Thought I'd just read a little of the beginning because I'm already reading a couple other books, but ended up not being able to stop until I finishedThought I'd just read a little of the beginning because I'm already reading a couple other books, but ended up not being able to stop until I finished it in one sitting. Living in Salt Lake City, this story has never been far from my mind as we all wondered why Susan Cox Powell's obvious murderer had not yet been arrested. This book filled in many details but I still can't understand how the West Valley City Police could let the murderer slip away to kill again. That same abundance of caution is something many others don't enjoy, so why him? Another smiling white man convinces the legal system that he's not dangerous, while narcissism and misogyny roil just beneath the surface. What a scary and sad story. Susan Cox Powell and her sons deserved far better.
ETA: I had hoped for some photographs of the various people involved in this case, and even of the different settings when they searched for Susan and the crime scene in Washington state....more
The African characters--if you can call them that--came straight out of central casting. Nothing but stereotypes. No wonder Chinua Achebe felt compellThe African characters--if you can call them that--came straight out of central casting. Nothing but stereotypes. No wonder Chinua Achebe felt compelled to write Things Fall Apart....more
This book has much to recommend it. With (very short) chapters entitled "No, But Where are You FROM?"; "If You Would Just Stop Talking About Race, RacThis book has much to recommend it. With (very short) chapters entitled "No, But Where are You FROM?"; "If You Would Just Stop Talking About Race, Racism Would Go Away"; "I Don't Mean to Be Racist, BUT"; "He's a Different Kind of Black"; "It's Not Easy Being White"; and "If They Can Say It, Why Can't I?" among others, Reyes-Chow addresses common misconceptions with straightforward honesty but also gentle compassion. This would be a great book to spark discussions among friends; the author is influenced by his Christian background and work and is looking for healing and reconciliation around the issue of racism. The book is really a practical guide to communicating about racism with those who are without malice but misinformed.
But...a caveat. In a section called "Intent; Language," Reyes-Chow states,
"In very general terms, I see racism as that which justifies and reinforces the use of prejudice or privilege in order to maintain power, influence, or control over another group or individuals. And no, I do not believe racist behavior is confined to any one particular group."
There's the rub. Because the author is grounding his discussion of racism in the present day and specifically in the United States, it appears he isn't considering how racism came to be in the first place, especially when defining his use of the words "race" and "racism." He's defining race and racism in terms of prejudice based in ethnicity and culture as well as skin color, but that definition muddies the waters by conflating the issue in a way that makes further understanding more difficult instead of less.
Racism has always been about a hierarchical structure that favors light skin over dark skin. Black skin was seen as a marker, by those with light colored skin, of a less evolved, less civilized, less HUMAN being. Racism is grounded in skin color, not in ethnicity and culture. Often those things go hand-in-hand, but not always. Reyes-Chow describes his own cognitive dissonance when confronted with a young man whose phenotype was clearly Korean but who identified as a white Southerner. In racism, phenotype trumps all. Racism is about devaluing dark skin. Albert Einstein understood this concept when he said, "Racism is a disease of white people."
There is a chapter in Reyes-Chow's book called, "Minorities Can't Be Racist," and in it, like in every chapter, the author sets out to debunk what he sees as a misconception. For evidence, he states:
"As an Asian-American, I know that White folks do not hold the corner on racism toward African Americans. A family member once told me, when we were discussing interracial dating, that there was a Chinese saying, 'The closer to gold, the closer to heaven,' which means that the lighter the skin, the better. I don't know if that's a real Chinese saying, but it can be a real part of Chinese culture in the United States and reflect real views toward dark-skinned people..."
So close! He almost sees that it's about skin color, but then,
"As more and more races interact with greater frequency, deeply held negative beliefs about others based on race [culture and ethnicity] will undoubtedly begin to emerge in new ways in systems and institutions. We must examine the racism that manifests itself in instances of society-wide discrimination as well as the racism that may play into our day-to-day interactions. We must be open to the idea that, now, racism is not solely White people's problem." [insert mine]
The definition of racism hasn't changed, despite the author's claim that "things are very different than they were even a generation ago, both in how people have experienced racism as well as how folks talk about it." Racism is about judging skin color and finding darker skin to be lacking, relative to lighter skin. Always has been. Wars between ethnic groups are not racism, they're tribal conflicts. Racism is a white construct to serve the economic and social purposes of white people. People of color are perhaps influenced by racism, and may buy into the idea that "white is right." But being influenced by racism is not the same as being racist. Racism is seeing white as the best, and seeing anything darker as lesser. It's undoubtedly a disease of white people. ...more
This book was filled with useful and necessary information, but the poor girl desperately needed an editor. Several misspellings and sentences with miThis book was filled with useful and necessary information, but the poor girl desperately needed an editor. Several misspellings and sentences with missing words, but the worst was "Marlow's Hierarchy of Needs." Not a good look for a book aimed at teachers....more
Read this just today--fast paced, interesting characters, pretty good, not great. Got it through the Amazon program that lets Prime members read a booRead this just today--fast paced, interesting characters, pretty good, not great. Got it through the Amazon program that lets Prime members read a book before it's published. Great diversion on a Sunday afternoon....more
Locke has quite the touch with the cozy Victorian mystery. Her setting is San Francisco, circa 1880, and her characters are true and interesting. ThisLocke has quite the touch with the cozy Victorian mystery. Her setting is San Francisco, circa 1880, and her characters are true and interesting. This latest mystery surrounds schoolteachers, and Locke hits exactly the right note....more
One of those children/young adult books that reads pretty well for adults, too. So many of my high school students, even in the upper grades, are readOne of those children/young adult books that reads pretty well for adults, too. So many of my high school students, even in the upper grades, are reading the various Rick Riordan series that I thought I should give it a try when this one came up on Kindle....more
At first Don's voice was a little much--too robotic and taxing to follow, but I got used to it and he changed quite a bit over the course of the book.At first Don's voice was a little much--too robotic and taxing to follow, but I got used to it and he changed quite a bit over the course of the book. Ended up really liking it....more