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.
Whether or not there are tropical islands in 50 years might depend on whether or not we can eat fewer hamburgers.
- Results from recent research suggest we have roughly 12 years to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. If we can't, then the amount of greenhouse gases released to the atmosphere will have compounding feedback loops that progressively warm the planet up further.
- One of the biggest culprits in warming the planet is the production of beef and sheep meat.
- Anybody could help prevent climate change by consuming less beef and sheep, or by cutting them out entirely.
For the first time since the Vikings sailed, the Icelandic public will soon be able to worship classical Norse gods like Odin, Thor, and Frigg at a public temple built in their honor.
For the first time since the Vikings sailed, the Icelandic public are worshiping classical Norse gods like Odin, Thor, and Frigg at a public temple built in their honor. "The worship of Odin, Thor, Freya and the other gods of the old Norse pantheon became an officially recognized religion exactly 973 years after Iceland’s official conversion to Christianity."
"Didn't you see me Googling 'baby not moving?'" Gillian Brockell wrote a heartbreaking open letter to big tech companies imploring them to change the ways they target ads to users.
- Advertisers are increasingly using hyper-specific information on users, collected by big tech companies, to sell products.
- An open letter published Tuesday outlines how this kind of ad targeting can be not only creepy, but also inadvertently cruel and distressing.
- Also on Tuesday, the House questioned Google's CEO, partly on issues related to data privacy.
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