Genres: Non-fiction, Young Adult
Publication Date: September 11, 2018 by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
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Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Carol Anderson's White Rage took the world by storm, landing on the New York Times bestseller list and best book of the year lists from New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, and Chicago Review of Books. It launched her as an in-demand commentator on contemporary race issues for national print and television media and garnered her an invitation to speak to the Democratic Congressional Caucus. This compelling young adult adaptation brings her ideas to a new audience.
When America achieves milestones of progress toward full and equal black participation in democracy, the systemic response is a consistent racist backlash that rolls back those wins. We Are Not Yet Equal examines five of these moments: The end of the Civil War and Reconstruction was greeted with Jim Crow laws; the promise of new opportunities in the North during the Great Migration was limited when blacks were physically blocked from moving away from the South; the Supreme Court's landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision was met with the shutting down of public schools throughout the South; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 led to laws that disenfranchised millions of African American voters and a War on Drugs that disproportionally targeted blacks; and the election of President Obama led to an outburst of violence including the death of black teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri as well as the election of Donald Trump.
This YA adaptation will be written in an approachable narrative style that provides teen readers with additional context to these historic moments, photographs and archival images, and additional backmatter and resources for teens.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Before sharing my thoughts on this book on being black in America, I want to give a trigger warning, there is some very violent and graphic content about some of the atrocities committed to African Americans throughout history.
“Racism is a topic so fraught, so taboo these days, the very mention of it causes instant discomfort for most people.”
We Are Not Yet Equal is a nonfiction book about the oppression of black people in the United States throughout history, and how it is still happening today. Even though this book is technically YA nonfiction, it is an important book that everyone can learn from. The authors describe racism in America from Reconstruction to present day.
This book, and the content of the book NEEDS to be taught in schools. We learn about the general events in grade school, but we only hear the positives about the steps forward our country took during desegregation. This book shares more of the context surrounding it. I learned about Brown v the Board of Education, but I never learned about the many other cases before Brown, or the hateful response the case got. I never learned about how some schools around the country SHUT DOWN because they would rather close than integrate.
“Education can be transformative. Education reshapes the health outcomes of a people. Education breaks the cycle of poverty. Education improves housing conditions. In short, education strengthens a democracy”
I’ve heard for so long that our history textbooks are written by the “winners” in this case by white men. To make themselves sound good, we get a glossed over version of historical events, instead of the full story. One president I always hear being discussed in a positive light is Abraham Lincoln because he freed the slaves. In this book Anderson and Bolden discuss how Lincoln made the Emancipation Proclamation, but before that he wanted to expel black people from the U.S. to “save” the nation.
Some of the more recent content discussed in the book is what went on during the Obama administration. This section was completely new to me, especially about the beginning of Obama’s first term because I was too young/not interested in politics (which I realize is very privileged). Even though this information is relatively new, I was surprised at how much I didn’t know before.
“Just as in the past, black respectability or ‘appropriate’ behavior doesn’t’ seem to matter. If anything, black achievement, black aspirations, and black success are construed as direct threats.”
I think this is a book everyone should read. It’s very informative and gives an accurate representation of what went one during these times, and discusses how our country and society is still oppressing black advancement.