Minority Book Report: How Reading Grows Our Empathy

What's it like to be a minority in America? To find out, read a book written by one.

Fiction is so much more than a vehicle for entertainment. Graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang believes "own-voice" stories, told by people from within those communities, have immense power to show us the world through the eyes and mind of a different cultural group. It can also make our real-world interactions with people who are different to us so much richer, through empathy. "In my personal experience it seems like reading those stories ultimately emphasizes the common humanity that we all have," he says. "I think that’s how your empathy grows." Of course, with minority stories has come much debate surrounding how they're presented, and who is behind it. What is cultural appropriation, and do we even know what's being appropriated? Can just anyone tell a minority story? Listen to Yang dissect this topic through the lens of his own experience — and find out why he's been boycotting the blockbuster film The Last Airbender since 2010 (still going strong). Gene Luen Yang's most recent book is Paths & Portals.

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Why It's Time to Retire the Term "Political Correctness"

Political correctness can go the f*ck to sleep, says Adam Mansbach. The term has been co-opted by so many social factions that it's more of a hindrance to the cause of respect than a help.

Political correctness has united us all—in hatred, says Adam Mansbach, author of Go the F*ck to Sleep. The principle of calling people by the names and pronouns that show them respect is valid, if not critical, but the term has been co-opted and re-tooled to become counterproductive to that ideal. "If you are whining about the way that political correctness and some culture of respect prevents you from being an asshole, then you’re an asshole." What does political correctness rob you of, other than the freedom to be misogynistic, homophobic, or racist, he asks? However Mansbach is the first to acknowledge that 'PC' needs a re-brand, because the terminology matters, especially when it divides people against a principle that most of us would probably agree on. Adam Mansbach's most recent book is co-authored with Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel: For This We Left Egypt?.

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