DICE Movies, Books, TV Shows & Podcasts Recommendations by Liz
Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi- This novel is about two half sisters, Effia and Esi, who were born in two different villages in 18th-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives comfortably in Cape Coast Castle, while her sister Esi is imprisoned underneath her in the castle's dungeons without her knowing. Esi is then sold, enslaved, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren end up as slaves. Effia's children and grandchildren go through the warfare of Ghana, while Esi's descendants experience the Civil War, the Great Migration, coal mines, and jazz clubs in Harlem.
If You Could See the Sun, by Ann Liang- In this young adult novel, Chinese American teenager Alice Sun feels invisible at her elite Beijing international boarding school, where she's the only scholarship student among wealthy Chinese teenagers. However, soon, Alice starts actually turning uncontrollably invisible. When Alice's parents tell her they can no longer afford her tuition, even with the scholarship, Alice takes advantage of her new power by making money from revealing shocking secrets her classmates want to know. However, the tasks soon grow from scandals to actual crimes, and Alice needs to decide if it's worth risking her life and losing her conscience for.
Powershift: Transform Any Situation, Close Any Deal, and Achieve Any Outcome, by Daymond John- In this book, Black business owner Daymond John shows readers how to make big changes in their professional lives. This means gaining influence by making a good impression on others that will develop your reputation, developing a good negotiation style, and developing relationships with connections you will make along the way. Daymond also describes how he got to where he is today and how he shifted from a clothing mogul to a television personality by reinventing his image, mastering negotiation, and building relationships with others.
The Truths We Hold: An American Journey, by Kamala Harris- This book, by Kamala Harris, the first and current African American woman vice president in the United States, is about Harris's experiences growing up in Oakland, California, her rise to becoming one of the most famous political leaders today, and her experiences dealing with complicated issues that brought voices to many people, including poor people, survivors of sexual assault, racial minorities, women, and LGBTQ+ people. Kamala also discusses her relationship with her husband, Doug and her experiences balancing being a political figure with being a stepmom to Doug's children from a previous marriage. Finally, Kamala discusses the challenges we face in this world and how we can confront them.
Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism, by Bell Hooks- This book, by famous African American woman author Bell Hooks, is about the impact of sexism on Black women during slavery, the stigmatization of Black women, Black male sexism, racism among White feminists, and Black women's involvement with the feminist movement.
Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture, by Shannon Hayes- This book is about men and women who focus on family, community, and the home both as a political and environmental act and for personal fulfillment. They often do not have traditional corporate "careers" but instead spend their days growing their own food and spending less money in order to reduce consumption, drive less, and eat locally. This book discusses what domesticity looks like in a time period that has benefitted from feminism and when being a stay at home parent is no longer equated with monotonous, servant-like tasks or economic insecurity. To these people, money is less important than relationships, independent thinking, and creativity.
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and the Healing of Trauma. by Bessel van der Kolk- This book uses scientific research to show how trauma affects the body and brain, diminishing sufferers' feelings of pleasure and engagement and abilities of self-control and trust. Van der Kolk explores how new treatments like neurofeedback, meditation, sports, theater, and yoga help heal trauma through their activation of the brain's natural neuroplasticity. Van der Kolk also explores how relationships can both activate and heal trauma, depending on their quality.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), by Mindy Kaling- This book, by Indian-American actress and screenwriter Mindy Kaling, is about Mindy's various experiences as a straight-laced child of immigrant professionals, a shy, overweight child afraid of riding a bike, and a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with friends and coworkers. Mindy shares her opinions of what makes a great best friend, what makes a great guy, and how to love yourself regardless of your size, among other things.
You Got Anything Stronger?: Stories, by Gabrielle Union- This book of essays, by African-American actress Gabrielle Union, is about Gabrielle's challenges in life, including her experiences as Isis in the set of Bring it On, her challenges with infertility, her surrogacy journey, and the birth of her child Kavvia James Union Wade, who later came out as transgender. She also discusses one-night stands, girls' nights out to bachelorette parties, rape, and challenges racist institutions and practices in the entertainment industry, asking for equality and accountability.
Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist, by Judith Heumann- Judy Heumann, who was paralyzed from polio at eighteen months, started her struggle for equality at a young age. Judy improved rights for people with disabilities in many ways. She fought to attend elementary school, won a lawsuit against the New York City school system for denying her a teacher's license due to her paralysis, and then became the first wheelchair rider to receive a teacher's license. Judy also led a Section 504 sit-in, which led to the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
With Teeth: A Novel, by Kristen Arnett- This novel is about the efforts of Sammie Lucas to take care of her difficult, moody son, Samson, who does not want to bond with her, while working from home and becoming more and more angry with her self-assured but absent wife, Monika. As Samson grows into a teenager, he becomes more and more unruly, and Sammie's efforts to create a perfect queer family fail when Monika becomes unfaithful and Sammie is forced to look for romance elsewhere.
The Comfort Book, by Matt Haig- This uplifting book is a collection of stories and notes that remind readers that things are not as depressing as they seem. Haig reveals both his own experiences with depression and stories from around the world, and he encourages readers to slow down and appreciate beauty in order to take care of their own mental health.
Afterparties: Stories, by Anthony Veasna So- This collection of short stories is about Cambodian-American life. It includes a story about two drunk brothers attending a wedding afterparty aiming to expose their shady uncle's snobbish treatment of the bride and groom; a gay romance between an older tech entrepreneur and a disillusioned young teacher who loves Moby-Dick; a story about a nine-year-old who learns that his mother survived a racist school shooter; a story about a boy trying to live among monks; and more stories.
Buses are A Comin': Memoir of a Freedom Rider, by Charles Person- This memoir is about Charles Person, the youngest Freedom Rider who, at age 18, left Washington, D.C. by bus for New Orleans to become a great figure in the Civil Rights movement. Person was accompanied by other famous figures like Congressman John Lewis and Congress of Racial Equality Director James Farmer. These Freedom Riders set out to find out whether America would follow a Supreme Court decision that ruled segregation unconstitutional in bus depots, waiting areas, restaurants, and bathrooms across the country. The buses traveled across Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, where they were greeted by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and finally to Alabama. In Alabama, they faced violence from Southern State officials who decided to continue ignoring federal law. They burned one bus that riders narrowly escaped, and a mob beat the riders of the other bus, including Charles, almost to death. Through activism, this book encourages youth to have a voice.
Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law: A Memoir, by Haben Girma- This memoir is the story of Haben Girma, the first deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School. Despite Haben's disability, she developed courage through her summers with her family in Asmara, Eritrea when she faced off with a bull she couldn't see and learned about her parents' stories as refugees in the Eritrean war with Ethiopia. This inspired her to search for knowledge. She convinced her parents to let her travel to Mali, where she helped build a school in the blazing Saharan heat. Haben also learned non-visual techniques for everything from salsa dancing to handling an electric saw. She created a text-to-braille communication system that allowed her to talk with others more easily. Haben convinced the cafeteria staff at her college to email her menus that she could convert to an accessible format by framing it as a civil rights issue, graduated from Harvard Law School, and now advocates for people with disabilities.
Act Your Age, Eve Brown: A Novel, by Talia Hibbert- In this third novel of the Brown sisters series, about three Black sisters, Eve Brown's life always goes wrong, no matter how hard she tries. So she has stopped trying. But once her chaos ruins an expensive wedding, her parents tell her to grow up. Jacob Wayne is a control freak and a perfectionist. So when Eve interviews for his open chef position, he tells her there's not a chance -- until she hits him with her car, he gets a broken ankle, and he needs her help. Cheerful, chaotic Eve is Jacob's born enemy, but the longer the two enemies spend together, the more the animosity between them turns into heat.
This is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism, by Don Lemon- CNN anchor Don Lemon reports and reflects on his slave ancestors, the racism of our culture's messaging, from movies to monuments, and how the economy can uphold or overthrow racism. He speaks on the failure of America's political leaders in dealing with racism and on America's practice of systemic racism, and he discusses what we can do to make America a more just country.
We're Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation, by Eric Garcia- This book, from the perspective of a reporter with autism, shows what it is like to be autistic in America. Garcia discusses his frustration with the media's myths of autism, including the myths that autism is caused by vaccines and the stereotypes as autistic people as White male technology nerds working in Silicon Valley. Garcia's experiences with autism were not stereotypical; he is a Latino man who graduated from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill who works as a journalist covering politics in Washington, DC. Garcia discusses how autistic people do not need to be "fixed" and advocates for better services for them. including education and health care services. Garcia gives autistic people a voice by interviewing many types of autistic people, including those who need more support, autistic people of color, and autistic LGBTQ people.
Paper Bullets: Two Artists Who Risked Their Lives to Defy the Nazis, by Jeffrey H. Jackson- This book tells the history of a brave anti-Nazi campaign undertaken by two French women, Lucie Schwob and Suzanne Malherbe (better known as their artist names Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore), who used their skills as artists to write and distribute "paper bullets", which were insults against Hitler, calls for rebellion, and fictional dialogues used to decrease the morale of Nazi troops on their homeland. Claude and Marcel were finally betrayed in 1944, when they became prisoners of the Germans and were sentenced to death in a court martial. Claude and Marcel were also brave because they were lesbian partners known for cross-dressing and creating gender-bending work called "degenerate art".
Never Anyone But You, by Rupert Thomson- This historical fiction book is about the true story of the love affair between previously mentioned Suzanne Malherbe, a shy seventeen-year-old, and the brilliant but troubled Lucie Schwob, in the years before World War I. When Suzanne's mother marries Lucie's father, the two use their relationship as "sisters" to cover up their romantic relationship and move together to Paris. Changing their names to Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, they become part of the most well-known social circles. In the 1930s, when anti-Semitism becomes more prevalent, they move from Paris to Jersey, where they create a campaign of propaganda against Hitler's occupying forces that makes them risk their lives.
Middletown, by Sarah Moon- In this novel, sisters Anna and Eli are very different, but they get along well. Anna is more feminine and boy-crazy, while Eli wears "boy's clothes" and has a crush on her female best friend. However, their life gets disrupted when their alcoholic mother is arrested for drunk driving and gets put in rehab. The two girls use deception and then run away to stay together.
The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World, by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu- Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have both lived through exile, violence, and oppression. However, they are two of the most joyful people in the world. During a week together, the two of them share intimate stories about their practices and philosophies that lead to their joy, they discuss the eight pillars of joy, and they discuss obstacles to joy, including fear, stress, anger, grief, illness, and death.
Color Outside the Lines: Stories About Love, edited by Sangu Mandanna- This young adult anthology of short stories is about interracial and LGBTQ+ relationships in adolescence. Story themes vary from a flower festival, prom, teasing from classmates due to one's race, bringing a partner of a different racial background home to meet one's family, having a same-sex crush after feeling left out by one's best friend and her boyfriend, and developing a crush on a bookstore worker of the same sex when trying to find books on LGBTQ+ themes.
One Last Stop, by Casey McQuiston- In this LGBTQ+ romance novel, cynical 23-year-old August expects that moving to New York City proves that magic and cinematic love stories don't exist, that it is best to be alone, and that her subway commute will be nothing but boredom and electrical failures. However, there is a gorgeous girl on the train named Jane, a punk lesbian, and August's train commute becomes the best part of her day. August later finds out that Jane is displaced from the 1970s. To save Jane, August will have to use her detective skills and everything else she tried to leave behind in her past.
Am I Blue?: Coming Out from the Silence, edited by Marion Dane Bauer- This book of young adult short stories includes stories by well-known authors for young adults about growing up LGBTQ, or with LGBTQ parents or friends. The stories include themes such as growing up with a father who remarried a man, coming out as lesbian to one's parents, and finding out one's best friend turned boyfriend is actually gay.
The Girls in 3B, by Valerie Taylor- This classic pulp fiction novel is about Annice, Pat, and Barby, three friends who strike out on their own, move in together to the city, and defy traditional 1950's conventions of femininity. These girls experience firsthand the limitations of women's economic reliance on men through their different life experiences, from involvement with a Bohemian man, to a crush on a wealthy boss, to finding a lesbian relationship.
Crazy Rich Asians: A Novel, by Kevin Kwan- In this romance novel, the inspiration for the film Crazy Rich Asians, Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer with her boyfriend, Nick Young, in Singapore. However, he neglects to tell her that his family is very rich, with a huge home and several deals with private planes, and that he is Singapore's most eligible bachelor. As soon as Rachel arrives in Singapore, she has to deal with nosy relatives, old and new money, and devious social climbers.
Heartstopper, Volume Three, by Alice Oseman- In this third novel in the Heartstopper series, Charlie and Nick are officially boyfriends, even though Charlie thought Nick was straight. Nick even has the courage to tell his mom that he is bi. However, coming out happens not just once, but over and over again. During a school trip to Paris, Nick and Charlies' feelings become more serious, and they need each other more than ever as they come out to their classmates.
A History of Scars: A Memoir, by Laura Lee- In this memoir, Laura Lee connects her life as a queer Korean American woman with schizophrenia with her childhood growing up in a family of abuse, illness, and neglect. Lee discusses the grief she feels being separated from her mother, who was relocated to a nursing home in Korea after being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's. She also discusses her experiences with trauma, her experiences growing up as a Korean American child of immigrants, and the effects of her mental illness on her daily life. Finally, Lee discusses the solace her hobbies, including rock climbing, cooking, and writing, provide.
The Mind-Gut Connection: How the Hidden Conversation Within Our Bodies Impacts Our Mood, Our Choices, and Our Overall Health, by Emeran Mayer, MD- This book describes the connection between our brains and our guts. Sometimes our bodies respond faster than our minds, like when we make decisions based on "gut feelings", and sometimes our mental state affects our digestive system, like when we have butterflies in our stomachs before a first date or a big meeting. This book uses science to describe the how the brain, gut, and microbiome communicate and how major health issues such as digestive disorders, obesity, depression, anxiety, allergies, and fatigue can appear when this communication system is unbalanced. Dr. Mayer shows how a healthier diet and lifestyle can improve mental health and immunity and decrease neurological diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, as well as prevent physical health issues.
All American Boys, by Jason Reynolds- This book, by the well-known author of Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, is about two teenagers, one Black and one White, whose lives are changed by an incident of police brutality. Rashad got beat up and wakes up in a hospital, while Quinn witnesses the violence. Rashad deals with his newfound fame as a symbol of police brutality, while Quinn questions his belonging in a racially divided town and gathers up the courage to resist systemic racism.
How to Be Less Stupid About Race, by Crystal M. Fleming- In this book, sociologist Crystal Fleming discusses the myths and half-truths that have made race inaccurately represented in the classroom, media, and politics. Fleming discusses her own experiences as a queer Black millennial, college professor, and researcher. She explains the role of systemic racism in believing racially stupid ideas, such as the ideas that interracial marriage with dissolve racism and that voting for Obama makes one antiracist; and she outlines steps for identifying and dismantling racial oppression.
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, by Robin Wall Kimmerer- This book is about Indigenous plant customs and how humans can be one with plants and nature. It focuses on how plants such as strawberries and sweetgrass and animals such as salamanders can teach us lessons and on how humans can understand the Earth's generosity.
Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America, by Ijeoma Oluo- In this book, Oluo explores the consequences of White male supremacy on women, people of color, and White men themselves through an examination of American history. Oluo discusses the myth of the American cowboys, the controversy of NFL protests, and the backlash against the increasing number of women in American politics, among other topics. She discusses how White men can say and do anything they want without worrying about their status being in jeopardy, while women of color often have to try very hard to get ahead. White men also often think they are being progressive towards women of color but then keep interrupting them and devaluing their voices.
Minor Feelings: an Asian American Reckoning, by Cathy Park Hong- This collection of essays is about poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong's experiences growing up Asian American and about the truths she has observed about racialized consciousness in America. Hong has observed the myth of American optimism and has witnessed the "minor feelings" that happen when you believe the lies you're told about your own racial identity, such as that of the "model minority" and that anyone can work hard and pull themselves up by their bootstraps. She has also observed racism by both Whites and Asians against African Americans and LatinX people in the neighborhood she grew up in, including flight to the suburbs. Hong also discusses her journey to becoming a poet; her relationship with the English language; her experiences with shame, depression, and therapy; and her close female friendships.
Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks, by Jason Reynolds- This book, by well-renowned African American author Jason Reynolds, weaves ten stories together of what happens after the school dismissal bell rings, including discussing boogers, stealing pocket change, kissing someone of one's own gender, putting on cologne to impress the opposite sex, cracking jokes, and more.
Crying in H Mart: A Memoir, by Michelle Zauner- This memoir, by Michelle Zauner, the Asian American Indie rock musician known as Japanese Breakfast, is about Zauner's experiences in her early twenties when her mother was diagnosed with cancer. She was trying to start her music career in Philadelphia, but she put her life on hold and flew back to Eugene, Oregon to be with her mother. This memoir is a coming-of-age story with memories of Zauner's relationship with her mother from her early childhood through the teen years and up to early adulthood. Zauner discusses growing up Asian American and struggling to meet her mother's expectations. She distances herself from her Korean identity in adolescence but then rediscovers it while grieving her mother, and she learns to cook the Korean dishes that make her remember childhood holidays spent with her grandmother in Seoul. Zauner remembers her mother during her weekly trips to the H Mart, her favorite Asian grocery store.
The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song, by Henry Louis Gates Jr.- This book takes readers through five centuries of the history of the African American church in the United States, from Christianity during the transatlantic slave trade to today's political landscape. Over the centuries, African American religion has been the center of resistance to slavery and White supremacy. White supremacists caught on to this and tried to burn Black churches, from the church burnings in the civil rights movement to Dylann Roof's burning of the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charlottesville in 2016. Some African American churches have avoided political engagement in order to avoid destruction, but this has been at the cost of inclusion of other African Americans.
Burnout: the Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski- This book explains how women experience burnout differently than men due to the obstacles and societal pressures women deal with. It is a guide to reducing stress, managing emotions, and experiencing joy. It explains how to complete the biological stress cycle, how to use the "monitor" in your brain to manage frustration, and how to prevent yourself from falling for the Bikini Industrial Complex, which makes it hard for women to love their bodies.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman- In this novel, Eleanor Oliphant is a loner who struggles with appropriate social skills. Her weekends usually involve vodka, frozen pizza, and chats with her mom. However, her life changes when she meets and becomes friends with Raymond, the socially awkward and un-hygenic IT guy from work. They slowly help each other become less isolated after helping an older man who has fallen on the sidewalk, and Raymond eventually helps Eleanor deal with a period of mental illness that results in the uncovering of repressed trauma.
The Soul of a Woman: On Impatient Love, Long Life, and Good Witches, by Isabel Allende- This book is well-known author Isabel Allende's thoughts on what it means to be a woman. Allende describes her experiences growing up in the second wave of feminism in the 1960s, her observations on the accomplishments of the feminist movement, and her path to embracing her sexuality over the course of three passionate marriages. According to Allende, feminists need to feel safe, valued, have their own resources, have control over their bodies, and be loved.
About Us: Essays from the Disability Series of the New York Times, edited and introduced by Peter Atapano and Rosemarie Garland-Thomson- This book of essays, by and about people with disabilities, emphasizes the authors' voices through their stories navigating a society not made for them. The authors discuss their struggles receiving adequate medical care, their experiences with discrimination, and the need to stand up for themselves. Authors include deaf people, blind people, those in wheelchairs, people with mental illness, and people with cerebral palsy, among other disabilities.
Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America, by Stacey Abrams- This book, by African American political leader Stacey Abrams, is about how democracy has been under attack through voter suppression. Abrams would have been the first African American woman governor, but she experienced voter suppression and discrimination first-hand and did not win despite running an excellent campaign. This book argues for more robust voter protections, enhancing identity politics, more moral leadership, and engagement in the census.
We're Going to Need More Wine: Stories, by Gabrielle Union- This book, by African-American actress Gabrielle Union, is about Union's life, including her experiences growing up as one of the few African American students in her Pleasanton, California school; her experiences with rape and its aftermath; her work as an activist for survivors of sexual assault; her roles in Ten Things I Hate About You and Bring it On, among other movies; and the loss of her best friend to cancer. Union also discusses her family drama and discrimination she has faced by others who think they are better than her, her experiences as a stepmother to her husband Dwayne Wade's sons, and her feelings of being unable to escape the paparazzi.
Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know, by Adam Grant- In this book, Grant emphasizes the importance of unlearning and relearning our presupposed assumptions and the importance of staying curious about the world to changing it. Too many of us spend time with people who agree with our beliefs, but Grant emphasizes the importance of getting to know people who disagree with us. People who spend too much time with those who agree with them become preachers, who defend their beliefs; and prosecutors, who attack the other side; while they do not think like scientists, who look for the truth. Intelligence can exacerbate the issue and can make us worse at rethinking. In this book, Grant researches how we can embrace the joy of being wrong and build schools, workplaces, and communities of lifelong learners.
Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools, by Monique W. Morris- This book chronicles the lives of Black girls who are misunderstood and judged by teachers, administrators, and the juvenile justice system. They are stereotyped as having "attitude" and being "Jezebels", among other things, and their potential for a good education and career is thwarted by administrators who are unsupportive. This often makes them get into unhealthy relationships, get arrested for minor outbursts, and makes them drop out of school.
So Lucky: A Novel, by Nicola Griffith- Mara Tagarelli has it all. She is the head of a multimillion-dollar AIDS foundation, great at karate, and happily married. Then, within a week, her wife leaves her, she is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and she becomes unemployed. As she faces her diagnosis, Mara suddenly becomes unable to solve problems, and she feels like everything is a threat. At first, she just feels vulnerable, but then, she realizes those threats are real. Mara struggles to defend herself due to being unable to trust her body and knowing others think she is a cripple. However, life becomes possible when she finds her strengths and learns new ways to fight.
Well-Behaved Indian Women, by Saumya Dave- This novel is a mother-daughter story about three generations of women who struggle to pursue their dreams and find themselves. Simran Mehta feels like her mother is too strict on her, especially when it comes to her writing hobby. However, when a famous, charismatic journalist comes into Simran's life, she questions both her future as a psychologist and her engagement to her high school sweetheart. Nandini Mehta has tried to create an easy life for her family in America and has dealt with her husband's demanding family and racist patients for her children's sake. However, when a former coworker gives her a life-changing job offer, she realizes she's lost herself trying to be the "perfect Indian woman". Mimi Kadakia failed her daughter Nandini, but she is trying to be supportive to her granddaughter Simran. As Nandini and Simran fight and drift apart, Mimi tries to be the bridge between them, even as she keeps her own secrets.
On Juneteenth, by Annette Gordon-Reed- This book is about the history of Juneteenth in Texas, including Major General Gordon Granger's announcement of the legal end of slavery in the state, the conditions of enslaved African Americans that led up to the Civil War, and the hardships African Americans faced afterwards due to Reconstruction and the Jim Crow laws. Gordon-Reed discusses the role African Americans played in Texas, their relationships with Indigenous people, the influences of cowboys and ranchers on race relations, and her own experiences growing up African American in largely White schools.
Fierce Fairytales: Poems & Stories To Stir Your Soul , by Nikita Gill- This book reimagines fairytale classics to be more feminist. Women are more outspoken than docile in this book and do not necessarily need a Prince Charming. Lines blur between heroes and villains, who are really just traumatized, and Gretel can kill monsters on her own.
The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap, by Mehrsa Baradaran- Over 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, Blacks still own under 1% of the country's total wealth. This book examines the racial wealth gap by focusing on Black banks. Housing segregation, racism, and Jim Crow credit policies have created a segregated economy that has prevented Blacks from accumulating wealth. Black banks are needed for Blacks to escape poverty, but these institutions don't generate enough money, and they often fall into poverty themselves. Instead of creating more Black banks, Baradaran calls for more fundamental racial reforms.
If Beale Street Could Talk, by James Baldwin-This novel, by African American author James Baldwin, is about Tish, a Black nineteen-year-old girl in love with young Black sculptor Fonny, who is the father of her child. Tish and Fonny want to get married, but Fonny is falsely accused of rape and sent to prison. Their families try to get him out of jail, and the young lovers face an uncertain future with a wide variety of emotions. There is also a movie adaptation of this book that has the same name, If Beale Street Could Talk. I saw it three and a half years ago pre-pandemic and highly recommend it.
Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, by Emmanuel Acho- This book is about Acho's experiences with race and racism as a Black man growing up in Texas, including his majority White prep school education. It is also a guide to the conversations we need to have to fight racism. Topics include why it's not okay for White people to use the "N" word, whether "Black" or "African American" is more appropriate, whether reverse racism exists, why White privilege and wealth are unrelated, how to be an ally, and why it's important for kids to "see color" to understand the experiences of people of color.
Giovanni's Room, by James Baldwin-This novel, by the well-known African American author James Baldwin, is about David, who finds himself torn between homosexual desire and conventional heterosexual morality in the 1950's Paris of American expatriates, affairs, and violence.
Conversations with Friends, by Sally Rooney- Frances, a quiet, observant, twenty-one-year-old college student and aspiring writer, and Bobbi, her beautiful, self-possessed best friend, were ex-lovers at school. Now the two women perform spoken word poetry together in Dublin, where a journalist named Melissa discovers them. Frances tries to keep her life in check but begins an affair with Melissa's husband Nick that resists her control. Her friendship with Bobbi and relationship with her difficult father also spiral out of her control, which force her to live in the present.
Dear Martin: A Novel, by Nic Stone- African-American teenager Justyce McAllister is top of his class and has a bright future ahead of him, but that doesn't matter to the police officer who put him in handcuffs. And his Black peers from his old neighborhood think he is "too smart", while his White classmates make fun of him and often make racially inappropriate jokes. Justyce starts a journal to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to find answers from his teachings, but he is not sure if they are still relevant today. When Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, and the music is turned way up, a White off-duty police officer gets mad, and Justyce is under attack by the media.
Girl, Woman, Other, by Bernadine Evaristo- This novel follows the lives of twelve Black, British women and their connections to one another. They tell the stories of their friends, family, and lovers. Several, but not all, of these women are LGBTQ.
Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America, by John Lewis- This book, by the late African American United States Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis, describes the principles of protesting injustice and inspiring change in the world and progress towards a more peaceful society. It details how the Civil Rights Movement gave way to the prevalence of protests in modern society, Lewis's experiences collaborating with famous civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., and his commitment to nonviolence despite over 40 arrests and injuries. Lewis's principles of enacting change include faith, patience, truth, study, action, peace, love, and reconciliation.
For Everyone, by Jason Reynolds- This book, by the well-known African American author of Long Way Down, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You, and All-American Boys, is about having the courage to make your dreams come true.
Strangers Assume My Girlfriend is My Nurse, by Shane Burcaw- This book of essays details blogger, author, and entrepreneur Shane Burcaw's experiences living with spinal muscular atrophy, a disease that makes his body weaker as he gets older. This book includes stories of people assuming his girlfriend is his nurse, people patting him on the head instead of shaking his hand, bathroom mishaps, and stories of starting his own business, dating, and living independently, among other things.
Luster: A Novel, by Raven Leilani- This novel is about Edie, a Black woman and artist stumbling through her twenties, working a clerical job, sharing a subpar apartment in Bushwick with a roommate, and making inappropriate sexual choices. And then she falls in love with Eric, a digital archivist in an open marriage with a family in New Jersey. After Edie gets fired, she gets invited into Eric's home (though not by Eric) and becomes a hesitant ally to his wife and a role model to his adopted Black daughter.
The Wife in the Attic, by Rose Lerner- This novel is a queer adaptation of Jane Eyre. Deborah starts work as a governess at Goldengrove to young Tabby Palethorpe but yearns to be Tabby's mother, Sir Kit's companion, and Goldengrove's mistress. These all belong to Lady Palethorpe, and Deborah desires to catch a glimpse of her. When she does, she learns a lot of surprising things about her, and a romance blossoms.
All About Love: New Visions, by Bell Hooks- This book, by the well-known African American feminist author Bell Hooks, is about how love is not necessarily about romance but is instead about compassion, caring, and strength. Many romantic relationships that are idealized as the perfect love lack true love and caring. Instead of simply being filled with sex and desire, love should be healing. By focusing on romantic relationships and male stereotypes of power over women, our society has become loveless.
Reading Behind Bars: A True Story of Literature, Law, and Life as a Prison Librarian, by Jill Grunenwald- If you haven't already read this book for Tuesday's DCSLA nonfiction book club, I highly recommend it! This book is about Grunenwald's experiences working as a prison librarian in Grafton, Ohio after graduating library school. Being hired for one of the few jobs available in her home state just a few months out of library school, Grunenwald was forced to adapt on the spot to metal detectors, security guards, and diverse types of inmates. As time went on, Grunenwald learned how to see the humanity of the prisoners frequenting the library. Just like other library patrons, they wanted to read and receive an education through books.
Just as I Am, by Cicely Tyson- This memoir is about the late African American actress Cicely Tyson's life, relationships, and career as an actress.
Coming of Age in Samoa, by Margaret Mead- This book of anthropology fieldwork is about adolescence in Samoa and how it is different from adolescence in the United States. The angst of adolescence in the United States is caused by societal expectations, not by physical development. Mead proves this through a discussion of the more primitive Samoan culture and how household organization, friendships, education, sexual relations, and the resulting psychological development is different than in the United States.
Once Ghosted, Twice Shy: A Reluctant Royals Novella, by Alyssa Cole-This LGBTQ romance novel is about the romance between Likotsi and Fabiola, two Black women. Likotsi is a busy assistant to the prince, who is trying to woo his betrothed, but she finds time to find Fabiola on a dating app. Their romance ends with Fabiola breaking Likotsi's heart, and months later, Likotsi is back in New York, trying to rediscover happiness. However, life has other plans when she runs into Fabiola on a delayed subway train. Fab asks for one cup of tea, and Likotsi agrees, hoping to know why she was dumped. Fab slowly tells Likotsi why she let her go, and both wonder if they can have a second chance at happily ever after.
Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine, by Damon Tweedy, MD- This book is a Black doctor named Damon Tweedy's reflections on how race plays a critical role in the field of medicine. Black people often experience more health problems than Whites due to social, economic, and cultural factors; and race often influences doctors' encounters with patients. When Tweedy is diagnosed with a chronic illness more common among Black people, the influences of race on medicine have more meaning for him. He explores the challenges Black doctors face and the higher rates of illness among Black people to find better treatment and more empathic care for Black people.
Electric Arches, by Eve Ewing- This book of poetry, art, and prose explores Black girlhood and womanhood.
The Book of Unknown Americans, by Cristina Henriquez- This novel is a book of stories from the point of view of immigrants. It centers around the love between Maribel, a beautiful Mexican immigrant with a traumatic brain injury, and Mayor, a Panamanian American boy. It also focuses on the stories of their families and the immigrant families near them.
Here the Whole Time, by Vitor Martins- This novel is about Felipe, who is looking forward to winter break because he can binge watch Netflix and avoid his classmates who tease him about his weight. However, Felipe's break does not go according to plan because Caio, his neighbor from apartment 57, ends up staying with him for fifteen days. Felipe has had a crush on Caio for a long time, so sharing a room with him amplifies his body image insecurities. However, if Felipe can overcome his insecurities, maybe this break will not be so bad.
Heartstopper, Volume 2, by Alice Oseman- This sequel to the first graphic novel Heartstopper is about Nick's struggle to come out as bisexual after kissing his friend Charlie, who he already knows is gay. Charlie has had a crush on Nick for a while and is sure Nick is not gay, so he is surprised when he discovers Nick has feelings for him too.
The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together, by Heather McGhee- This book is about how racism in politics affects the American economy and how it has costs not just for people of color but also for White people. It discusses what we lose when we believe the "zero sum paradigm", or the idea that progress of some must come at the expense of others. This book contains interviews with White people about how they have lost their homes, jobs, dreams, and ability to move up in society due to racism and greed; and it discusses how public goods such as pools became private due to racism; how unions dissolved; how inequality increased; and how healthcare declined. It also contains an important message that we need to be more empathetic of others and come together for racism to disappear.
This is How it Always Is, by Laurie Frankel- This novel is about Claude, a five-year-old who is the youngest of five brothers, loves peanut butter sandwiches, loves wearing dresses, and wants to be a princess. Claude wants to be a girl when he grows up. Rosie and Penn, Claude's parents, are accepting of who Claude is but don't want to share it with the world yet. They move across the country for Claude to be able to become a girl named Poppy without being made fun of, but the entire family keeps Claude's secret until it explodes.
Lily and Dunkin, by Donna Gephart- This novel is about the stories of and friendship between Lily McGrother (born Tim McGrother), a transgender girl, and Dunkin Dorfman (born Norbert Dorfman), a boy with bipolar disorder who has just moved from New Jersey. Eighth grade is hard enough without being a girl who looks like a boy or a boy with bipolar disorder who is also hiding a painful secret. When Lily and Dunkin meet, their lives change forever.
The Nickel Boys: A Novel, by Colson Whitehead- This novel is about the story of two boys sent to reform school. Elwood Curtis is a high school senior about to start classes, but he makes the mistake of hitchhiking and gets sent to a juvenile reformatory called Nickel Academy. At Nickel Academy, the staff beats and abuses the students, and boys who resist get punished. While at Nickel, Elwood befriends Turner, who thinks Elwood is naive and that the only way to survive is to scheme. The decisions these boys make at Nickel Academy will have consequences that last for decades.
Heartstopper, Volume 1, by Alice Oseman- This graphic novel is about two boys who become friends. Charlie is an anxious, openly gay over-thinker, while Nick is a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player. Friendship develops quickly, but there may be something more there.
Pride, by Ibi Zoboi- This novel, by the best-selling author of Punching the Air, is a re-telling of Pride and Prejudice starring all characters of color. Zuri Benitez is proud of her family, Brooklyn neighborhood, and Afro-Latina roots. When the rich Darcy family moves in next-door, Zuri immediately dislikes them, especially the stuck-up, judgmental Darius, even as her older sister, Janae falls in love with the charming Ainsley. Throughout this novel, Zuri deals with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, college applications, attention from cute boy Warren, and an unexpected understanding with Darius. Set in Bushwick, this novel discusses gentrification, identity, and class.
The Fixed Stars, by Molly Wizenberg- In this memoir, author Molly Wizenberg describes how she found herself attracted to a female attorney she barely knew at age 36 while serving on a jury. She tried to return to her old life as a married woman with a toddler, but something inside her had changed. Wizenberg had thought sexual orientation was "fixed", but she realized her story was more complex. Wizenberg finds herself and her identity through separation and divorce, coming out, learning to co-parent a toddler, and finding love.
XOXY: A Memoir: (Intersex Woman, Mother, Activist), by Kimberly Zieselman- This memoir is about Kimberly, a suburban housewife and mother who finds out later in life that she was born intersex. This leads her to become an activist and international human rights defender. This memoir tells the story of how being intersex affected Kimberly's personal, professional, and family lives. It depicts the challenges of discovering her secret, coming out to her family, advocating against harmful medical interventions against intersex communities, and existing as a non-queer intersex woman.
Change Sings: A Children's Anthem, by Amanda Gorman- This picture book, by National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman, depicts a young African American girl leading a cast of musical characters on a journey who learn that they have the power to affect change both in the world and in themselves.
Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America: 1619-2019, edited by Ibram X. Kendi- This anthology of essays tells the history of four hundred years in Black America by 90 Black authors. It tells stories of migration, slavery, segregation, and African American creative output, along with other important moments in Black history.
Something to Talk About: A Novel, by Meryl Wilsner- In this LGBTQ romance novel, Hollywood powerhouse Jo Jones is photographed making her assistant, Emma, laugh on the red carpet, causing a rumor to spread that they are a couple. These rumors threaten Emma's promotion and Jo's new movie, and paparazzi follow them everywhere. However, the two women start spending more time together as the launch of Jo's film project approaches. Emma is good at making Jo happy, and Jo, who is known for being aloof, unexpectedly opens up to Emma. The two women realize they have feelings for one another, but the rumors and the fact that they work together make acting on that spark difficult.
Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, by Jeannette Winterson- This novel is about Jeannette, a smart, rebellious orphan who gets adopted into an evangelical family in North England. She takes religious mottoes pretty seriously in her youth and plans to become a missionary, but she later comes to terms with her unorthodox sexuality, bringing unbalance in her God-fearing household. Jeannette insists on staying true to herself, which ruins her relationship with her mother but makes for an extraordinary passage into adulthood.
Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century, edited by Alice Wong- This anthology of essays, by people with disabilities, includes a debate on personhood with Peter Singer, as well as stories by blind people, deaf people, those with autism, bipolar disorder, and other disabilities, and stories by LGBTQ people with disabilities and people of color with disabilities.
Rainbow Milk: A Novel, by Paul Mendez- This coming of age novel is about nineteen-year-old Jesse McCarthy's struggle to understand his racial and sexual identities as a Jehovah's Witness. It depicts the intersectionality of race, gender, religion, and sexuality in modern Great Britain. Jesse escapes his broken family and repressive religious community and flees to London, only to find himself lost in his identity and turning to sex work. He later finds a new sense of spirituality in music and art.
Living Apart: How the Government Betrayed a Landmark Civil Rights Law, by Nikole Hannah-Jones- This book is about ProPublica's investigation into housing segregation and the United States federal government's failure to keep the laws meant to prevent it. Over 40 years after President Lyndon Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act, it has gone ignored by the United States government. This law was supposed to dismantle racially segregated housing, but this segregated housing is still in place.
Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves, edited by Glory Edim- This book of essays, by Black women writers, is about how these writers have found themselves in famous works of literature, regardless of race, gender, religion, or ability.
The Body is Not an Apology: the Power of Radical Self-Love, by Sonya Renee Taylor- In this book, well-known activist and poet Sonya Renee Taylor encourages not merely acceptance of one's own body, but radical self-love. Many systems of oppression encourage body shame, including media glorification of thinness, racial bias, and discrimination against non-gender-conforming bodies. In this book, Sonya shows us how to interrupt these systems of oppression to encourage radical self-love, which in turn encourages a kinder, more just, equal world.
Stop Telling Women to Smile: Stories of Street Harassment and How We're Taking Back Power, by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh- This book of essays features personal stories from women of diverse backgrounds on how street harassment has affected them. It concludes with insights from the main author on how she uses art as activism to prevent street harassment.
The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for Our Country, by Amanda Gorman- If you haven't heard this poem spoken aloud already, I encourage you to pick it up in book format (or even if you have, just to see the printed words :)). This poem celebrates the promise of democracy and equality in America, and it's a super quick read (only 29 pages).
On Being Different: What It Means to Be a Homosexual, by Merle Miller- This memoir/essay is about being gay in America. It highlights the importance of coming out and the prejudices against LGBTQ+ people in the 1950's.
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Aditchie- This novel is about Ifemelu and Obinze, two Nigerians who are young and in love but torn apart by different circumstances. Ifemelu goes to college in America. Obinze hopes to join her but ends up an undocumented immigrant in London instead. At the end, the two reunite in Nigeria and rekindle their passion for both each other and their home. Along the way, they explore issues of race, belonging, and ethnicity in other countries.
On The Come Up, by Angie Thomas- This novel, by the bestselling author of The Hate U Give, is about sixteen-year old Bri, a daughter of a hip hop legend who wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Bri expresses her frustration over her mom losing her job, her empty fridge, and her label as a "hoodlum" at school in her first song, which becomes famous for all the wrong reasons. Bri is determined to make it after her family is threatened with eviction, but it is hard to make it and be yourself, and for Black people, free speech isn't always possible.
Five Days: The Fiery Reckoning of an American City, by Wes Moore- This book is about the five-day uprising following Freddie Gray's arrest and death that took over Baltimore. Wes Moore observed everyone in the city come together over this uprising after attending Gray's funeral. This story is told from the point of view of eight Baltimoreans, including conflicted Black police captain Partee, young White public defender Jenny Egan, Tawanda Jones, who protested her own brother's death for a year, and city council member Nick Mosby.
Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York, by Elon Green- This book describes a series of crimes against gay men in New York in the 1980s and 1990s. It details not just the crimes but the lives of those men targeted. It tells the story of the Last Call Killer, who killed these men at a Townhouse Bar, and the quest to find him.
Long Way Down, by Jason Reynolds- This novel in verse is the story of Will, who is trying to decide whether to murder the guy who killed his brother. He knows the rules: no crying, no snitching, and revenge. The novel takes place in an elevator and discusses what happens when the elevator stops on each floor.
Last Night at the Telegraph Club, by Malinda Lo- Seventeen year old Lily Hu has been grappling with the desire for other women. This feeling intensified when she and Kathleen Miller walked into a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. But Chinatown in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially for Chinese Americans like Lily. With Lily's father's deportation looming, Lily and Kath risk everything for their love to thrive.
Concrete Rose, by Angie Thomas- This novel is the prequel to the best-selling The Hate U Give (another awesome book that I highly recommend). Seventeen-year-old Maverick Carter takes care of his family while his mom works two jobs and his dad is in prison. Unfortunately, as the son of a former gang legend, the only way he knows how is by dealing drugs for the King Lords. However, with a cool girlfriend and a loyal cousin, Maverick thinks he has everything under control. That is, until he finds out he is a father. After Maverick's baby, Seven, is born, he takes a chance to go straight because it is hard to finish school, sell drugs, and raise a child. However, it is hard to walk away from being a King Lord, especially after his cousin gets murdered. Maverick has to figure out what it means to be a man after he is torn between responsibility, loyalty, and revenge.
We Speak For Ourselves: How Woke Culture Prohibits Progress, by D. Watkins- This book tells the story of the "Down Bottom", a community of poor, Black neighborhoods in East Baltimore, and argues that the perspectives of poor Black communities are missing from modern intellectual discourse on race. It discusses the disadvantages poor Black people face, the uprisings in Baltimore, and the actions people need to take for social change.
The Vanishing Half: A Novel by Brit Bennett- This novel is about African American twins Stella and Desiree Vignes, who live entirely different lives after running away at age 16. Many years later, one lives with her Black daughter in the same town that she once tried to escape, and the other passes for White, living with a husband who knows nothing about her past. However, their daughters' eventually meet, and their family history unfolds.
Memorial: A Novel, by Bryan Washington- Benson and Mike are two young men who live together in Houston. Benson is a Black daycare teacher, while Mike is a Japanese-American chef. They've been together for a few years and love each other, but their relationship is floundering. When Mike visits his estranged, dying father in Japan, things really get rocky between them. Mike's mom comes to visit without Mike in town, and Benson is stuck with her as an unconventional roommate. Both Mike and Ben end up changing in ways neither of them could have predicted.
A Lesbian Belle Tells: OUTRageous Southern Stories of Family, Loss, and Love, by Elizabeth McCain- This memoir, based on the one-woman play "A Lesbian Belle Tells.." by Elizabeth McCain, is about Elizabeth's struggles coming out to her traditional Mississippi family, dealing with family estrangement in the middle of her career as a psychotherapist, and finding love and community. Elizabeth's true stories range from her last boyfriend suggesting that she become a lesbian to her friendships, romantic relationships, experiences at lesbian events, experience at the Memphis Cotton Carnival, and coming out to church ladies at her mother's funeral.
Freedom Libraries: The Untold Story of Libraries for African Americans in the South, by Mike Selby- This book tells the story of Freedom Libraries, which were created in the Deep South for African Americans during the Civil Rights movement when most libraries were only desegregated on paper. These libraries were staffed by voter registration workers, and many of them created the first experiences African Americans had with a library. These libraries include libraries in Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Philadelphia.
Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches, by Audre Lorde- This collection of fifteen essays and speeches discusses racism, sexism, homophobia, and classism and suggests actions for social change.
Take a Hint, Dani Brown: A Novel, by Talia Hibbert- In this 2nd novel of the Brown sisters series, Danika Brown, a Black, bisexual PhD student, wants professional success and recognition, not romance. Romantic partners either hurt her or are a drag. Therefore, she asks the universe for a friends with benefits instead. Rugby player Zafia rescues her from a fire drill, and the video goes viral. Zafia asks Dani to fake a relationship with him to gain publicity. Zaf is secretly a hopeless romantic and has a crush on her, but his anxiety disorder serves as an obstacle to wooing her.
Juliet Takes a Breath, by Gabby Rivera- In this coming of age novel, closeted Puerto Rican lesbian from the Bronx Juliet Milagros Palante comes out to her family the night before flying to Portland Oregon to intern with her favorite feminist author. When her mom reacts poorly to her announcement, she is unsure they will ever speak again. Juliet thinks legendary author Harlowe Brisbane will help her figure out how to be a Puerto Rican lesbian, but Harlowe is White, not from the Bronx, and often racially unaware despite her intentions to be a good ally. During Juliet's summer internship, she discovers what it means to come out through queer brown dance parties, a fling with a motorcycling librarian, and explorations of race and identity.
Conundrum, by Jan Morris- This book tells the story of travel writer Jan Morris, who was born as James Morris. James appeared to be a masculine man due serving in the military, climbing mountains, and being a reporter. James was also happily married with several children but always felt like a woman at heart. This book tells the story of Jan's early life as James, her decision to come out of the closet as transgender, and her transition with hormone treatment and surgery.
White Tears, Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color, by Ruby Hamad- This book describes how White feminism has aided White supremacy and patriarchy and ignored women of color. This book describes the history of White feminism from the slave era to the present day. It gives White women's antipathy of Latina politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, their reaction towards the portrayal of Rue in the Hunger Games movie, their defensiveness when women of color call them out on racist behavior, and the lynchings of both Black men and Mexicans as examples of how White women have upheld racism.
What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in Essays, by Damon Young- This memoir, written by a Black man growing up in Pittsburgh, discusses the challenges of growing up as a Black man in America, including compulsory heterosexuality/masculinity, gaining confidence around girls, poverty, moving, learning to drive, gaining credibility as a writer, and Damon's mother's death, among other topics.
The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig- This novel is about how choices can determine outcomes in life. Nora Seed, a woman in her thirties suffering from depression, encounters a Midnight Library when trying to commit suicide. In this library, Nora encounters many alternate lives she could have lived had she made different decisions. However, some of Nora's lives are not what she imagined they would be. I thought this was a refreshing take on how mental health is not based on external success, but that the best way to live comes from within.
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.
Everybody's Talking About Jamie- This musical is an adaptation of a true story about 16-year-old British teenager Jamie Campbell, who wants to be a drag queen. This musical shows how Jamie overcomes prejudice and bullying from classmates and teachers.
Teenage and Gay- This documentary is about the experiences of five LGBTQ teenagers coming out in Great Britain as they seek acceptance of their sexualities. It follows a butch lesbian footballer questioning her gender identity, a transgender boy kicked out of his home, a gay boy, a femme lesbian, and a Black girl whose sexuality is more fluid.
Appropriate Behavior- In this LGBTQ+ Indie romantic comedy, Shirin is trying to balance being the perfect Persian daughter, politically correct bisexual, and cool Brooklynite -- and failing at all these identities. After breaking up with her girlfriend Maxine due to being scared to come out to her family, Shirin is without a cliche, and she feels lonely.
Halftime- In this biographical documentary, Latina actress Jennifer Lopez reflects on her career and the pressures of being in the spotlight as an actress, dancer, and singer.
Girls' Trip- This comedy is about four African American female friends who take a trip to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival. Friendships are rekindled, wild sides are discovered, and there is a lot of drinking, dancing, and partying!
Fire Island- In this modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, a group of queer best friends go on summer vacation for a week to have a memorable time.
Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt)- 17-year-old Ellie cannot find the guts to ask her classmate, Abbie to the formal. However, Ellie's aunt Tara, a lesbian who died in the 1980's, shows up as her fairy godmother to give advice (even if Ellie doesn't want it) and eventually save the day.
Crash- This crime drama film connects several stories about race, class, gender, and family in the aftermath of 9/11. Characters include a district attorney and his racially prejudiced wife, two African American men who feel threatened by those prejudiced against them, two dating police detectives, a victimized Middle Eastern store owner, a rich African American couple humiliated by a racist traffic cop, and a newer police officer who is offput by the racist cop's actions.
Crazy Rich Asians- In this romantic comedy, New Yorker Rachel Chu travels to Singapore with her boyfriend, Nick Young, to meet his family. Little does she know that they are extremely wealthy and look down on her lower-class background.
CODA- This movie is about 17-year-old Ruby, the only hearing child in a deaf family. She is torn between helping her family's struggling fishing business and pursuing her singing dream. When she joins the high school choir club, she is drawn to her duet partner.
The Silent Child- This short film is about Libby, a deaf 6-year-old girl who lives in silence until a kind social worker teaches her how to use sign language to communicate.
West Side Story (2021)- This adaptation of the 1957 hit musical is about the forbidden love between Maria, a Puerto Rican girl, and Tony, a White boy. Added to the interracial relationship stigma is the fact that Tony is a member of a street gang, the Jets, that rivals Maria's brother's gang, the Sharks.
Smithsonian Mother of Tongue Film Festival- Although this film festival sadly expired Friday before I could get around to finishing/recommending it, this festival comes out with several sets of short films about once a year related to cultural and linguistic diversity. Some of these videos focus on how communities express themselves through music; how Indigenous people survive hardships such as caring for an ill family member, the pandemic, and immigration; and stories by women of different ethnic backgrounds.
Priced Out- This documentary film is about the complexities of gentrification and housing discrimination in Portland, Oregon, the country's Whitest city, and the impact it has on its residents.
Call Me By Your Name- This LGBTQ romance film is about the blossoming of a romantic relationship between a 17-year-old student and an older man who is his dad's research assistant in 1980's Italy.
Just Mercy- This biographical legal drama is about lawyer Bryan Stevenson's efforts to defend those on death row who are wrongly convicted or without proper representation. One of his first cases is Walter McMillan, who was wrongly charged with murder of an 18-year-old girl despite evidence that he is innocent. Stevenson encounters racism and legal and political manipulation as he fights for McMillan's life.
The First Wave- This documentary film is about the COVID-19 pandemic's first wave, from March 2020-June 2020. It spotlights the doctors, nurses, and patients on the frontlines and highlights how the pandemic exposed inequities in our system through the disproportionate amount of African American COVID-19 patients in the U.S. population and the murder of George Floyd during the height of the pandemic.
Moxie- This comedy/drama film is about Vivien, a shy 16-year-old girl who, inspired by her mom's rebellious past, starts an anonymous magazine calling out sexism in her school.
Single All the Way- This LGBTQ romance film is about Peter, who asks his best friend Nick to pose as his boyfriend when visiting home at Christmas to avoid questions from his family about being single. However, their plan changes when Peter's mom sets him up with a guy in his hometown, and Nick realizes he has feelings for Peter.
I Love You, Philip Morris- A cop becomes a con man after coming out of the closet and divorcing his wife. After witnessing his boyfriend die from AIDS and then going to prison for his fraud, he meets the second love of his life in prison, who he'll do anything do be with.
Ruth: Justice Ginsburg in Her Own Words- This 2019 documentary features and is about the late supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the challenges she faced on her way to the Supreme Court, as well as her hobbies, friendships, and the legal cases she argued for and dissented on.
Ballerina Boys- This documentary is about the all-male ballet company the Trocks, a company that mixes ballet classics with comedy. This film follows them on tour as they make fun of strictly gendered ballet and advocate for LGBTQ rights.
Unlikely- This feature documentary explores America's college dropout crisis and the obstacles students face to getting their degrees and pursuing meaningful careers. It focuses on the lives of five students who previously were unable to finish college that are now fighting for a second chance to get their degrees.
Soundtrack for a Revolution- This documentary explores the American Civil Rights movement through the powerful songs that inspired it.
Mr. Soul!- This documentary is about the history of the music and talk television series Soul!, which was aimed at a Black audience and was produced by African American Ellis Haizlip.
Talking Black in America- This documentary is about the impact slavery had on the lives and language of contemporary Black Americans. It also depicts the influences of British and Southern American dialects and the creativity and resilience of people living through oppression, segregation, and civil rights movements. It reveals how language affects identity and triumph over adversity.
Life Interrupted: Telling Breast Cancer Stories- This documentary features empowering stories of breast cancer survivors coming to terms with a life changing diagnosis. These women rebuild their lives with honesty, dignity, and grace.
Mission: Joy: Finding Happiness in Troubled Times- This documentary film is about the friendship between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the methods those two use to cultivate joy in their lives. Both have experienced adversity in their lives, but both use lived experience, ancient traditions, and science to find joy despite life's challenges.
Sound of Metal- This drama movie is about metal drummer Ruben, who thinks his career and life are over after he loses his hearing and a doctor tells him his condition will get worse. When his girlfriend Lou checks him into a rehab facility for the deaf to prevent his addiction from relapsing, she hopes he will adjust to his new life. After he is accepted for being himself, he has to choose between his new and former lives.
Leitis in Waiting- This documentary is about Joey Mataele and the Tonga leitis, a group of Native transgender women fighting religious fundamentalism in their South Pacific Kingdom.
Resilience: the Biology of Stress & the Science of Hope- This documentary explores scientific research on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and how they can lead to bad health and behavioral outcomes. It also describes a new movement to prevent and treat toxic stress.
Freedom Riders- This documentary is about American civil rights activists' struggles for racial justice through a bus boycott in Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama in the 1960's. It is based on the book Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice, and it describes officials' response to the Freedom Riders, including John F. Kennedy and the FBI.
20 Feet From Stardom- This documentary is about the lives of backup singers. It features several African American backup singers, as well as African American lead singers, including Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and Ike and Tina Turner.
Henry Gamble's Birthday Party- This drama film is about Henry Gamble's 17th birthday party. At this party, Henry explores his sexuality, and so do other adults and teenagers at the party.
The Biggest Obstacle- If you didn't get to see this documentary with DICE and SLY New York, hopefully you can find another screening! This documentary follows the investigative research of disability rights activist Jessica Murray on public transit accessibility for people with disabilities in New York City as she deals with the progressive worsening of her own multiple sclerosis. It features interviews with many people with disabilities, including blind people, people with cerebral palsy, hearing impaired people, and autistic people, as well as an interview with New York City transit president Andy Byford about his work to improve accessibility in New York City; and it covers footage of protests.
Summer of Soul- This documentary, directed by Questlove, is about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. It features Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and other famous Motown and soul musicians.
When I Stutter- This documentary depicts the emotional impact stuttering has on people, including anxiety about making friends and dating, watching one's speech, using substitute words, and depression over not fitting in, among other things.
Who's On Top?: LGBTQs Summit Mt. Hood- This documentary is about a group of LGBTQ+ mountaineers who attend a summit to climb Mt. Hood, a mountain in Oregon. These mountaineers challenge stereotypes about gender and sexuality and show their journeys in climbing both figurative and literal mountains.
Ahead of the Curve- This documentary is about the story of Franco Stevens's founding of Curve, a lesbian magazine that fosters lesbian visibility and community. After a disabling injury, Franco questions the relevance of Curve but reaches out to LGBTQ+ women to understand how Curve can continue to serve the LGBTQ+ community today.
ReMastered: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke- This documentary film investigates the circumstances surrounding the murder of Sam Cooke, including his involvement with the Civil Rights movement.
Crips and Bloods: Made in America- This documentary film depicts the social conditions that led to gang violence in Los Angeles among young African Americans, including police brutality, lack of resources, and wrongful incarceration of these African Americans' fathers. It features the notorious Los Angeles gangs Crips and Bloods.
Yellow Brotherhood- This short documentary film is about a basketball team formed for young Asian boys to prevent drug abuse and other mental health issues and the friendships formed through this team.
Bedlam- This feature documentary film is about the care of people with mental illnesses in Los Angeles, California. It describes the jailing of many people with mental illnesses in Los Angeles, the inefficacy of treatment and medication in Los Angeles, and the dashed hopes and dreams of many patients.
Love and Mercy- This biographical drama focuses on the Beach Boys' co-founder and lead singer Brian Wilson and his struggle with psychosis. It alternates between Brian's production of the album Pet Sounds in the 1960s, when he develops symptoms of psychosis and stops touring, and his treatment under controlling therapist Eugene Landy's 24-hour therapy program in the 1980s, when he meets his second wife, Melinda Ledbetter.
The Claudia Kishi Club- This short documentary film describes how the Babysitters Club series's Asian American character Claudia Kishi busts the "model minority" stereotype for Asian Americans and serves as a role model for young Asian girls everywhere for being herself.
MLK/FBI- This documentary film explores how the FBI spied on and harassed Martin Luther King, Jr. This investigation was led by J. Edgar Hoover, who believed MLK Jr. was a communist but also spied on his civil rights involvement and romantic life.
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.
Extraordinary Attorney Woo- In this South Korean legal drama television series, Woo Young Woo is an attorney with Asperger's syndrome. Her IQ is very high, her memory is excellent, and her thought process is creative, but she struggles with daily social interactions and clumsiness.
Maid- This drama miniseries is about a young mother who finds a job cleaning houses after running away from an abusive relationship. The job does not pay much, but she needs it to find a safe home for herself and her child and to pave the way for a better future for both of them.
The Bisexual- Leila takes a break from her decade-long relationship with her girlfriend, Sadie to explore her own bisexuality, but she struggles to come out to her friends.
The First Kill- In this television series, teenagers Juliette and Calliope fall in love. However, there is one huge problem: one is a vampire, the other one is a vampire hunter, and they are both ready to make their first kill.
Workin' Moms- This television sitcom features four thirty-something working mothers trying to balance work, family, and romance in modern-day Toronto, Canada.
Heartstopper- In this coming-of-age LGBTQ romance show, based on the graphic novel series Heartstopper, teenagers Nick and Charlie find out that their friendship might be something more as they experience school and young love.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel- In this 1950's comedy-drama, created by Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, Miriam "Midge" Maisel has everything she ever wanted, including the perfect husband, two kids, a fancy Upper West Side apartment, and Yom Kippur dinners at her house every year. When her husband leaves her, she discovers she has a hidden talent for stand-up comedy -- something she formerly thought was a dream reserved for him. She makes her way through various nightclubs and cafes in Greenwich Village to pursue that dream.
Abbott Elementary- This mockumentary television series is about a group of teachers in the Philadelphia, PA public school system, one of the worst public school systems in the country. This largely African American student body lacks the resources to do well at school, but the teachers love teaching.
Minnesota Experience Episode 1: Jim Crow of the North- This television episode is about the roots of redlining and housing segregation in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Allen vs. Farrow- This documentary television mini-series is about the allegation of sexual abuse against Woody Allen involving Dylan Farrow, his 7-year-old adopted daughter with actress Mia Farrow; their custody trial that followed; his relationship with Mia Farrow's older adopted daughter Soon-Yi; and the controversy that happened afterwards.
Dear White People- This television comedy-drama series, based on the film Dear White People, is about the challenges of students of color navigating life, politics, and microaggressions at an Ivy League college that is not as post-racial as it claims to be.
The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song- This TV mini-series, hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., explores the 400-year-old history of the Black church in America, the evolving nature of congregations, and the people who led them.
Never Have I Ever- This coming of age comedy/drama television show is about the complicated life of a modern first-generation Indian American teenage girl who wants to improve her social status. However, friends, family, and feelings won't make it easy.
Atypical- This television comedy/drama show focuses on the life of 18-year-old Sam Gardner, a teenager on the autism spectrum who wants to find a girlfriend. This sets his mom on her own life-changing journey as her son tries to become more independent.
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.
7 Skills for the Future: Interview with Viv Groskop- In this podcast episode, Groskop discusses her book How to Own the Room. She also discusses skills women need to be successful in their jobs, including public speaking, resilience, adaptability, and balancing work and family.
PsychEverywhere Autism episodes- I know I already recommended this podcast series a few months ago, but I found the most recent episodes on viewing autism as a culture instead of a medical diagnosis and on the misconceptions regarding autism, including on relationships, communication, and language, particularly fascinating.
Tignum Thoughts: Leveraging Impostor Syndrome- This short, 3-minute podcast episode discusses how impostor syndrome can be useful during a point of transition and how to take care of one's body and brain when experiencing impostor syndrome.
Moms Don't Have Time to Read Books: Ibram X. Kendi on How to Raise an Antiracist- In this podcast episode, bestselling author Ibram X. Kendi and podcast host Zibby discuss Kendi's new book, How to Raise an Antiracist, which discusses how to create an antiracist world for children to grow up in. They discuss how children understand empathy very early in life and the various inequities in life.
The Allusionist, Episode 51: Under the Covers, Part II- This podcast episode discusses the history and current uses of sexual words. I found the part about how female sexual words are more stigmatized than male sexual words to be especially interesting. Warning: this episode contains sexual language.
Towards Inclusive Excellence Podcast: Discussing Diverse Representation in Children's Books with Author Kaija Langley- This podcast is a discussion with author Kaija Langley on her book, When Langston dances, which is about a young Black boy who wants to dance and who is supported by his community. It discusses the importance of celebrating Black children's humanity in literature and giving racial minority children happy endings. Langley also encourages authors to put themselves in children's shoes when writing children's books.
The Art of Manliness- This podcast series helps men become better men. It helps men better understand their culture, lives, and themselves. Topics include how anxiety is a habit and the differences in how men and women make friendships, among other topics.
America Dissected: The Sum of Us Are Sick with Heather McGhee- This podcast episode is an interview with Heather McGhee, famous author of The Sum of Us, about how racism has destroyed public spaces like swimming pools and economic endeavors like insurance pools. She discusses what this means for public health and the pandemic.
Toward Inclusive Excellence Spring Semester Podcast: A Conversation with Deborah Caldwell-Stone- In this podcast episode, Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom and Executive Director of the Freedom to Read Foundation, discusses the increase of book banning and censorship within the last few years with Alexis Hudson-Ward, Toward Inclusive Excellence podcast host. Books by LGBTQ+ and Black authors are particularly under attack, and censorship groups often claim books by Black authors endorse critical race theory. In this podcast, Caldwell-Stone highlight the steps advocacy groups can take to challenge book bans and highlights the bravery of current youth who resist censorship.
NPR Podcast: Eric Garcia on the Life Kit- This podcast, in conjunction with the National Book Festival, features Eric Garcia, the author of "We’re Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation” and Laine Kaplan-Levenson. It discusses how we must change our worlds to help autistic people rather than expect them to become "normal".
LibVoices- This podcast features the voices and stories of librarians of color. Topics include putting yourself first, having your own space, and being real.
PsychEverywhere- This podcast series focuses on a lot of diversity issues related to psychology. Some episodes include how to talk to people about disabilities without using microaggressions against them, how gender stereotypes have changed over history, how racism is prevalent in psychology research, and common racist slurs people often use.
Body Stuff with Jen Guntner, Episode 5: Anxiety Disorders- This podcast episode discusses the effect stigma surrounding mental illness has on seeking help for anxiety disorders, the science behind the body's fight or flight response, what makes it malfunction, and effective ways of treating anxiety disorders.
Stuff You Missed in History Class: Audre Lorde, Part 1- This podcast episode describes Audre Lorde's life, relationships, and involvement in social justice issues.
Body Stuff with Jen Gunter, Episode 3: Is Menopause the Beginning of the End?- This podcast episode discusses the stigma around menopause and the importance of having conversations about this life stage.
Reach Out and Read, Episode 24: Inner Truths, Part 2 The Research Behind LGBTQ+ Children's Books- This podcast episode discusses how to evaluate LGBTQ+ children's books, common portrayal of LGBTQ+ families in children's books, accessibility and privacy issues surrounding LGBTQ+ children's books, and censorship of these books.
Knowledge Equity Lab- This podcast is about the politics of knowledge production and how the power of majority groups influences it. Some episode topics include reducing health inequities in Blacks through knowledge production methods such as open access; abolishing caste; and using art to help minority groups.
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.