Web: Whiteness

Some black authors of the 1800s available free online, and exploration of whiteness and color in modern art.

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After reading Nell Irvin Painter’s The History of White People (which I highly recommend), I have a long reading list.

David Walker’s Appeal: in four articles, together with a preamble, to the coloured citizens of the world, but in particular, and very expressly, to those of the United States of America, a 1829 tract by a free black man who also wrote for Freedom’s Journal and delivered addresses on Haitian independence and other topics.

Hosea Easton was another activist, who wrote A Treatise on the Intellectual Character and Civil and Political Condition of the Colored People of the U. States; and the Prejudice Exercised towards Them: with a Sermon on the Duty of the Church to Them.  (Also found here.)  Interestingly, his father was descended from Wampanoag and Narragansett peoples, but he disavowed any Native blood to ensure his citizenship.

William Wells Brown is an author with prolific and varied output.  He’s written a novel, collection of hymns, memoir, travelogue, and the 1874 book Painter cites, titled The Rising Son; or, the Antecedents and Achievements of the Colored Race.  I have yet to find that one online but am sure it must exist.

Aside from those new-to-me reads, this book also got me thinking about the concept of whiteness.  Not just racially, but also in art (since race and art can intersect beyond literature).

Vox has an interesting take on all white art found in museums (warning for swears):

The Art Assignment has a conversation with Odili Donald Odita about whitescapes and the use and meaning of color, ending with an assignment to try:

 

Graphic Novel Review: Malcolm X

“In the end, the only certainty may be that America had lost one of its most original and outspoken leaders.” page 101

Malcolm X: A Graphic Biography by Andrew Helfer, art by Randy DuBurke.
Serious Comics, Hill and Wang, Farrar Straus and Giroux, New York, 2006.
Graphic novel biography, 102 pages plus extras.
Lexile:  not leveled
AR Level:  6.6 (worth 3.0 points)  .

A black and white comic-style graphic novel biography of Malcolm X.

Malcolm X cover resized
Malcolm X: A Graphic Biography by Andrew Helfer, illustrated by Randy DuBurke.

For some time now, I’ve been trying to find a great middle grade children’s biography of Malcolm X.  I’ve gotten some from the library, and purchased a few.  So far none have greatly impressed me, which is why I’m just now getting around to reviewing them.  Children’s biographies of Malcolm X have a tricky balance to strike.  Islam must be included, since it was an important part of his life and work.  His militant views (and later ideas about a more hopeful society) can’t be left out, but should be presented in a way appropriate for children.  It’s a tall order.

Continue reading “Graphic Novel Review: Malcolm X”

Web: Board Book Lists

Some other diverse board book lists.

So, a while back I mentioned that when I started reviewing board books, it was difficult to find diverse board book lists.  That wasn’t so much because they don’t exist, as because most of the ones I found have problematic content, or are board and picture books mixed together.  Here are a few pretty good ones.

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We Sang You Home back cover with text “When wishes come true.”

AICL has a great list of Native board books.

This is important because most other lists (including some I’ll share) have poor indigenous representation.  I always look for a review from AICL or an #ownvoices reviewer, and check if the author/illustrator are Native.

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Dim Sum for Everyone! by Grace Lin.

PragmaticMom has a good top ten of multicultural board books.  The caveat is that I would NOT recommend Mama, Mama, Do You Love Me? – see above for better Native books.

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It’s Ramadan, Curious George by Hena Khan, illustrated by Mary O’Keefe Young.

While it wasn’t recommended as a “diverse books list”, I loved that most of the books on this list are diverse, including Hawaiian, Native, and specialty religious books that are diverse.

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Whose Knees Are These by Jabari Asim, illustrated by LeUyen Pham.

And finally, Drivel and Drool has a list broken down by ethnicity of the main character, with again the caveat to please check the Native books against AICL’s listing as some are problematic.  I like that this book includes some nonfiction board books.

 

Review: Sugar

“It’s pretty. ‘Til you get close. Then sugar gets nastier than any gator. Sugar bites a hundred times, breaking skin and making you bleed.” page 6

Sugar by Jewell Parker Rhodes, illustrations by Neil Brigham.
Originally published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Hachette, New York, 2013.
My edition is Scholastic, New York, 2015.
Middle grade historical fiction, 272 pages + author’s note.
Lexile:  430L  .
AR Level:  2.9 (worth 4.0 points)  .
NOTE: This is the second book published (chronologically the first) in the Louisiana Girls Trilogy.

The ten-year-old narrator of this novel is named after the type of plantation she works on: Sugar.  Slavery ending doesn’t seem to have changed much, other than all of her friends moving away.  Orphaned Sugar doesn’t have the resources or family to leave.  But she does have spirit and dreams – dreams of playing all day, going to school, and even of making new friends.  When the plantation owner decides to bring Chinese workers in,  are they competition or potential allies?

Sugar by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Since I’ve been complaining about historical fiction featuring black characters, I decided to try to find some good examples, so we took a trip to the used bookstore.  This historical novel takes place over the course of a year, measured by the different seasons of the sugarcane cycle.  It starts with winter in 1870 and moves through planting and then harvest in 1871.  The epilogue takes place in spring of that year. Continue reading “Review: Sugar”

Review: Dare to Dream

“In the years following her husband’s death, Coretta committed herself to fulfilling Martin’s dreams and a few of her own.” page 65

Coretta Scott King: Dare to Dream by Angela Shelf Medearis, illustrated by Anna Rich.
Puffin, Penguin Group, New York, 1994.
Biography, 81 pages including index.
Lexile:  790L  .
AR Level:  6.4 (worth 1.0 points)  .
NOTE: Part of the Women of Our Time Series.

A middle-grade biography of Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and a civil rights activist herself.

Dare to Dream Coretta Scott King
Coretta Scott King: Dare to Dream by Angela Shelf Medearis, illustrated by Anna Rich.

Continue reading “Review: Dare to Dream”

E-book Review: Lynching in America

“In all of the subject states, we observed that there is an astonishing absence of any effort to acknowledge, discuss, or address lynching.” Introduction, key point 5.

Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror, a report of the Equal Justice Initiative.
Published online at lynchinginamerica.eji.org/report/, Montgomery, Alabama.
Accessed in July 2017.

This report walks the reader through the events surrounding racial terror lynchings in America, including case studies of individual lynchings and photographs, illustrations, legal reactions, and original source quotations.

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Lynching in America Report Introduction. Freely available at lynchinginamerica.eji.org/report/ .

I don’t recall how this crossed my path.  Normally I prefer to read books in person, whether I purchase, checkout from the library, or borrow from a friend.  However, some popular books are easier to get from the library as ebooks and older books that are out of print can often be found online for free.

This book doesn’t fit either of those categories.  Instead, this is a report from a team led by Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy.  His book’s been on my TBR for a while now (I even had it checked out, but had to return it as there was a hold).  After reading this report, Just Mercy got bumped up on my must-reads.

Continue reading “E-book Review: Lynching in America”

Web: Racism in America

A few articles to read.

As a side note, I would like to mention that lately it seems my timed posts are off and not all of my “likes” are sticking.  I have still been reading but just noticed these issues today (when there were ten extra scheduled posts in my queue) and am busy, so it may take some time to correct them.  My apologies.

Now on to the articles.

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“The Most Racist Places in America by Google Search” map from the Washington Post

The Most Racist Places in America, According to Google by Christopher Ingraham.

If nothing else, click to this article to see where your hometown (or a major city you’ve visited) falls in private racist opinions.  I also found the methodology of how they decided to measure for racism fascinating.

Geography of Hate: Geotagged Hateful Tweets in the US .

This one is not an article, just a series of maps using tweets to determine relative hate speech in different counties over the US.  I found this interesting as well, although it seems more easily skewed by individual users, and not all tweets are geotagged (probably accounting for the lack of hate speech in some cities).

Three Quarters of Whites Don’t Have Any Non-White Friends by Christopher Ingraham.

Another intriguing and eye-opening article from the Washington Post.  (They do limit the number of free articles you can read per month, so this will be the last I link from them.)

“The implication of these findings is that when we talk about race in our personal lives, we are by and large discussing it with people who look like us.”

How America Spreads the Disease that is Racism by not Confronting Racist Family Members and Friends by April Harter.

I feel like the most important part of this is the racism scale, but the whole article is interesting.  Personally I feel that our education system should be a primary method of confronting racism (see the previous article about social networks) but any method would work.

Todd Robertson photograph
This historic 1992 photograph by Todd Robertson captures an interaction between a young boy in KKK robes and the African-American trooper there to protect his civil liberties.

How a KKK Rally Image Found New Life 20 Years After it was Published by David Griner.

This image has been circulating widely on social media once again the past week.  It’s had a long life because this accidental image says so much about our nation.  There’s even a reflection sheet for teachers to use (PDF).  This article gives a detailed history on the photo and includes reflections from the photographer.

Photographer, Trooper from Klan Rally Image Meet by Andrew Beaujon.

More backstory on the historic image, this time from the trooper portrayed in the photograph.