April 2015

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?
Walk into any racially mixed high school and you will see black youth seated together in the cafeteria. Of course, it's not just the black kids sitting together-the white, Latino, Asian Pacific, and, in some regions, American Indian youth are clustered in their own groups, too. The same phenomenon can be observed in college dining halls, faculty lounges, and corporate cafeterias. What is going on here? Is this self-segregation a problem we should try to fix, or a coping strategy we should support? How can we get past our reluctance to talk about racial issues to even discuss it? And what about all the other questions we and our children have about race? Beverly Daniel Tatum, a renowned authority on the psychology of racism, asserts that we do not know how to talk about our racial differences: Whites are afraid of using the wrong words and being perceived as "racist" while parents of color are afraid of exposing their children to painful racial realities too soon. Using real-life examples and the latest research, Tatum presents strong evidence that straight talk about our racial identities-whatever they may be-is essential if we are serious about facilitating communication across racial and ethnic divides. We have waited far too long to begin our conversations about race. This remarkable book, infused with great wisdom and humanity, has already helped hundreds of thousands of readers figure out where to start.

March 2015

Becoming: A Spiritual Guide for Navigating Adulthood
Edited by Kayla Parker
This elegant volume offers itself as a spiritual companion for young adults and all who live amid transitions and tensions. Dozens of carefully selected readings address themes that are prominent for people in their twenties and early thirties. The topics include: passion and purpose, identity, community, losing and finding, and justice and creation. Each section features reflections from Unitarian Universalist young adults, as well as poems, prayers, and opening and closing words from contemporary and ancient peoples. This treasury of uplifting and thought-provoking meditations can serve as a guide and provide comfort on our never-ending journey of becoming. This book was made possible by the generosity of John F. and Susan B. Smith.

February 2015

Searching for Whitopia
    By Rich Benjamin
Between 2007 and 2009, Rich Benjamin, a journalist-adventurer, packed his bags and embarked on a 26,909-mile journey throughout the heart of white America, to some of the fastest-growing and whitest locales in our nation. By 2042, whites will no longer be the American majority. As immigrant populations--largely people of color--increase in cities and suburbs, more and more whites are moving to small towns and exurban areas that are predominately, even extremely, white. Rich Benjamin calls these enclaves "Whitopias" (pronounced: "White-o-pias"). His journey to unlock the mysteries of Whitopias took him from a three-day white separatist retreat with links to Aryan Nations in North Idaho to the inner sanctum of George W. Bush's White House--and many points in between. And to learn what makes Whitopias tick, and why and how they are growing, he lived in three of them (in Georgia, Idaho, and Utah) for several months apiece. A compelling raconteur, bon vivant, and scholar, Benjamin reveals what Whitopias are like and explores the urgent social and political implications of this startling phenomenon. The glow of Barack Obama's historic election cannot obscure the racial and economic segregation still vexing America. Obama's presidency has actually raised the stakes in a battle royale between two versions of America: one that is broadly comfortable with diversity yet residentially segregated (ObamaNation) and one that does not mind a little ethnic food or a few mariachi dancers--as long as these trends do not overwhelm a white dominant culture (Whitopia).

January 2015

Courageous Conversations About Race
By: Glenn E. Singleton and Curtis Linton

Examining the achievement gap through the prism of race, this comprehensive text explains the need for candid, courageous conversations about race so that educations may understand why performance inequity persist, and learn how they can develop a curriculum that promotes true academic parity.
-Back of the book

This book appears to be a good resource for educators, particularly now at Lawrence University. President Mark Burstein sent out an email over winter break, MLK day is this month, and CORE is talking about race this month. Remember: Everyone is educating each other constantly, so though you may not have the title “educator” or though you might not identify as “educator” you are still an educator, so this book is most certainly a book you should flip through.


November 2014

The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

The Audacity of Hope is Barack Obama's call for a new kind of politics a politics that builds upon those shared understandings that pull us together as Americans. Lucid in his vision of America's place in the world, refreshingly candid about his family life and his time in the Senate, Obama here sets out his political convictions and inspires us to trust in the dogged optimism that has long defined us and that is our best hope going forward.
–Back of the book

Since mid-term elections just happened, it seems like a good time to read what President Obama thinks of Republicans and Democrats, Values, Our Constitution, Politics, Opportunity, Faith, Race, and Family. 

However, OMA has not forgotten about National Native American Heritage Month. We suggest you read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, which you can find in the Seeley Mudd Library.

Also, we have a shortage of books by Native American writers or books that talk about the Native American culture. If you have any suggestions of such books, please contact the resources coordinator, Lena Bixby at lena.c.bixby@lawrence.edu.


October 2014

Book of the Month: Iguana Dreams
In honor of this year’s National Hispanic Month, which started on Sept 15th and goes through Oct 15, the book of the month is Iguana Dreams. Come to the Diversity Center to check it out! To learn more about National Hispanic Month, go to http://hispanicheritagemonth.gov/

With an introduction by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Oscar Hijuelos, this important anthology of contemporary fiction represents the wide range of cultures and experiences that mark the diverse ethnic groups of the Latino community.

OMA Selected Reading Suggestions:
Sandra Cisneros Salvador Late or Early, page 54-58: Written by author of The House of Mango Street, this short story provides fabulous imagery and pulls the reader into the difficult childhood of a young boy.
Julia Alvarez Customs, page 1-15: An amusing exploration of a wealthy young woman with a progressive mindset challenging her family’s traditional values and beliefs.

Excerpt from Iguana Dreams Preface written by Oscar Hijuelos
“True iguanas crawl along through jade plants and blossom-thick yards; they sometimes sit, unnoticed, among a piling of stones, or scamper about on a house coping in the dead white heat of tropic day. But this Iguana, this literary entity this being, must carry the burden of enticing the citizenry of the world in its lair of dreams and stories and is not, I swear, a beast of fiber and scale and claw. “

*If there is a book that you or your club would like to have in the Diversity Center, contact Resource Coordinator, Lena Bixby at lena.c.bixby@lawrence.edu, or drop while she is working!

April 2014

A remarkable book…As an account of growing up female and Chinese-American in California, in a laundry of course, it is anti-nostalgic; it burns the fat right out of the mind. As a dream – of the ‘female avenger’ – it is dizzying, elemental, a poem turned into a sword.”
-The New York Times

“Intense, fierce, and disturbing…strange, sometimes savagely terrifying and, in the literal sense, wonderful story.”
-Washington Post

February 2014

Overflowing with wisdom and humor, here is a comprehensive collection of favorite tales from the vigorous and vibrant oral tradition of the African-American folklore.
Transcending a history of oppression and struggle, Black storytelling is an expression of great Social Complexity and profound aesthetic significance. Woven into its fabric is the essence of Black Language, life-style, and survival. Talk That Talk contains close to 100 stories by famous yarn-spinner from the U.S.A, Africa, and the Caribbean – plus insightful commentaries from historians and critics. Gathered here is a tremendous range of authentic stories: from animal tales, personal “truth tales” and cherished legends to poems, raps, sermons, and heroic biographies – making this book delightful and important reading for all ages.

January 2014

In this timely book, William Ryan, author of Blaming the Victim, analyzes how and why the "vulnerable majority" of Americans, though "created equal," lives under the permanent and shaming threat of inequality. While noting that we formally exalt equality in such documents as the Declaration of Independence and even in everyday expressions about fair play, equal opportunity, and the common good, Ryan graphically shows how we nevertheless "play the game" in various spheres of public life by rules that divide people into winners and losers, superior and inferior rules that, in short, institutionalize inequality. A critique of this inhospitable system of beliefs, Equality also suggests that the foundations of true equality are not alien to the American tradition.

An imaginative and provocative account of inequality in American society... Ryan is particularly effective in communicating abstract or statistically laden ideas in easily understandable, even entertaining prose, thus making the book accessible to a large general audience." – Choice

If you have time, come check it out in The Diversity Center’s library!

November 2013

In honor of National Native American Heritage Month, this month’s “Book of the Month” tells the tale of Junior.


"Junior is a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian reservation. Born with a variety of medical problems, he is picked on by everyone but his best friend. Determined to receive a good education, Junior leaves the rez to attend an all-white school in the neighboring farm town where the only other Indian is the school is the school mascot. Despite being condemned as a traitor to his people and enduring great tragedies, Junior attacks life with wit and humor and discovers a strength inside of himself that he never knew existed.Inspired by his own experiences growing up, award-winning author Sherman Alexie chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one unlucky boy trying to rise above the life everyone expects him to live.”

If you are looking for a break from the busy life of college and want to read a witty easy read, drop by the Diversity center and check it out! There is also a copy in the library that is available to check out!


October 2013

Scenes From the Bathhouse

These uproariously funny stories of Russia's leading but outlawed humorist give a behind-the-scenes look at daily life in the Soviet Union---a country of housing shortages and consumers' goods shortages, of inefficiency and bad roads, of bureaucracy and red tape, whose heroes are often fools, knaves, charlatans, fakers, poseurs.

Mikhail Zoshchenko (1895-1958), expelled from the Union of Soviet Writers in 1946 and banned from the Russian press as a "literary tramp," "a brainless and pornographic scribbler," is one of the great satirists of the twentieth century. Candid, spontaneous, immediate, his on-the-spot sketches reveal the Chaplinesque world of the Soviet little man who never wins, victim of himself, of history, of nature, or of all three.
Suggested short stories: What are Good Relatives, The Aristocrat, The Bathhouse

Can be found in the Diversity Center in Memorial Hall or online at http://archive.org/stream/scenesfromthebat031063mbp/scenesfromthebat031063mbp_djvu.txt

Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube LarryU