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Reading for Change

Readers' Cafe

Writings on the Wall Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White
Blindspot Hidden Biases of Good People
A Black Women's History of the United States
We gon' be alright  notes on race, culture, and resegregation.
Tears We Cannot Stop
Biased Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do
Stony the Road Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow
Democracy in Black How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul
How We Fight for Our Lives
America for Americans A History of Xenophobia in the United States
The Making of Asian America
Don't Label Me
Busted in New York and Other Essays
Please Stop Helping Us How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed
Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching A Young Black Man's Education
Seven Fallen Feathers Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City
They Called Us Enemy
We Matter Athletes and Activism
Here for It Or, How to Save Your Soul in America
The Fire This Time A New Generation Speaks about Race
Uncensored My Life and Uncomfortable Conversations at the Intersection of Black and White America
Writings on the Wall: Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White / Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Since retiring from professional basketball as the NBA's all-time leading scorer, six-time MVP, and Hall of Fame inductee, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has become a lauded observer of culture and society, a New York Times bestselling author, and a regular contributor to The Washington Post, TIME magazine and TIME.com.

He now brings that keen insight to the fore in Writings on the Wall: Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White, his most incisive and important work of non-fiction in years. He uses his unique blend of erudition, street smarts and authentic experience in essays on the country's seemingly irreconcilable partisan divide - both racial and political, parenthood, and his own experiences as an athlete, African-American, and a Muslim. The book is not just a collection of expositions; he also offers keen assessments of and solutions to problems such as racism in sports while speaking candidly about his experiences on the court and off.
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Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People / Mahzarin R. Banaji

I know my own mind.I am able to assess others in a fair and accurate way. These self-perceptions are challenged by leading psychologists Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald as they explore the hidden biases we all carry from a lifetime of exposure to cultural attitudes about age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, social class, sexuality, disability status, and nationality.

Blindspot?is the authors' metaphor for the portion of the mind that houses hidden biases. Writing with simplicity and verve, Banaji and Greenwald question the extent to which our perceptions of social groups - without our awareness or conscious control - shape our likes and dislikes and our judgments about people's character, abilities, and potential.In Blindspot, the authors reveal hidden biases based on their experience with the Implicit Association Test, a method that has revolutionized the way scientists learn about the human mind and that gives us a glimpse into what lies within the metaphoric blindspot.

A Black Women's History of the United States / Daina Ramey Berry

In centering Black women's stories, two award-winning historians seek both to empower African American women and to show their allies that Black women's unique ability to make their own communities while combatting centuries of oppression is an essential component in our continued resistance to systemic racism and sexism. Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross offer an examination and celebration of Black womanhood, beginning with the first African women who arrived in what became the United States to African American women of today.

A Black Women's History of the United States reaches far beyond a single narrative to showcase Black women's lives in all their fraught complexities. Berry and Gross prioritize many voices: enslaved women, freedwomen, religious leaders, artists, queer women, activists, and women who lived outside the law. The result is a starting point for exploring Black women's history and a testament to the beauty, richness, rhythm, tragedy, heartbreak, rage, and enduring love that abounds in the spirit of Black women in communities throughout the nation.

We gon' be alright : notes on race, culture, and resegregation. / Jeff Chang

In these provocative, powerful essays acclaimed writer/journalist Jeff Chang ?takes an incisive and wide-ranging look at the recent tragedies and widespread protests that have shaken the country. Through deep reporting with key activists and thinkers, passionately personal writing, and distinguished cultural criticism, We Gon' Be Alright links #BlackLivesMatter to #OscarsSoWhite, Ferguson to Washington D.C., the Great Migration to resurgent nativism. Chang explores the rise and fall of the idea of "diversity," the roots of student protest, changing ideas about Asian Americanness, and the impact of a century of racial separation in housing. He argues that resegregation is the unexamined condition of our time, the undoing of which is key to moving the nation forward to racial justice and cultural equity.

Tears We Cannot Stop / Michael Eric Dyson

As the country grapples with racist division at a level not seen since the 1960s, one man's voice soars above the rest with conviction and compassion. In his 2016 New York Times op-ed piece "Death in Black and White," Michael Eric Dyson moved a nation. Now he continues to speak out in Tears We Cannot Stop -- a provocative and deeply personal call for change. Dyson argues that if we are to make real racial progress we must face difficult truths, including being honest about how black grievance has been ignored, dismissed, or discounted.

"The time is at hand for reckoning with the past, recognizing the truth of the present, and moving together to redeem the nation for our future. If we don't act now, if you don't address race immediately, there very well may be no future."

Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do / Jennifer L. Eberhardt PhD

You don't have to be racist to be biased. Unconscious bias can be at work without our realizing it, and even when we genuinely wish to treat all people equally, ingrained stereotypes can infect our visual perception, attention, memory, and behavior. This has an impact on education, employment, housing, and criminal justice. In Biased, with a perspective that is at once scientific, investigative, and informed by personal experience, Jennifer Eberhardt offers us insights into the dilemma and a path forward.

Eberhardt works extensively as a consultant to law enforcement and as a psychologist at the forefront of this new field. Her research takes place in courtrooms and boardrooms, in prisons, on the street, and in classrooms and coffee shops. She shows us the subtle--and sometimes dramatic--daily repercussions of implicit bias in how teachers grade students, or managers deal with customers. It has an enormous impact on the conduct of criminal justice, from the rapid decisions police officers have to make to sentencing practices in court. Eberhardt's work and her book are both influenced by her own life, and the personal stories she shares emphasize the need for change. She has helped companies that include Airbnb and Nextdoor address bias in their business practices and has led anti-bias initiatives for police departments across the country. Here, she offers practical suggestions for reform and new practices that are useful for organizations as well as individuals.
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Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow / Henry Louis Gates Jr.

The abolition of slavery in the aftermath of the Civil War is a familiar story, as is the civil rights revolution that transformed the nation after World War II. But the century in between remains a mystery: if emancipation sparked "a new birth of freedom" in Lincoln's America, why was it necessary to march in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s America? In this new book, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., one of our leading chroniclers of the African-American experience, seeks to answer that question in a history that moves from the Reconstruction Era to the "nadir" of the African-American experience under Jim Crow, through to World War I and the Harlem Renaissance.

Through his close reading of the visual culture of this tragic era, Gates reveals the many faces of Jim Crow and how, together, they reinforced a stark color line between white and black Americans. Bringing a lifetime of wisdom to bear as a scholar, filmmaker, and public intellectual, Gates uncovers the roots of structural racism in our own time, while showing how African Americans after slavery combatted it by articulating a vision of a "New Negro" to force the nation to recognize their humanity and unique contributions to America as it hurtled toward the modern age.

Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul / Eddie S Jr Glaude

America's great promise of equality has always rung hollow in the ears of African Americans. But today the situation has grown even more dire. From the murders of black youth by the police, to the dismantling of the Voting Rights Act, to the disaster visited upon poor and middle-class black families by the Great Recession, it is clear that black America faces an emergency - at the very moment the election of the first black president has prompted many to believe we've solved America's race problem.

Democracy in Black is Eddie S. Glaude Jr.'s impassioned response. Part manifesto, part history, part memoir, it argues that we live in a country founded on a "value gap" - with white lives valued more than others - that still distorts our politics today. Whether discussing why all Americans have racial habits that reinforce inequality, why black politics based on the civil-rights era have reached a dead end, or why only remaking democracy from the ground up can bring real change, Glaude crystallizes the untenable position of black America--and offers thoughts on a better way forward. Forceful in ideas and unsettling in its candor, Democracy In Black is a landmark book on race in America, one that promises to spark wide discussion as we move toward the end of our first black presidency.

How We Fight for Our Lives / Saeed Jones

Haunted and haunting, Jones's memoir tells the story of a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears. Through a series of vignettes that chart a course across the American landscape, Jones draws readers into his boyhood and adolescence - into tumultuous relationships with his mother and grandmother, into passing flings with lovers, friends and strangers. Each piece builds into a larger examination of race and queerness, power and vulnerability, love and grief: a portrait of what we all do for one another - and to one another - as we fight to become ourselves.

Blending poetry and prose, Jones has developed a style that is equal parts sensual, beautiful, and powerful - a voice that's by turns a river, a blues, and a nightscape set ablaze. How We Fight for Our Lives is a one of a kind memoir and a book that cements Saeed Jones as an essential writer for our time.

America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States / Erika Lee

The United States is known as a nation of immigrants. But it is also a nation of xenophobia. In America for Americans, Erika Lee shows that an irrational fear, hatred, and hostility toward immigrants has been a defining feature of our nation from the colonial era to the Trump era. Benjamin Franklin ridiculed Germans for their "strange and foreign ways." Americans' anxiety over Irish Catholics turned xenophobia into a national political movement. Chinese immigrants were excluded, Japanese incarcerated, and Mexicans deported. Today, Americans fear Muslims, Latinos, and the so-called browning of America.

The Making of Asian America / Erika Lee

The definitive history of Asian Americans by one of the nation's preeminent scholars on the subject.In the past fifty years, Asian Americans have helped change the face of America and are now the fastest growing group in the United States. But as award-winning historian Erika Lee reminds us, Asian Americans also have deep roots in the country. The Making of Asian America tells the little-known history of Asian Americans and their role in American life, from the arrival of the first Asians in the Americas to the present-day. An epic history of global journeys and new beginnings, this book shows how generations of Asian immigrants and their American-born descendants have made and remade Asian American life in the United States: sailors who came on the first trans-Pacific ships in the 1500s; indentured "coolies" who worked alongside African slaves in the Caribbean; and Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, and South Asian immigrants who were recruited to work in the United States only to face massive racial discrimination, Asian exclusion laws, and for Japanese Americans, incarceration during World War II.

Don't Label Me / Irshad Manji

Don't Label Me shows that America's founding genius is diversity of thought. Which is why social justice activists won't win by labeling those who disagree with them. At a time when minorities are fast becoming the majority, a truly new America requires a new way to tribe out.

Enter Irshad Manji and her dog, Lily. Raised to believe that dogs are evil, Manji overcame her fear of the "other" to adopt Lily. She got more than she bargained for. Defying her labels as an old, blind dog, Lily engages Manji in a taboo-busting conversation about identity, power, and politics. They're feisty. They're funny. And in working through their challenges to one another, they reveal how to open the hearts of opponents for the sake of enduring progress. Readers who crave concrete tips will be delighted.

Studded with insights from epigenetics and epistemology, layered with the lessons of Bruce Lee, Ben Franklin, and Audre Lorde, punctuated with stories about Manji's own experiences as a refugee from Africa, a Muslim immigrant to the U.S., and a professor of moral courage, Don't Label Me makes diversity great again.

Busted in New York and Other Essays / Darryl Pinckney

In these twenty-five essays, Darryl Pinckney has given us a view of our recent racial history that blends the social and the personal and wonders how we arrived at our current moment. Pinckney reminds us that "white supremacy isn't back; it never went away." It is this impulse to see historically that is at the core of Busted in New York and Other Essays, which traces the lineage of black intellectual history from Booker T. Washington through the Harlem Renaissance, to the Black Panther Party and the turbulent sixties, to today's Afro-pessimists, and celebrated and neglected thinkers in between.

These are capacious essays whose topics range from the grassroots of protest in Ferguson, Missouri, to the eighteenth-century Guadeloupian composer Joseph Bologne, from an unsparing portrait of Louis Farrakhan to the enduring legacy of James Baldwin, the unexpected story of black people experiencing Russia, Barry Jenkins's Moonlight, and the painter Kara Walker. The essays themselves are a kind of record, many of them written in real-time, as Pinckney witnesses the Million Man March, feels and experiences the highs and lows of Obama's first presidential campaign, explores the literary black diaspora, and reflects on the surprising and severe lesson he learned firsthand about the changing urban fabric of New York.

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Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed / Jason L. Riley

Why is it that so many efforts by liberals to lift the black underclass not only fail, but often harm the intended beneficiaries? In Please Stop Helping Us, Jason L. Riley examines how well-intentioned welfare programs are in fact holding black Americans back. Minimum-wage laws may lift earnings for people who are already employed, but they price a disproportionate number of blacks out of the labor force. Affirmative action in higher education is intended to address past discrimination, but the result is fewer black college graduates than would otherwise exist. And so it goes with everything from soft-on-crime laws, which make black neighborhoods more dangerous, to policies that limit school choice out of a mistaken belief that charter schools and voucher programs harm the traditional public schools that most low-income students attend.

Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching: A Young Black Man's Education / Mychal Denzel Smith

How do you learn to be a black man in America? For young black men today, it means coming of age during the presidency of Barack Obama. It means witnessing the deaths of Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Akai Gurley, and too many more. It means celebrating powerful moments of black self-determination for LeBron James, Dave Chappelle, and Frank Ocean.

In Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching, Mychal Denzel Smith chronicles his own personal and political education during these tumultuous years, describing his efforts to come into his own in a world that denied his humanity. Smith unapologetically upends reigning assumptions about black masculinity, rewriting the script for black manhood so that depression and anxiety aren't considered taboo, and feminism and LGBTQ rights become part of the fight. The questions Smith asks in this book are urgent - for him, for the martyrs and the tokens, and for the Trayvons that could have been and are still waiting.
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Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City / Tanya Talaga

Over the span of ten years,?seven?high school students died in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The?seven?were hundreds of miles away from their families, forced to leave their reserve because there was no high school there for them to attend. Award-winning journalist Tanya Talaga delves into the history of this northern city that has come to manifest, and struggle with, human rights violations past and present against aboriginal communities.

They Called Us Enemy / George Takei

George Takei has captured hearts and minds worldwide with his captivating stage presence and outspoken commitment to equal rights. But long before he braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father's -- and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future.

In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to one of ten "relocation centers," hundreds or thousands of miles from home, where they would be held for years under armed guard.

They Called Us Enemy is Takei's firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, his mother's hard choices, his father's faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future.

What does it mean to be American? Who gets to decide? When the world is against you, what can one person do? To answer these questions, George Takei joins co-writers Justin Eisinger & Steven Scott and artist Harmony Becker for the journey of a lifetime.

We Matter: Athletes and Activism / Etan Thomas

Featuring interviews by former NBA player Etan Thomas with over fifty athletes, executives, media figures, and more--and interwoven with essays and critiques by Thomas.?

We Matter?shares the personal tales and opinions of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Mark Cuban,?Shannon Sharpe, Michael Eric Dyson, Tamika Catchings, Curtis Conway, Harry Edwards, Chris Hayes,?Jahvaris Fulton (brother of Trayvon Martin), Emerald Snipes (daughter of Eric Garner), Allysza Castile (sister of Philando Castile) and many more.

This volume will be an inspiration for many different people: sports junkies; young readers who need words of encouragement from their favorite athletes; parents seeking positive messages for their children; activists who want to hear athletes using their voices to address social justice; and schools that need motivational material for their students.

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Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America / R. Eric Thomas

R. Eric Thomas didn't know he was different until the world told him so. Everywhere he went - whether it was his rich, mostly white, suburban high school, his conservative black church, or his Ivy League college in a big city - he found himself on the outside looking in.

In essays by turns hysterical and heartfelt, Eric redefines what it means to be an "other" through the lens of his own life experience. He explores the two worlds of his childhood: the barren urban landscape where his parents' house was an anomalous bright spot, and the verdant school they sent him to in white suburbia. He writes about struggling to reconcile his Christian identity with his sexuality, the exhaustion of code-switching in college, accidentally getting famous on the internet (for the wrong reason) , and the surreal experience of covering the 2016 election, and the seismic changes that came thereafter. Ultimately, Eric seeks the answer to these ever more relevant questions: Is the future worth it? Why do we bother when everything seems to be getting worse? As the world continues to shift in unpredictable ways, Eric finds the answers to these questions by re-envisioning what "normal" means and in the powerful alchemy that occurs when you at last place yourself at the center of your own story.

Here for It will resonate deeply and joyfully with everyone who has ever felt pushed to the margins, struggled with self-acceptance, or wished to shine more brightly in a dark world. Stay here for it - the future may surprise you.

The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race / Jesmyn Ward

In light of recent tragedies and widespread protests across the nation, The Progressive magazine republished one of its most famous pieces: James Baldwin's 1962 "Letter to My Nephew," which was later published in his landmark book, The Fire Next Time. Addressing his fifteen-year-old namesake on the one hundredth anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Baldwin wrote: "You know and I know, that the country is celebrating one hundred years of freedom one hundred years too soon."

Award-winning author Jesmyn Ward knows that Baldwin's words ring as true as ever today. In response, she has gathered short essays, memoir, and a few essential poems to engage the question of race in the United States. And she has turned to some of her generation's most original thinkers and writers to give voice to their concerns.

Contributors include Carol Anderson, Jericho Brown, Garnette Cadogan, Edwidge Danticat, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, Mitchell S. Jackson, Honoree Jeffers, Kima Jones, Kiese Laymon, Daniel Jose Older, Emily Raboteau, Claudia Rankine, Clint Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Wendy S. Walters, Isabel Wilkerson, and Kevin Young.

Uncensored: My Life and Uncomfortable Conversations at the Intersection of Black and White America / Zachary Wood

As the former president of the student group Uncomfortable Learning at his alma mater, Williams College, Zachary Wood knows from experience about intellectual controversy. At school and beyond, there's no one Zach refuses to engage with simply because he disagrees with their beliefs--sometimes vehemently so--and this view has given him a unique platform in the media.

But Zach has never shared the details of his own personal story. In Uncensored, he reveals for the first time how he grew up poor and black in Washington, DC, where the only way to survive was resisting the urge to write people off because of their backgrounds and perspectives. By sharing his troubled upbringing--from a difficult early childhood to the struggles of code-switching between his home and his elite private school--Zach makes a compelling argument for a new way of interacting with others and presents a new outlook on society's most difficult conversations.

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