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Rowena's Reviews

My true loves: Wilkie Collins, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anais Nin, George Eliot, James Joyce, James Baldwin, George Orwell, Oscar Wilde, bell hooks, Chinua Achebe, Langston Hughes, William Shakespeare... I'm falling for : Italo Calvino, Toni Morrison, Frantz Fanon, Wole Soyinka, Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston, Albert Camus, Margaret Atwood, Somerset Maugham, Junot Diaz, A.S. Byatt... And the lists continue to grow! I will read almost anything, as long as it's well-written. I always love to expand my reading horizons.

Currently reading

Edward W. Said
Infinite Jest
David Foster Wallace
Finnegans Wake (Trade Paperback)
James Joyce
Black Like Me - John Howard Griffin I can't say enough good things about this book. I thank men like John Howard Griffin who took a stand against racism despite the fact that their own people were vehemently against it. This entire book was a fantastic sociological and journalistic investigation of colour relations in the South in the 50s and 60s. It answered some questions I've always wanted to know, for example how did racist Christians justify their racism? Doesn't God teach us that we are all equal? The answer the author came up with was often racism hides under the guise of patriotism.

The book also educates the reader on many key members of the civil rights movement (including Martin Luther King, jr) which I found to be very helpful.

Another central point the author makes is that race has no scientifically-proven bearing on intelligence or morality; it's the societal structure we are forced to live in, what we are given, what we are deprived of and how we are treated by others that makes us the person we are.

I know that racism was a big problem in the South but I was still shocked to read how pervasive it was and what extreme forms it took. The fact that the White author could barely survive 6 weeks as a Black man shows how demoralizing it must have been to live as a Black person back then.

This book is definitely something everybody should read. Racism isn't as prevalent as it was in the 1960s but it's still here. Our attitudes about people of different races need to change, people need to be given equal opportunities despite the colour of their skin.