DICE Movies, Books, TV Shows & Podcasts Recommendations by Liz
The Antiracist: How to Start a Conversation About Race and Take Action, by Kondwani Fidel- This book describes the various racial injustices Black people face, including police brutality, violence, lack of access to fresh food, stereotypes, and poor living conditions and education. It describes the author's own experiences growing up Black in West Baltimore. It also highlights the racial biases that both White people and people of color have against people of color and suggests ways that they can increase their activism.
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkerson- This book describes how the caste system has shaped the United States and shows how our lives are still influenced by hierarchy, particularly when it comes to discrimination against minorities. It compares the American caste system with those of Nazi Germany and India. It also gives examples of how caste affects the health and well-being of minorities, as well as how it affects the American political climate.
Passionate for Justice: Ida B. Wells as Prophet for Our Time, by Catherine Meeks & Nibs Stroupe- A historical account of Ida B. Wells co-authored by a Black woman and a White man. This book describes her life, involvement in social justice work, and how she shaped both their lives and views of racism in today's society.
The Poet X, by Elizabeth Acevedo- A novel in verse about teenage Afro-Latina poet Xiomara Batista, who feels misunderstood in her Harlem neighborhood. Xiomara’s life and innermost thoughts, including her romance with a fellow classmate, frustrations with her religious mother, and relationships with her best friend and her twin brother, are expressed through poetry. Xiomara gets invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, but it takes her a while to muster the courage to go due to her mother’s expectations that she attend church confirmation class instead. However, once Xiomara finally gets the courage to join the poetry club, she finds her voice and a new community of friends.
The Fire Next Time, by James Baldwin- This book contains two essays about race in America, including a letter to Baldwin's nephew. The letter to Baldwin's nephew focuses on the role of race in American history, including the mistreatment of Blacks at the hands of Whites. The second essay deals with the relationship between race and religion and describes both Baldwin's early experiences in the Christian church and the ideas of Black Muslims.
Breathe: A Letter to My Sons, by Imani Perry- This book explores the experience of coming of age as a letter from a mother to her Black sons. Perry expresses love to her sons and encourages them to be themselves and be proud of their heritage. She references ideas from leaders such as James Baldwin, W.E.B. DuBois, and Ida B. Wells.
Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World, by Linda Hirshman- This book is about the relationship between Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the first two women on the Supreme Court. It discusses how they fought to be recognized in a male-dominated Supreme Court, how they influenced each other, each of their lives, and their differing political ideologies,. It also discusses how they shaped both the Supreme Court and feminism through cases on fair pay, abortion, affirmative action, sexual harassment, and other issues.
Negroland: A Memoir, by Margo Jefferson- This memoir is about Jefferson's experiences growing up in 1950s-1960s upper-class Black America. It details Jefferson's experiences growing up in privileged private schools, clubs, fraternities, and sororities. In these institutions, achievement and hair color were important and upper-class Blacks saw themselves as "better" than poor Blacks but still couldn't quite fit in with Whites. This book references the influence of popular culture icons on upper-class Black philosophy and how Jefferson's experiences growing up in an upper-class Chicago neighborhood interacted with the civil rights and feminist movements.
An American Sunrise: Poems, by Joy Harjo- A book of poetry focused on Native American land and the traditions of Harjo's ancestors. Some topics include Harjo's mother's death, her involvement in the Native American rights movement, and her romance with her current love.
Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World, by Tracy Kidder- A biography of Paul Farmer, who founded Partners in Health, an organization dedicated to solving global health problems. This book describes health issues like AIDS and multidrug resistant tuberculosis in countries such as Haiti, Peru, and Cuba; the impact poverty and social structure have on disease; and Farmer's balance between travel and medical school.
The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World, by Melinda Gates- This book is about Melinda Gates's efforts to lift women up. It showcases lessons Melinda has learned from people she's met at work and while traveling and covers topics such as child marriage, education, lack of access to contraceptives, and gender inequality both in the workplace and in marriages. It also discusses Melinda's journey from school to working at Microsoft to starting a family and her own foundation, as well as how her own marriage with her husband, Bill Gates became equal.
Thick: and Other Essays, by Tressie McMillan Cottom- I second Cecilia Tellis's recommendation. This feminist book of essays is about what it's like to be a Black woman and covers topics such as beauty, media, money, technology, Black ethnics vs. Black Americans, discrimination in health care, and being seen as "too much".
What Kind of Woman: Poems by Kate Baer-This collection of poetry describes the beauty and struggles of being a woman today. It covers topics such as friendship, motherhood, coming of age, identity, and men.
She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story that Helped Ignite a Movement, by Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey- A story of two journalists' investigation of Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault of others at his company, Miramax, and how it affected the #MeToo Movement. Features interviews with actresses, former Weinstein employees, and other sources. This investigation resulted in many women going on the record, and other allegations of sexual abuse arose as well, including at McDonald's, by Donald Trump, and Christine Blasey Ford's testimony against supreme court justice Brett Kavanaugh.
The Virgin Suicides, by Jeffrey Eugenides- In this novel, the five beautiful Lisbon sisters, who are watched from afar from their male neighbors, all commit suicide over the course of a year. The boys piece together the mystery of the girls' family issues and adolescent angst. Although this novel is set in a White, middle class suburb of Detroit, I enjoyed the focus on mental health issues and mental health awareness. This novel was also remade into a movie, which I saw in June and highly recommend.
Educated: A Memoir, by Tara Westover- This memoir is the story of Tara Westover, who was born to a family in Idaho that did not believe in education or the government. Because of Tara's family's isolation from society, no one ensured that Tara got an education or stopped one of her brothers from becoming violent. Nevertheless, Tara was determined to get into college to learn more about the world after she saw another brother get into college. Although Tara often felt like an impostor and had to struggle in college due to not having a basic education, she received a high GPA due to her hard work and got a PhD from Cambridge University.
Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America, edited by Ibi Zoboi- A book of young adult short stories about growing up as a Black teenager in America. Includes stories about sisters exploring their relationship at summer camp in Oregon, two girls kissing, a debutante dating a boy her mother would not approve of, a love story at a hackathon camp, three friends walking back from the pool, and others.
Becoming, by Michelle Obama- A memoir/autobiography written by the former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, about her childhood in the South Side of Chicago, education, career, relationship with Barack Obama, challenges balancing motherhood and work, and experiences and initiatives as First Lady.
This is Your Time, by Ruby Bridges- This picture book is about civil rights icon Ruby Bridges's experiences as the only child at William Frantz Elementary School after White segregationists pulled their children out. It also describes her experiences with civil rights today and calls young people to fight for racial equality. This book is perfect either for educating young children about racism or if you just want something you can read in one sitting on the subject.
My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies, by Resmaa Menakem-I second Tom Nielsen's recommendation of this useful book. It discusses how racism and racial trauma manifest in the body, including theories such as the lizard brain, clean and dirty pain, and the soul nerve. This book also describes neuroscience and somatic healing techniques for healing racism in our bodies. Finally, this book suggests steps we can take to become more inclusive of others and transcend the racial divide.
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi- A young adult remix of the national book award winning Stamped from the Beginning, by Ibram X. Kendi that is an interesting, fast-paced little nugget of history. If you want a more detailed version, my friend read the adult Stamped from the Beginning as an audiobook. Both the adult and young adult versions take the reader through America's racist past and present, from 1415, when the world's first racist appears, to today. They describe how racist ideas started, discuss how some seemingly anti-racist figures actually held some racist beliefs, and tell readers how to identify and prevent racist thoughts.
Not in My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City, by Antero Pietila- This book describes the history of discrimination against African Americans and Jewish people in Baltimore, MD. It focuses on discriminatory housing practices, including blockbusting, redlining, predatory lending, and targeting minorities for subprime loans. It also discusses the White flight to the suburbs after World War 2 and touches on the decline of the public transportation system in Baltimore. This book may be of particular interest to those DICE members in the Maryland or DC Chapters, since this is close to home for a lot of us.
How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir, by Saeed Jones- A memoir by a young, Black, gay man in the South who is trying to come out and belong within his family and within society. Jones discusses his boyhood, adolescence, college years, and graduate school years trying to become a writer. He describes his relationships with his family and friends, as well as with lovers and random flings. The intersectionality between race and sexuality, power and vulnerability, and love and grief are discussed.
Down Along with that Devil's Bones: A Reckoning with Monuments, Memory, and the Legacy of White Supremacy, by Connor Towne O'Neill- If you haven't read this book already for last Wednesday's webinar, I thought it was very informative about the history of racism in America. This book describes the history of White supremacy in America through the battle over whether to take confederate monuments down. This book centers around the monument of Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, in Selma, Alabama, but it also discusses other confederate monuments in Memphis, Tennessee and Nashville, Tennessee.
Echo: Scandinavian Stories About Girls. edited by Ia Dubois and Katherine Hanson- A collection of short stories, selections from memoirs, and children's stories by Scandinavian female authors about Scandinavian girls. Discusses friendship, family life, and school life, among other topics.
So You Want to Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Olou- A guide to talking about different subjects relating to race, such as intersectionality, affirmative action, hair touching, white privilege, and "model minorities". Includes the author's own experience dealing with discrimination related to these subjects.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown, by Talia Hibbert- This romance novel, the first of a series about three African American sisters by a Black British author, is about Chloe Brown, a chronically ill computer geek who writes a list with seven items to help her "get a life" after a near death experience. Chloe enlists the help of Redford "Red" Morgan, a hot superintendent with a motorcycle and tattoos who is a secret painter, to help her be bad. Chloe already secretly spies on Red while he paints, but she finds herself falling for him as she gets to know him better and learns a lot about his secrets, including why he doesn't show his art to anyone anymore.
Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehshi Coates- A letter from a Black father to his teenage son that answers questions about how racial classification hurts Black people and what coming of age in a Black body is like. Coates describes his experiences growing up in Baltimore City, studying in the all-Black "mecca" of Howard University, living in his current home in New York City, and traveling abroad in Paris.
My Own Words, by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams- I actually read this one two years ago, but the DC Chapter is reading it for their book club in February, so I thought now would be a good time to recommend it. In this biography, Justice Ginsburg talks about gender equality, being Jewish, the Supreme Court, her hobbies, her relationship with her husband, Marty, her law career, the U.S. constitution, and her friendships with other justices. Her biographers, Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams, introduce each chapter and include quotes from interviews with the justice.
In Praise of Paths: Walking Through Time and Nature, by Torbjorn Ekelund- A memoir of one person's experiences walking everywhere after his epilepsy diagnosis rendered him unable to drive. In this book, Ekelund describes his interest in the paths he walked and the health and psychological benefits of walking.
Aphro-ism: Essays on Pop Culture, Feminism, and Black Veganism from Two Sisters, by Aph Ko and Syl Ko- A book of essays about how Black veganism is a different form of activism than mainstream White veganism and how treating nonhuman animals and Black humans with dignity are equally important. This book also discusses how White veganism can be implicitly racist through their emphasis on similarities to Black vegans because they deny Black vegans' lived experiences. and it touches on how women are seen as objects of beauty.
Upright Women Wanted, by Sarah Gailey- A Western novel focusing on librarians. The main character, Esther, has hidden in the librarians' wagon to avoid a marriage her father has arranged for her after her best friend and lover, Beatriz, was hanged. The librarians are seemingly nun-like and are in charge of an approved materials list, but they are secretly queer and on a mission to escort three women to Utah.
I am Greta- This documentary follows Greta Thunberg. a Swedish climate change activist with Asperger's syndrome, as she starts a school strike for the climate. It follows her travels around the country and internationally as she tries to persuade people to listen to scientists' research on the climate crisis.
Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution- This documentary, executive produced and directed by Barack and Michelle Obama, is about a summer camp for teenagers with disabilities that helps inspire a movement to pass equal rights laws for people with disabilities.
Love is All You Need- This short film is about a reversed world where homosexuality is mainstream and heterosexuality is forbidden. In this film, a girl and a boy develop a love affair and get teased by their homosexual classmates.
Vanilla Sky- This fantasy romance movie is about a self-involved publishing magnate who has trouble differentiating dreams from reality after a car accident with a resentful lover. I thought it was great at showing that even the most privileged people can end up with disabilities and mental illnesses at some point in their lives.
The United States vs. Billie Holliday- This musical drama depicts Billie Holliday's experiences being followed by the FBI both for drug possession and for singing Strange Fruit, which was an anti-lynching song. This movie also depicts Holliday's affair with FBI agent Jimmy Fletcher.
Chi-Raq-In this musical crime comedy drama, the girlfriend of a Chicago gang leader persuades other women to deny sex from the men in their lives to stop gang violence. This film is based on the Greek tragedy Lysitrata.
John Lewis: Good Trouble- A documentary about civil rights icon John Lewis's 60+ years of social activism and legislation on civil rights, voting rights, health care reform, gun control, and immigration. Features interviews with other politicians and acquaintances of John Lewis.
On the Record- This documentary focuses on sexual abuse and harassment allegations against hip-hop artist Russell Simmons. It features interviews with 20 women, but it centers on Drew Dixon, who Simmons raped in his apartment. This documentary also highlights the erasure of Black women's voices from the MeToo movement and the difficulty many Black women have in choosing between protecting Black men and speaking out against rape.
Circus of Books- A conservative Jewish couple takes over an adult bookstore as a way of supporting their family during hard economic times. This bookstore becomes a huge distributor of gay porn. The couple has challenges balancing their huge involvement in the LGBTQ+ community due to the bookstore's serving as a refuge for gay people during the AIDS crisis with their religion's issues with homosexuality. Their son also comes out as gay, which the woman has a hard time reconciling with her religion. In addition, the bookstore faces an obscenity prosecution, resulting in jail time for the couple.
Moonlight- A coming-of-age drama about a Black, gay boy growing up in a poor Miami neighborhood trying to find where he fits in.
Nomadland- The experiences of a van-dwelling nomadic woman whose husband died and her struggles to find work and with the nomadic lifestyle.
In My Shoes: Stories of Youth with LGBT Parents- This short documentary features youth with LGBTQ parents. It depicts their family lives and their views on marriage, the stigma attached to having LGBTQ parents, what it means to be a good ally, social justice, and how they define family.
Picture a Scientist- This documentary features women scientists' experiences with discrimination in the sciences, including sexual harassment and more subtle instances of discrimination such as not being heard in meetings and being passed over for promotions. It features biologist Nancy Hopkins, chemist Raychelle Burks, and geologist Jane Willenbring, who all discuss their experiences in the sciences. This documentary also features other scientists who offer their views on how to make science more diverse, inclusive, and equitable.
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom- This film depicts fierce African American Blues icon Ma Rainey's conflicts with her bandmates and efforts to record an album in Chicago in 1927.
I am Not Your Negro- This documentary depicts African American writer James Baldwin's final manuscript on racial issues in modern America. I first saw this film early pandemic but found it so engaging that I saw it a second time with DCSLA this weekend. It portrays the influence of Baldwin's upbringing in culturally diverse New York City and his relationships with Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Medgar Evers on his racial views.
Loving- This biographical romance movie describes the story of Mildred and Richard Loving, the interracial couple in the case Loving vs. Virginia, which overturned Virginia state laws banning interracial marriage. Before taking part in that case, the Lovings were arrested and banished from their Virginia home to Washington, D.C. for a 25 year sentence. Their desire to raise their children near family in the Virginia countryside motivated them to take their case to the Supreme Court five years later.
Challenging Homophobia- A short film discussing the psychological effects of homophobic bullying. The bullying of LGBTQIA+ students leads to absenteeism and to LGBTQIA+ students leaving school earlier than heterosexuals. This film centers around the efforts of Turton High School Media Arts College in Bolton to incorporate the prevention of homophobic bullying into their school curriculum for Year 9 students together with Bolton Public Health. The curriculum involves a lesson geared to help students change their attitudes towards LGBTQIA+ students' sexuality, and it features interviews with LGBTQIA+ staff who have experienced discrimination to demonstrate the ill effect bullying has on LGBTQIA+ British students and teachers.
Soul- This Disney comedy is the first Pixar film to feature an African American lead protagonist. It centers around Joe, a middle school band teacher who is feeling unfulfilled with life. He is good at and passionate about jazz, but his soul and body get separated just as he gets his first big jazz gig. This story is about his quest to reunite his soul and body and explores themes of friendship, generosity, and the meaning of life.
The Life and Death of Marsha P. Johnson- In this documentary, Victoria Cruz re-examines the 1992 death of Marsha P. Johnson, a legendary transgender woman and Stonewall activist, using archival interviews with Johnson and new interviews with Johnson's family, friends, and other activists. This death was initially thought to be a suicide, but there were suspicions that it was a murder. Also centers around Johnson's fellow activist Sylvia Rivera.
A documentary about the 1996-1997 efforts of a group of exotic dancers at the San Francisco Peep Show's Lusty Lady to unionize, Live Nude Girls Unite depicts the dancers' working conditions, anger over race-based scheduling and lack of sick pay and holidays, and bargaining efforts with the anti-union law firm that the managers hire. This documentary is narrated by Julia Query, a lesbian dancer and comedian who has difficulty telling her mother that she is a stripper.
One Night in Miami- This fiction film is about the lives of and relationships between Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, Muhammad Ali, and Jim Brown. It centers around a night in Miami celebrating Ali's boxing win. The men discuss racial issues and their roles in the civil rights movement in the 1960s.
Prom- In this musical movie, a group of self-obsessed actors travels to a conservative town in Indiana to support a high school girl who wants to take her girlfriend to the prom but who is kept out of prom due to being gay. After a civil rights case, prom gets a Broadway makeover.
Let's Get Frank- This documentary is about congressman Barney Frank's involvement in President Bill Clinton's impeachment hearings. It also covers Frank's coming out and the homophobia of Congress in the 1990's.
... I second Marilee Tutte's recommendation of Rising Phoenix. This documentary film, which is about the Paralympic games, is very heartwarming because it features the stories of athletes with disabilities, their challenges, and how they got into their sports. It also discusses what different countries thought of the Paralympic games and how they inform a global understanding of disability and diversity.
Hillary- This documentary mini-series examines the life story of the former First Lady Hillary Clinton. It details her involvement in the feminist movement, her presidential campaigns, and her relationship with her husband, Bill Clinton.
Leading Women- This CNN TV series follows two to three famous, extraordinary women in each episode. I especially recommend the episode on Beyonce and Sheryl Sandberg, where the hosts discuss how Beyonce got famous through her girl band, Destiny's Child, and Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook discusses her philosophy on leaning into the workplace and feminism.
Queers- Eight new writers respond to the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act, which penalizes homosexual acts between men.
Political IQ, Episode 37: Adjust What You’re Doing By 1%- This podcast episode, hosted by Nancy Halpern and featuring Aubrey Blanche, is about how organizations should “walk the walk” instead of “performing” diversity, about being more empathetic, and about the importance of inspiration.
Dare to Lead with Brene Brown: Episode on the Dangers of Toxic Positivity- This podcast episode features Dr. Susan David, author of Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life. In this podcast episode, Brown and David discuss how emotional flexibility benefits us as leaders. However, they say that fake positivity actually hurts our mental health. They discuss the importance of being honest with one's emotions to having good mental health.
Consider This, April 2 Episode: It Hurts People: How Trans Youth Are Being Targeted by State Legislation-This podcast, hosted by NPR, details how transgender youth are hurt by health care and sports legislation in various states. including South Dakota, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Alabama. It highlights the ban of gender-affirming therapy in Alabama for teens under age 19, and it provides examples of transgender youth that have benefitted from gender affirming therapy and the ability to compete as their preferred gender in sports.
Demystifying Diversity- This podcast features firsthand accounts of unexamined biases and bigotry. It features topics such as biraciality, developmental disabilities, Asian Americans as the "model minority", LGBTQIA+ people, body diversity, and interracial marriage.
Shots in the Back: Exhuming the 1970 Augusta Riot- Describes the first major Civil Rights Era riot in Augusta, Georgia, resulting in the murder of Charles Oatman, an African American teenager who the police held in the County jail.
Intersectionality Matters- This podcast, hosted by Kimberly Crenshaw, discusses various topics through an intersectional lens, including voting rights, the Me Too movement, the Stonewall uprising, slavery, and others.
Dewey Decibel Podcast Episode 59: Talking About Race- This episode of the American Library Association's Dewey Decibel podcast is a discussion about race and racism. It features an interview with author, Fox sports analyst, and former NFL linebacker Emmanuel Acho about his book and YouTube series Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man. It also features an interview with youth media services manager Jessica Bratt discussing the toolkit she created for librarians to discuss and create programs on racial issues.
1619, from The New York Times- This podcast series discusses the history and consequences of slavery. It is part of the 1619 Project, which observes the 400th anniversary of the start of slavery in America. I especially liked the episodes on health care, which highlighted how African Americans were disadvantaged due to lack of health insurance and access to doctors, and on music, which described the history of African American musical traditions.
Women in Business Technology Episode 4: Strategies for Male Allies and Advocates- In this episode, the hosts attend the Create and Cultivate Conference and talk to attendees about how important diversity, inclusion, and community are in career development. This episode features male ally Scott Hanselman, who discusses how to create inclusive teams, and how he lends his privilege to populations underrepresented in technology, including women and racial minorities. Hanselman says he seeks out women on his technology radio show since they are less likely to self-promote their work than men.