4 books on race in America everyone should read
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas shares the books that shaped his life.
- These books, from authors like Toni Morrison and John F. Kennedy, open up a whole new perspective on the American landscape.
- Read Jose Antonio Vargas' groundbreaking essay on life as an undocumented migrant in The New York Times Magazine.
- Jose shared his list of 4 books on race in America everyone should read at a recent ScribdChat in San Francisco
- Vargas' memoir, Dear America, Notes of an Undocumented Citizen, is out now.
Growing up, no book stimulated me more than Morrison's The Bluest Eye. I was first assigned to read the book in eighth grade and the "why" of the story haunted me. Why was Pecola wishing for blue eyes when she had black ones? Who told her to want blue eyes? Why did she believe them? To this day, I come back to Pecola's story again and again to unlock whatever meaning I can find.
Reading Toni Morrison and other black writers in childhood challenged me to question and find my place in America; it created a space for me to claim. It also opened the door to other writers of color, specifically Latino authors whose works are often even more marginalized. Sandra Cisneros and her seminal work, The House on Mango Street, is a poignant vignette collection that opens up a whole new perspective on the American landscape.
Wherever I go, I carry a copy of President Kennedy's A Nation of Immigrants, a curious book that he started writing during the 1950s, a curious time in American history. This was the postwar era of Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe, when Black Americans were denied their civil rights and immigration to the country was restricted by what Kennedy described as "discriminatory national-racial quotas." The first time I read this book, I was blown away by the facts surrounding our country's own immigration history, and still am to this day.
Angelou is one of the many authors that I discovered watching The Oprah Winfrey Show and poring over her book club selections. I was particularly drawn to Angelou because she bore a resemblance to my grandmother — they share the same low and rich timbre of voice. Angelou's debut memoir is a beloved modern classic; it's a poetic coming-of-age story about a life lived with grit and grace.
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Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?
A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.
- The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
- Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
- Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.
- It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
- Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
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