Derek Black grew up schooled in racist ideology and was heir-apparent to the while nationalist movement. But in college he came to reexamine his racist beliefs and eventually repudiated them, denounced white nationalism, and publicly divorced himself from the movement. It was quite a shock when all this happened several years ago, and now in Rising Out of Hatred, Eli Saslow recounts Black’s remarkable transformation. An award-winning reporter for the Washington Post, Saslow has crafted an extensive, intimate, and riveting narrative of the evolution of Black’s beliefs, helped by the willingness of Black and his family and friends to cooperate, even allowing access to personal emails, Facebook conversations, and message board chats. While the book focuses on the journey of a single former white nationalist, the story reflects America’s larger ongoing struggles with racism and provides lessons about the potential for dialogue and moral reasoning to overcome hateful dogmas.
With a mix of memoir and essay, Brittney Cooper reflects on how her own life experiences continue to shape her black feminist theory. From poverty to Christianity, she shows how systemic inequalities influence the daily lives of black women and she has learned to grapple with these outside factors affecting her own life. Cooper learns how to take her rage from the mistreatment and sadness she faces in her life and turn it into joy. I highly recommend this book.
Contrary to what many believe, Richard Rothstein states boldly at the start of his book, segregated neighborhoods in the United States didn’t result mostly from individual prejudices, personal choices, or the actions of such private institutions as banks and real estate agencies. They were instead largely a consequence of public policy—of purposeful, systematic, forceful government action. In The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America (Liveright, $27.95), Rothstein describes how laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments promoted discriminatory patterns and the development of racially homogenous neighborhoods. The measures included explicit racial zoning, officially segregated public housing, redlining of mortgages, and conditioning of Federal Housing Administration subsidies for builders on no homes being sold to African Americans. Rothstein argues that as a nation, we have an obligation to remedy the lasting effects of this segregation and have paid an enormous price in the form of wide income disparities and other inequalities by allowing this injustice to fester.