Article of the day: five essential books on American politics by writers of color

Continuing the theme of diversifying writing on American politics, here are five great books by writers of color.   If you purchase any of these through the Amazon Affiliate links below, all the proceeds will be donated to the ACLU.

  • We Should All Be Feminists. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s short book is a wonderful introduction to contemporary feminism, and the prospect of liberating both women and men from the limits of patriarchy.  If you meet any Swedish 16-year olds in the next year, you’ll have a good topic of conversation.
  • Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party.  Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin Jr. have written an engaging, well-researched history of the Black Panthers’ social activism in 1960s Oakland.  Insightful points on the way that the white majority often treats any type of organization by the black community as disproportionately threatening.

Article of the day: five essential books on American politics by women

Following up on yesterday’s article, here are five excellent books on contemporary American politics by women.  If you purchase any of these through the Amazon Affiliate links below, all the proceeds will be donated to the ACLU.

  • $2 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America.  Kathryn Edin and H. Luke Schaefer made a surprising discovery as they wrote this book: more than 1.5 million Americans of all races, ages and genders live with nearly no cash income.  The book covers their diverse survival strategies, and the pervasive shortcomings of the welfare system.
  • The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America.  Naomi Murakawa’s work provides a useful complement to The New Jim Crow.  She traces the roots of the contemporary penal system to WWII-era attempts to protect the rights of minorities by expanding the government’s policing capacities — powers which would later be used as tools of control over the same groups.
  • Hiding from Humanity: Disgust, Shame and the Law.  Martha Nussbaum writes eloquently about the philosophical roots of attempts to regulate sexual behavior through the law.  A useful analysis of “moral” arguments against queer rights.

Article of the day: five books to change conservative minds

Cass Sunstein at Bloomberg has suggested a list of five well-argued books that might shift conservative opinion on a variety of social issues.  As he notes,

After reading these books, conservatives are hardly likely to rush out and volunteer to work for the Democratic Party. But they will end up a lot more humble. They’ll also have a far better understanding of why so many of their fellow citizens disagree with them — and on one or two issues, they might even change their minds.

One shortcoming of the list is that all of the authors are men, and most are white.  I’ll feature some essential reading by women and people of color over the coming days.