Wednesday, November 30, 2016


"The country now finds itself at a particularly dangerous moment, with advocates of discrimination and hate emboldened as they have not been for decades."
New York Times, November 22, 2016

Does my white male privilege encompass being able to adopt and raise an African-American daughter? It may seem like a question of convolutedness but my conclusion is that questions--not always facile answers--are needed to drive this conversation about race, privilege, and identity.

What is unquestionable is my relationship to race and its increasing importance.. For more than twenty years, it has driven my sensibilities--fine-tuned them, if you will--as long as I apply myself to the syllabus that my quotidian life presents.

My daughter, Katherine, is my teacher but she is also my responsibility. After the election, we posed urgent questions and she encouraged me to share--with my white friends, including my white-straight-male buds--some of the material that I've learned from in the past few years; material that has enhanced the understanding that is my responsibility to learn. 

This is Part One of an evolving list that I share with anyone who wants to look at race through many prisms, prisms that explode into a kaleidoscopic visceral and intellectual blueprint that challenges, informs, entertains, and contextualizes.  
  • The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander: Should be required reading for all Americans who dare to vote. 

  • The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin: In 1963, Baldwin was a prescient force. And gay. Black and gay: yet another abused minority. Baldwin epitomizes intersectionality.

  • The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead: Searingly operatic, with unflinching reality providing the engine of a magical creation.

  • Just Mercy, Brian Stevenson: Additional insight into the corrupt prison system. 

  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Alex Hailey: By including this title on the list, I'm certain to lose some of my Facebook friends from high school. 

  • Moonlight: A subtly rendered film (currently in theaters) that tells an overlooked scenario; the love that dare not speak its name between two Black men. Shimmering with an aspect of sexuality that cannot be denied, Moonlight finds universality in its specificity. 

  • Bad Feminist, Roxanne Gay Ms. Gay speaks eloquently of intersectionality: a concept that I have added to my "library" of mindfulness.

  • 13th: The Atlantic says, that the documentary "compels viewers to sit upright, pay attention, and interrogate words in their most naked form as they’re analyzed and unpacked by DuVernay’s subjects, who include Angela Davis, Charles Rangel, and Henry Louis Gates." Find it on Netflix. 

  • Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance: Discover some answers to "How Could Trump have won?

  • Between The World And Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates: Emotionally and spiritually transcendent.