a preface to the new edition, the book provides a more detailed account of the theory of racial formation processes. It includes material on the historical development of race, the question of racism, race-class-gender interrelationships, and everyday life. A final chapter updates the developments in American racial politics up to the present, focusing on such key events as the 1992 Presidential election, the Los Angeles riots, and the Clinton administration's racial politics and policies. [excerpt]

"It's not me, it's you" (article on "stereotype threat") - Annie Murphy Paul, The New York Times

"Straight White Male: the Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is" - John Scalzi

Middle of Nowhere - 2012

Winner of the Best Director Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, MIDDLE OF NOWHERE follows Ruby, a bright medical student who sets aside her dreams and suspends her career when her husband is incarcerated. As the committed couple stares into the hollow end of an eight-year prison sentence, Ruby must learn to live another life, one marked by shame and separation. But through a chance encounter and a stunning betrayal that shakes her to her core, this steadfast wife is soon propelled in new and often shocking directions of self-discovery - caught between two worlds and two men in the search for herself. [NYTimes review]

Colorblind: the Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity- Tim Wise

In this powerful follow-up to "Between Barack and a Hard Place," Tim Wise argues against "colorblindness" and "for" a deeper color-consciousness in both public and private practice. We can only begin to move toward authentic social and economic equity through what Wise calls "illuminated individualism"--acknowledging the diverse identities that have shaped our perceptions, and the role that race continues to play in the maintenance of disparities between whites and people of color in the United States today. This is the first book to discuss the pitfalls of "colorblindness" in the Obama era.

White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son - Tim Wise

Flipping John Howard Griffin's classic Black Like Me, and extending Noel Ignatiev's How The Irish Became White into the present-day, Wise explores the meanings and consequences of whiteness, and discusses the ways in which racial privilege can harm not just people of color, but also whites. Using stories instead of stale statistics, Wise weaves a narrative that is at once readable and yet scholarly; analytical and yet accessible.

Beyond babymamas - conversations with single women of color - a blog for unmarried minority mothers to share their stories, to address their concerns, and to discuss social, political, economic and emotional issues particular to their experience.

The Central Park Five - 2012

THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE, a new film from award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, tells the story of the five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were wrongly convicted of raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park in 1989. The film chronicles The Central Park Jogger case, for the first time from the perspective of these five teenagers whose lives were upended by this miscarriage of justice.