Cover image for We are not yet equal : understanding our racial divide
Title:
We are not yet equal : understanding our racial divide
ISBN:
9781547600762
Physical Description:
270 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
General Note:
Includes reading group guide.
Added Author:
Summary:
When America achieves milestones of progress toward full and equal black participation in democracy, the systemic response is a consistent racist backlash that rolls back those wins. We Are Not Yet Equal examines five of these moments: The end of the Civil War and Reconstruction was greeted with Jim Crow laws; the promise of new opportunities in the North during the Great Migration was limited when blacks were physically blocked from moving away from the South; the Supreme Court's landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision was met with the shutting down of public schools throughout the South; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 led to laws that disenfranchised millions of African American voters and a War on Drugs that disproportionally targeted blacks; and the election of President Obama led to an outburst of violence including the death of black teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri as well as the election of Donald Trump. This YA adaptation will be written in an approachable narrative style that provides teen readers with additional context to these historic moments, photographs and archival images, and additional backmatter and resources for teens. --
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Summary

Summary

Carol Anderson's White Rage took the world by storm, landing on the New York Times bestseller list and best book of the year lists from New York Times , Washington Post , Boston Globe , and Chicago Review of Books. It launched her as an in-demand commentator on contemporary race issues for national print and television media and garnered her an invitation to speak to the Democratic Congressional Caucus. This compelling young adult adaptation brings her ideas to a new audience.

When America achieves milestones of progress toward full and equal black participation in democracy, the systemic response is a consistent racist backlash that rolls back those wins. We Are Not Yet Equal examines five of these moments: The end of the Civil War and Reconstruction was greeted with Jim Crow laws; the promise of new opportunities in the North during the Great Migration was limited when blacks were physically blocked from moving away from the South; the Supreme Court's landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision was met with the shutting down of public schools throughout the South; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 led to laws that disenfranchised millions of African American voters and a War on Drugs that disproportionally targeted blacks; and the election of President Obama led to an outburst of violence including the death of black teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri as well as the election of Donald Trump.

This YA adaptation will be written in an approachable narrative style that provides teen readers with additional context to these historic moments, photographs and archival images, and additional backmatter and resources for teens.


Author Notes

Tonya Bolden is the author of ten books, including "Strong Men Keep Coming", "The Family Heirloom Cookbook", & "33 Things Every Girl Should Know". She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-Prolific and celebrated author Bolden has adapted Anderson's White Rage for YA audiences. The text guides readers through an analysis of the relentless attacks on the protected rights and social mobility of black Americans by white people through legislative and judicial acts. It outlines the repeated obstructions, from their passage into the present decade, of the 14th and 15th amendments, and the Civil and Voting Rights Acts of 1960s. The work details countless cases and includes paths to further research in its establishment of the undeniable legislative and judicial roots of systemic racism, including the criminalization of black people in the 1980s during the crack epidemic. Students are also presented with an account of the Southern Manifesto in 1956, when just two years after Brown vs. Board of Education, 101 members of Congress "stalled and defied" educational equity. Teens will gain insight into the roles of dissenting Supreme Court Justices, like Thurgood Marshall and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in speaking out against blatant attacks, state after state and case after case, on equitable education, nondiscrimination, and voting rights. Using this easy-to-follow informational text with a robust list of citations, readers can witness 150 years of continuous systemic racism and deeply understand the mechanism by which federal protection is given then taken away by special agency, state, or local political action. VERDICT A needed resource for YA nonfiction collections.-Sara Lissa Paulson, City-As-School High School, New York City © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Horn Book Review

In this young adult adaptation of the bestselling adult nonfiction title, White Rage, Anderson (with Bolden) seamlessly paints a picture of American racism that is difficult to deny. Through five distinct time periods, the authors take readers on a lucid journey through eras of racial progress and the ensuing white backlash that followed each. Appended with a discussion guide. Reading list. Ind. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus Review

"It is time to rethink America."Adapted from Anderson's bestselling White Rage (2016), this book summons young people to bear witness to the devastatingly expansive strategies white citizens have taken up to preserve the racialized violence that emerged from the founding of the nation. What is white rage? White rage works "subtly, almost imperceptibly" in American halls of power, utilizing an array of policy assaults, legal contortions, and physical violence to punish black resolve and block efforts toward full and equal citizenship. Anderson writes in an accessible narrative form, showing young people through pivotal historical events the ways in which white rage has been able to effectively undermine black-led social movements for equality and justice. It begins with the rise of the 19th-century Black Codes and the emergence of Jim Crow during the betrayal of Reconstruction. It continues into the Great Migration, when many black families chose to move North for opportunities and were met with extreme racist violence from white hate groups. The text carries us up to the current president and is enhanced by archival photographs. In her foreword, celebrated young adult author Nic Stone (Odd One Out, 2018, etc.) reminds us that it's not just about exposing the roots of American racism, but what we do about it now.Revealing our racialized past and arguing that we must refashion our nation in pursuit of a new, beloved, and just society. (discussion guide, sources, resources, index) (Nonfiction. 12-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


New York Review of Books Review

Reading and Writing Wrongs Two books illuminate social justice issues and could inspire teenagers to make real change. WE ARE NOT YET EQUAL Understanding Our Racial Divide By Carol Anderson and Tonya Bolden Read by Robin Miles 6 hours, 42 minutes. Audible Studios. Ages 14 and up. WE SAY #NEVERAGAIN Edited by Melissa Falkowski and Eric Garner Read by Melissa Falkowski, Eric Garner and the Parkland student journalists 5 hours, 20 minutes. Listening Library. Ages 14 and up. it is hard to sitthrough an entire listening of "We Are Not Yet Equal" and leave with hope. The problem is that Carol Anderson's book performs its task so well that the final chapter, in which we are told that the time has come for change, can't help feeling hollow and obligatory. Anderson, a professor of African-American studies at Emory - working with a capable assist from the children's nonfiction writer Tonya Bolden - elaborates on the premise of her previous book "White Rage." There she argued that while the fires and protests that characterized cities like Ferguson and Baltimore in 2014 and 2015 were seen as an explosion of black rage, quite the opposite was true. The murders of unarmed citizens and the subsequent acquittals of police officers charged in their deaths were just the latest expressions of a white rage that had terrorized the entire country since Reconstruction, making victims of blacks and poor whites alike. Such a simple but profound shift of perspective - the changing from an ahistoric lens to a historical one - is where "We Are Not Yet Equal" excels. By meticulously tracing a path from the fateful deals white abolitionists cut with the Confederacy during Reconstruction right up to the contemporary efforts to roll back voter protections as a response to Obama's ascendancy, Anderson paints a dire picture of a country that not only combats equal citizenship for black people, but prioritizes that combat over governmental responsibilities including national security, liberty and democracy. Such an idea seems to defy explanation, but in a chapter that outlines the obsession of Southern lawmakers with preventing - through legislation, arrests and violence - blacks from escaping the slow-motion genocide of the early-20th-century South, Anderson states it clearly: "The bottom line," she writes, "was that black economic independence was anathema to the power structure that depended on cheap, exploitable, rightless labor and required black subordination." Such an analysis marries the angles of race and class that are frequently played against each other by whites on both sides of the political aisle, from Bernie bros to conservative courts that have spent decades looking for a way to deny the full enforcement of Brown v. Board of Education. In writing the majority decision in 1972's San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, the Supreme Court justice Lewis Powell declared that school funding disparities created by property taxes were not unconstitutional, despite those disparities tracking faithfully along racial lines. "The Equal Protection Clause does not require absolute equality," Powell famously wrote. By declaring that "insofar as the financing system disadvantages those who reside in comparatively poor school districts, the resulting class cannot be said to be suspect," Powell concluded that the problem was class, not race, despite an enormous disparity in school funding for white students versus minority students in the state. Anderson's book is a story of obsession, of a country's obsession with denying rights to a people. Told in the narrator Robin Miles's studied, authoritative (though sometimes slow) delivery, the audiobook manages to allow, rather than force, the subject's devastating emotional undertone. Miles, who has narrated works by Roxane Gay, bell hooks and N. K. Jemisin, excels at a technically perfect Standard American dialect but interjects just enough slightly sarcastic pauses and subtly acerbic inflections to emphasize the true meaning of the text. in the wake of the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., true meaning was much harder to come by. But "We Say #NeverAgain" takes a powerful tack. The book comprises the writings of the school's journalism and broadcasting classes as well as work by the student reporters and editors of the school newspaper, The Eagle Eye. In the wake of the horrific events of Feb. 14, 2018, these kids were staked to a complex intersection of roles, as traumatized victims, subjects in national news stories, activists and journalists at the center of an event that captivated the country. How they worked their way through this while also being teenagers is the subject of these pieces, which are read by the students and two of their teachers, Melissa Falkowski and Eric Garner. Where "We Are Not Yet Equal" provides a wide-lens view of legislation and the inner workings of government, "We Say #NeverAgain" is granular. The students use this platform, built unwillingly out of a horror no child should face, to share on-the-ground perspectives on everything from gun legislation to adolescent depression, the failures of the national media to the individual acts of courage that defined the day of the shooting. Perhaps it is because I am myself a journalist that the parts that had me taking off my headphones and hiding my eyes so that no one would see me tearing up had to do with these kids' almost quixotic clarity about what journalism is actually for. "We owed our school a complete record of the year," Nikhita Nookala states with nearly comic lucidity in her essay "Sweating Under the Spotlight: Recognition and Responsibility." If only it were that simple, one might think. The thrilling stunt pulled off by "We Say # Never Again" is that it is. The pieces here do much more than rehash statements about the press as a defender of democracy. In their direct actions, their certitude and their honesty, the journalism students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas are a case study in what to do when things fall apart. In a particularly potent piece, Nyan Clark reports that the senior Kelly Plaur wrapped her legs around her teacher to help shield her from bullets as they huddled in a corner of the room during the shooting. "I wanted to protect her because I knew she had kids of her own and a husband," Plaur later recalled. "I was thinking, 'What if this was my mom?' " The class she was in was studying the history of the Holocaust. Elsewhere, the student journalist Rebecca Schneid despaired to learn that within days of surviving a school shooting, she was being called a fake and an enemy of the people. Yet this did not stop her. "I have decided," she concludes, "to focus on the immense amount of love we have received from around the world to energize me and push me to work even harder toward our goal. The hate would only get in my way, and we have too much to accomplish." Such pluck is childish to be sure, but here childishness is neither naive nor wrongheaded. These young journalists are as aware of the stakes and obstacles of the moment nationally as they are personally. "In many ways speaking out was our form of grieving," Schneid later reveals. "The only time I felt composed in any way was during those interviews." This unambiguity characterizes the book from beginning to end, elevating it above much more studied and complex treatises on this country's perplexing moment. A collective decision was made, for example, to never mention the shooter's name, on the undeniable logic that he "does not deserve more coverage than his victims." One wishes that the adult media could just as easily access this uncomplicated level of moral instinct and understanding. Had we been able to, such a book may well have never been necessary in the first place. "We Are Not Yet Equal" makes clear that this country's collective history is nothing short of heinous. And yet, the extent to which good has ever stood a chance has been the precise extent to which every single individual who has believed in something better has acted in service of that vision. In her final chapter, Carol Anderson tells us it is time to rethink America. But it is the journalism students from Parkland who show us how. CARVELL Wallace has written for The Times Magazine and hosts the Al Jazeera podcast "Closer Than They Appear."