race

  Young black men are 21 times more likely to be killed by police than their white counterparts. The unemployment rate for African Americans has been double that of whites for more than half a century. And yet Americans cling desperately to the myth that we are living in a post-racial society, that the election of the first black president spelled doom for racist policies and racist beliefs. In fact, racist thought is alive and well in America; it has simply become more sophisticated and more insidious.

Award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues in Stamped from the Beginning, if we have any hope of grappling with this stark reality, we must first understand how racist ideas were developed, disseminated, and enshrined in American society.

  Over the past half-century, the U.S. has seen profound demographic and cultural change. But racial progress still seems distant. After the faith of the civil rights movement, the fervor of multiculturalism, and even the brief euphoria of a “post-racial” moment, we remain a nation divided. Resegregation is the norm.

The culture wars flare as hot as ever. How do Americans see race now? Do we see each other any more clearly than before?

In Who We Be: A Cultural History of Race in Post-Civil Rights America, Jeff Chang, the award-winning author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, looks anew at the tumultuous half-century from the peak of the civil rights era to the colorization and strife of the Obama years.

'Trace' By Lauret Savoy

Dec 14, 2015

  While many geologists focus their inquiry on the Earth, probing contours of the land to reveal how past developments have come to shape the present, Lauret Savoy’s new book, Trace, takes a more personal journey.

Lauret Edith Savoy is a woman of mixed heritage, and a professor of environmental studies and geology at Mount Holyoke College, where she explores the intertwinings of natural and cultural histories. She is a self-described “Earth historian” and in the new book traces her Native, African-, Euro-American ancestry across the United States in the hope of learning what her extended family experienced.

  When Damon Tweedy began medical school, he envisioned a bright future where his segregated, working-class background would become largely irrelevant.

Instead, he found that he had joined a new world where race is front and center. Black Man in a White Coat examines the complex ways in which both black doctors and patients must navigate the difficult and often contradictory terrain of race and medicine. As Tweedy transforms from student to practicing physician, he discovers how often race influences his encounters with patients.

  When Allan Johnson asked his dying father where he wanted his ashes to be placed, his father replied--without hesitation--that it made no difference to him at all.

In his memoir, Not from Here, Johnson embarks on a 2,000-mile journey across the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains to find the place where his father's ashes belonged.

More than a personal narrative, Not from Here illuminates the national silence around unresolved questions of accountability, race, and identity politics, and the dilemma of how to take responsibility for a past we did not create.

  In a remarkable 50 year literary career, Joyce Carol Oates has given readers incisive explorations of violence, race, class, sex, and gender in America.

Her new novel, The Sacrifice, examines the confluence of political, social, and moral complexities that fuel a community’s reaction to an alleged crime against a young black girl.

When author Jeff Hobbs arrived at Yale University, he became fast friends with the man who would be his college roommate for four years, Robert Peace. Robert’s life was rough from the beginning in the crime-ridden streets of Newark in the 1980s, with his father in jail and his mother earning less than $15,000 a year.

  Despite the utopian proclamations that we are now live in a color-blind, postracial country, the grim reality is that implicit racial biases are more entrenched than ever.

In Wrongs of the Right, Matthew W. Hughey and Gregory S. Parks set postracial claims into relief against a background of pre- and post-election racial animus directed at Obama, his administration, and African Americans.

Race-based affirmative action had been declining as a factor in university admissions even before the recent spate of related cases arrived at the Supreme Court. Since Ward Connerly kickstarted a state-by-state political mobilization against affirmative action in the mid-1990s, the percentage of four-year public colleges that consider racial or ethnic status in admissions has fallen from 60 percent to 35 percent. Only 45 percent of private colleges still explicitly consider race, with elite schools more likely to do so, although they too have retreated.

For law professor and civil rights activist Sheryll Cashin, this isn’t entirely bad news, because as she argues, affirmative action as currently practiced does little to help disadvantaged people. In Place, Not Race, Cashin reimagines affirmative action and champions place-based policies, arguing that college applicants who have thrived despite exposure to neighborhood or school poverty are deserving of special consideration.

Solomon Northup was a free man who was lured from his home in Saratoga and kidnapped into slavery in 1841. His life is the subject of the upcoming film, 12 Years A Slave which opens at The Spectrum Theatre in Albany this Friday.

The new biography, Solomon Northup: The Complete Story of the Author of Twelve Years A Slave provides a compelling chronological narrative of Northup's entire life, from his birth in an isolated settlement in upstate New York to the activities he pursued after his release from slavery.

The biography was written by Clifford Brown, a political science professor at Union College in Schenectady, Rachel Seligman, former head of Union’s gallery (she now works at the Tang at Skidmore College); and David Friske, former librarian for the state.

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