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.
Empathy makes us human. Humans make structures that rob us of empathy when we need it most. Helen Riess is trying to reverse that trend.
- Heart – mind = emotional quicksand. Mind – heart = greeting card sympathy
- The doctor burnout epidemic and how to fix it
It's not yet clear why this is happening, but there are plenty of suspects
- A rise in mortality for factory farm pig sows has growers worried.
- There are some obvious possible reasons, but studies are underway.
- Rise in deaths points toward a need for more humane treatment of pigs.
A tech-minded approach to drug fraud could squash those who enable the deadly opioid crisis.
- The same way blockchain technology could end the blood diamond trade, it could also stop those profiting from the opioid crisis by removing the traditional opportunities for drug fraud, explains Hyperledger's Brian Behlendorf.
- "I tend not to blame the drug taker because I think they're just medicating to meet their needs, it's really the distributors and those writing fake prescriptions and others who are enabling a lot of this crisis, and I think distributed ledger technology can help us understand where there might be abuses in that system."
- Blockchain technology could also revolutionize health information systems — from harnessing the IoT to ensure patients take their medication at the right time and often enough (drug adherence is a big problem), to checking the credibility of doctors, and not having to cart around a small filing cabinet of your life's medical records every time you change doctors or providers.
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