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Green Books Campaign: Sistah Vegan

November 10, 2010

This review is part of the Green Books campaign.Today 200 bloggers take a stand to support books printed in an eco-friendly manner by simultaneously publishing reviews of 200 books printed on recycled or FSC-certified paper. By turning a spotlight on books printed using eco- friendly paper, we hope to raise the awareness of book buyers and encourage everyone to take the environment into consideration when purchasing books.

The campaign is organized for the second time by Eco-Libris, a green company working to make reading more sustainable. We invite you to join the discussion on “green” books and support books printed in an eco-friendly manner! A full list of participating blogs and links to their reviews is available on Eco-Libris website.

So! I participated in the first EcoLibris day last year, and I am happy to be joining in the event again this year. As a card-carrying tree hugger, I try to take a hard look at my own habits and how they affect the environment. In many ways, being too sick to work automatically makes one a greener reader: I use my library all of the time because I don’t have a lot of money to spend on books, and the books I do buy are secondhand. Also, I know that there’s a bit of an elephant in the room whenever we talk about environmentally friendly publishing: ereaders. But without getting into that discussion right now, I will say that as someone who deeply values books in their paper form, I hope that the industry finds a sustainable (in all senses of that word) way to continue publishing hard copies. I’m delighted at the list of publishers participating in this year’s campaign, and in future years I expect that list will grow longer. :) If you’re curious about how any of your books were printed, usually you’ll find out somewhere in the first couple of pages.

As far as the book I’m talking about today, Sister Vegan ed. by A. Breeze Harper, Lantern Books is part of the Green Press Initiave. The book itself is printed on 30% post-consumer recycled paper, processed chlorine free. (If you’re curious to know more, Webcom, the print provider, has a gallery of green books.) And of course, the book is about one of the most environmentally friendly moves you can make: becoming vegan. When I was scrolling through the list of books I could pick for the campaign, this one jumped out at me. As y’all know, I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 16 (except for when I studied abroad in Russia), and last year I decided to spend the first three months eating only vegan. It was going along quite well, until in June I discovered I was gluten intolerant. Suddenly, I felt like I had nothing to eat, so I went back to being a vegetarian, aiming to eat two vegan meals a day (a la Mark Bittman’s Food Matters). I didn’t feel as happy, though, and when I read Eating Animals earlier this year, I went back to eating vegan as much as possible. When I’m at home, I avoid all animal products; sometimes, when I’m in a restaraunt I’m forced to choose between going hungry or eating something vegetarian with dairy (this is primarily because I can’t eat gluten), and in those cases I choose eating. I don’t beat myself up over this, because we all do what we can, but it’s why I describe myself as ‘a vegetarian eating vegan as much as possible’ rather than just a vegan. That, and I still wear wool and silk. But this is a post for another time (one I’ve been working on in my brain for awhile now, so hopefully it’ll be in decent condition soon). I just wanted to give y’all some context for how I approached the book.

Its subtitle is: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Idenitity, Health, and Society, and it’s an anthology of essays by various African American vegan women, as well as a few poems. I was curious to see the racial aspects of choosing an animal-free lifestyle, especially after reading an introduction in Vegan Soul Kitchen a few months ago (which is a great cookbook, by the way!). And I learned a lot from reading this. But I should be upfront that as a white woman, I’m not the target audience: the contributors to Sistah Vegan were obviously writing with their fellow African Americans in mind.

That being said, I found the collection to incredibly uneven. I think to a certain extent all anthologies suffer from this, but it’s heightened here by the fact that none of the contributors are professional writers. They’re vegans in all kinds of work, which is great from a well-rounded background perspective, but not so great from a reading one. While some of the essays inspired me, and even brought me to tears, with their lyrical writing, some of the other ones made me want to break out my red pen and edit like there was no tomorrow. Most fell in the middle of the continuum, but the very middle of the book felt especially weak, and after a couple back-to-back essays I briefly considered giving up. I’m glad I stuck with it, though, since the final few essays were some of the best! Anyway, my point is that this is a book you read for the ideas, not for the writing.

And the ideas are fascinating! In addition to discussions of animal rights (and there are vegan contributors who care deeply about animals and ones who are completely dismissive of the whole concept of animal rights), there’s also a lot from the feminist angle (body image in particular), health effects, and of course from the human rights/anti-racism approach. While I didn’t necessarily learn a lot of new facts, I did look at those facts through different eyes, and I feel like I have a more wellrounded idea of veganism, both as an individual choice and as a movement, than I did prior to reading this book. I also feel renewed inspiration in my commitment to social justice: it’s easy to feel burned out sometimes, looking at all of the injustices in the world, and reading about so many strong women who are willing to take a stand as well just felt good. :)

That being said, I’m not sure how effective it would be to an audience not already sympathetic towards veganism. There’s quite a bit of anger and extreme statements on the filthiness of animal products bandied about, which I have a feeling would cause non-vegans to bristle. For people who are already contemplating cutting out animal products, especially for African American women who might worry about appearing ‘white,’ I think this is a great book. But it’s a bit too confrontational and extreme to convert the masses. Also, there are a couple essays that are very New Age, which might confirm the stereotypes that non-vegan readers have about ‘those crazy vegan people.’

So! I’m delighted to have this on my shelves, but it won’t replace Food Matters as my go-to recommend book for non-vegans curious about ethical eating. If you’re already a vegan, or already interested in social justice, you’ll find much to think about in these pages. But otherwise, I’d highly recommend reading Mark Bittman’s book instead. (If I could magically make everyone in the world read one book, Food Matters would be the one.)

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42 Comments leave one →
  1. November 10, 2010 1:37 pm

    Interesting sounding book Eva. I won’t be looking it up because it would likely just make me bristle :) But then, no book (or idea) is for everyone and this definitely sounds like it will be a great one for many. And you are right, sounds like more of a book for ideas than writing.

  2. November 10, 2010 2:56 pm

    I was wondering what your take on this one would be. I’m glad you found some value in it and were able to share that, while at the same time sharing your own views & experience.

  3. November 10, 2010 3:25 pm

    Like Amy, I think I’d bristle. But I’ll look up Mark Bittman now.

    • November 11, 2010 12:44 pm

      With all do respect Jeanne, if we don’t bristle, where’s the growth? If we only expose ourselves to what’s comfortable and familiar, how are we then challenged in this life?
      Just my thoughts. :-)

  4. November 10, 2010 5:01 pm

    Like you I’m gluten-free and vegetarian, and like you I’ve been vegan in the past (for a few years), but found it very difficult to eat out (in restaurants or at other people’s homes). I also just really like the taste of cheese (and ice cream!), so I find it pretty hard to be totally vegan. But I think I need to read Mark Bittman’s book!

  5. November 10, 2010 5:57 pm

    I’ve been considering going vegetarian for a while. I don’t eat meat often, and I have only cooked meat 2 or 3 times in the last year. I hang on because every once in a while I want a hamburger, a real one, not the black bean Morningstar (really great) burgers I keep on hand.

    Vegan I don’t think I could do at all because I love cheese and am so darn picky, but this book, though uneven, still sounds interesting. It’s a shame an editor didn’t take the red pen up her/himself to keep that from happening, but if some of the essays were worth it, I may have to hunt this one down. Thanks!

  6. November 10, 2010 7:20 pm

    I’m not much into veganism, but I’ve had a few friends and a cousin adopt the practice because of health issues and allergies.

  7. jane permalink
    November 11, 2010 2:14 am

    This does sound interesting – and I’m now also very keen to read Food Matters. Mark Bittman isn’t such a big deal here so I’ve never picked up anything of his. And am awaiting Eating Animals in paper back – I’ve got it preordered! I have been a vegetarian for more than two years now, after eating a particularly delicious (sorry, but it really was!) salt beef sandwich at Katz’s on the lower east side as my very last meat meal. And I don’t miss it a bit. My reasons for continuing to be vegetarian are not at all the same ones that I started off as one, which were a little hazy if I’m honest with myself. Funny how you can come to gain new reasons for a choice you have already made, but I really have. Will put the Mark Bittmann on my Amazon wishlist.

    And-whoa- just read the blog post about your review on the Sistah Vegan site. How rude, and inaccurate, and discriminatory, and insulting. And most of all, I just can’t believe how many things she seems to have “read” in your review which you did not even nearly say, and how little she seems to have noticed all the positive things you did say.

  8. Linda Ciaravino permalink
    November 11, 2010 8:57 am

    How interesting that you make a grammatical error yourself as you begin to criticize the book:
    “That being said, I found the collection to incredibly uneven.”

  9. November 11, 2010 11:03 am

    This is the comment that I left on the Sistah Vegan blog:

    “I’ve been reading “the reviewer’s” blog for a long time and I have to say that she is one of the most race-conscious reviewers out there. I’m sorry you didn’t like her review, but this post paints her in a light she doesn’t deserve.”

  10. November 11, 2010 11:06 am

    It does sound like it has a rather niche audience. The grammatical errors would probably get on my nerves too.

  11. November 11, 2010 12:06 pm

    The Sistah Vegan anthology is not a book for people interested in becoming vegan. Even though some of the contributors may express a strong opinion about veganism, the anthology is not meant to convert readers over to a vegan philosophy or make them feel bad about their choices.

    Sistah Vegan’s main goal is to give a voice to black-identified women who also identify as vegan, an identity that often creates a duality in black sociocultural spheres. In a community that is largely white, male, and middle class when it comes to media representation, it is important that nonwhite people create their own spaces in which to speak freely and truly about their experiences.

    I find it odd that you would use Food Matters as a comparison to Sistah Vegan. These are two entirely different books, and it suggests that you really didn’t read SV or fully understand the context in which the anthology was put together.

    It is also extremely problematic for you to assume that none of the writers are “professional”. More than a few of the contributors have (Ivy League) graduate degrees and a couple are PhDs. At least three of them are published writers.

    How much more “professional” do you have to be than that?

    That statement, along with wanting to “break out my red pen and edit like there was no tomorrow” is incredibly offensive to both the contributors, the editor, and the publisher, especially as the anthology was “professionally” edited.

    It doesn’t matter if you don’t “like” this anthology. You don’t have to like anything and you’re entitled to your opinion. But, simply liking or disliking something without engaging in critical thought or dialogue on a book review site is, extremely shallow and lazy.

    What you think are “ideas” are in fact actual and tangible projects within black-identified spaces of health and plant-based lifestyles. It’s OK that you are unaware because it’s not your experience, but it’s not OK for you to dismiss them as fantasy.

    It’s also curious that you can be both race-conscious and not see how using certain words or phrases can be seen as negative and offensive from both an historical and contemporary context when speaking about the experiences of nonwhite people.

  12. November 11, 2010 12:19 pm

    Melissa, as book bloggers what we do is read books and critique them by our personal standards. These are not Kirkus reviews. We tell the reader why we personally did or did not like a book.

    If some things are grammatically incorrect and it was professionally edited I would assume the editor left it in for the voice to stand out to the reader. Obviously as stated in the review Eva is not the target reader for this book.

    I am constantly struggling with whether or not to eat meat and this wouldn’t be a book I would pick up for myself on the issue. It’s not my demographic, but I am sure it will be a help-meet for it’s target audience.

    • November 11, 2010 12:30 pm

      But that’s just it – SISTAH VEGAN IS NOT A SELF-HELP OR A HOW-TO ON THE VEGAN EXPERIENCE. It is an anthology that explores a cross-section of the vegan experience within the intersections of race, class, and identity. Why is that difficult to understand?

      The “personal standards” expressed here are the exact reasons a book like Sistah Vegan has to be published in the first place – normative whiteness and the issue of who gets to decide what is “good” and “professional” writing.

      And, the target audience is anyone who wishes to learn about the specific experiences of black-identified female vegans. So, Sistah Vegan has essentially lost about 10 potential readers because it doesn’t meet “personal [grammatical] standards” of the reviewer who is highly revered by her readers.

      I am not the “target audience” of Food Matters, but, I plan to read it. I expect it to “help” me in some areas, and to be completely irrelevant in others. It doesn’t make it more or less worthy of me reading it because I am not the target audience. It is not more or less worthy by virtue of being more, “grammatically correct” than say, Sistah Vegan.

      • November 11, 2010 12:36 pm

        Melissa,

        Attacking the reviewer isn’t going to help the situation either. Explaining where you are coming from will. I get what you are saying and I said I am not the target demographic because I am struggling with my decisions still. As you stated this book is not meant to convert and I am still in conversion. I read the article on the Sister Vegan blog as well. I saw many quotations there that I can’t find in this article at all. Responding to a negative book review is never the answer. Everyone gets negative reviews, everyone! There is no book out there that someone didn’t dislike and Eva even states that she does LIKE the book and is DELIGHTED to have it on her shelf.

      • November 11, 2010 1:16 pm

        I admit I am assuming that you took this to be a negative review, at least on balance, which you deny below. Honestly, I can’t read your response any other way when it includes things like:
        “So, Sistah Vegan has essentially lost about 10 potential readers because it doesn’t meet “personal [grammatical] standards” of the reviewer who is highly revered by her readers. “

        Actually, I think a review like the one that Eva posted is a lot more likely to attract potential readers to “Sisteh Vegan” than to scare them off. I am willing to bet that most of Eva’s readers had not yet heard of “Sisteh Vegan” and might have been intrigued by the review enough to try it, until the argumentative responses and out of context quoting. Something that authors have been learning as book blogs and other forms of reader reviews is that it is almost never a good idea to respond to a negative review. It is almost impossible to do without appearing defensive, even if that was not the original intention.

        Might there have been a better way for Eva to phrase some of her issues with the book? Perhaps, yes. However, this is her BLOG, not a professional review site. She is not assigned to read books for an organization, nor is she compensated for her reviews, and she is entitled to post her thoughts however she wants to do so. I do wish that you and Breeze had approached the discussion of privilege and race shaping her perception of the book in a more constructive way, because I think she would have been highly receptive to such a conversation, and it could have been a great platform for you to discuss those issues.

  13. November 11, 2010 12:21 pm

    This is the first time I have heard of the Green Books campaign. What a fabulous concept.

  14. November 11, 2010 12:44 pm

    Why do you feel that we are “attacking” Eva?

    No one is attacking her.

    We are simply pointing out how class, race, and privilege shapes perception and how it is increasingly difficult to speak through an objective lens when one is not aware of how their experiences shape their opinions.

    I don’t believe this to be a negative review.

    It’s just a review.

    So, what are you assuming about the way we received the review?

    • November 11, 2010 12:45 pm

      As a side note, this is the first time Breeze has ever responded to anyone’s review – positive or negative.

  15. November 11, 2010 12:56 pm

    I think it is an ‘attack’ on the reviewer when a blog post is made with all kinds of quotations that just are not true. No where did Eva say any of that stuff. I was unaware of all of this stuff but have a bad taste in my mouth from her response just because I like facts and I think reviews should never be responded to. Not once did Eva offend or try to offend anyone. Before you count us all off as white middle class Americans a lot of us do care. I have the PoC Reading Challenge that I started to abolish white washing of book covers and encouraging people to read outside of their racial profile. This book just wasn’t for the reviewer there is no need to make apples out of oranges here. It’s simple. This book just didn’t appeal to a particular person and the last I checked we were still able to voice our opinions without the fear of backlash and quotes that never were said.

  16. November 11, 2010 1:04 pm

    Any quotes that I used came from the review and from a comment or two.

    Last time I checked, any time you voice your opinions in a public space, you ARE placing yourself at the risk of backlash (as well as misinterpretation).

    And, again, the original point of Breeze’s response is missed here. On the SV blog, one of the things we do is look at the way our personal histories prevents us from seeing through an objective lens if we are not aware of how our experience shapes our belief systems.

    When we are suggesting that this review is a “white, middle class American” response, it is because Food Matters, a “white, middle class American” book written by a “white, middle class American” author is thrown in for comparison.

  17. November 11, 2010 1:08 pm

    This has nothing to do with race. The quote that was in quotations and was not said by Eva is this “bunch of inarticulate black women who don’t know how to write and need a good editor”
    Where in this article does Eva say that?

    Anyway my last comment I have books to read and review.

  18. November 11, 2010 1:16 pm

    It has everything to do with race when you lack the critical race awareness to understand how an opinion made by a white person about the quality of a black person’s contribution is offensive.

    That quote is the title of the blog post, interpreted from the reviewer’s opinion where she wrote that the writers were not professional and that she wanted to pull out her red pen and start editing.

    Now, when I was in high school and college and saw my papers “bleeding” from red pen edits, it meant that I was not articulating my thoughts clearly enough for the professor to understand. In my case, it wasn’t “professional” writing. In this case, if someone is suggesting that the contributors are not professional writers, it can also be suggested that not professional=inarticulate.

    Good day.

  19. November 11, 2010 1:20 pm

    This is not a negative review!

    None of us are saying this is a negative review.

    Define “attack”. There was no name calling, no qualifying about her “credentials”.

    I don’t get it: Eva gets to have an opinion about the book, but we don’t get to have one about her review?

    Interesting.

    • November 13, 2010 11:48 am

      Melissa,

      “Attack: to assail with unfriendly or bitter words.”

      Here’s the thing, I think the people who are defending Breeze’s post are looking at Eva’s words the wrong way. Though Eva mentions race, it seems to me that she looked at this book primarily from a vegan perspective than from a racial one. We all approach books in different ways and perspectives. As an African American who does eat meat, I would have approached this book from primarily a racial perspective which is the total opposite of Eva. Now you couldn’t pay me to pick this book up.

      I didn’t get the idea that Eva thought the book was written by “a bunch of inarticulate black women who don’t know how to write and need a good editor”, which is the phrase Breeze used to sum up Eva’s review. I also don’t think that the fellow bloggers who are defending Eva are defending racism. This isn’t a racist review. Yes, you can have an opinion but when you attack the reviewer, it’s looked at as being “unprofessional”.

  20. November 11, 2010 1:51 pm

    So Eva said she wanted to pull out a red pen and start editing. And now we are looking at how race, class and privilege affect perception. I called Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel a mess, disjointed and extremely boring. Gee, nothing happened. Seems that as an African woman, I might just have a free pass to say what I like :).

    Seriously, Eva deals even-handedly with books by white and nonwhite authors. This is not a defense of her. The numerous reviews on this blog are testament to my statement. Oh, and she is not shallow and lazy. This is a book blog. It is highly subjective. Hell, I once read on the book blog that Beloved was the world’s most overrated book. You know what I did? I took some time to read other stuff on the blog to decide for myself whether the blogger was just an ass (Beloved is the best book ever) or whether he had just read the book wrong.

    The Sistah Vegan project is entitled to have an opinion on Eva’s review. Its opinion is that Eva’s white privilege affects her perception of the book. Yes, Eva does have white privilege. However, what if her opinions of the books are not informed by her privilege?

  21. November 11, 2010 3:01 pm

    I m so sorry for some of the comments eva , I agree with what Kinna has Just said I think Eva does a wonderful job bring the world of books to every one in her even hand way she judges books and has probably done as much if not more to promote world lit what ever race colour creed or religion !!!!

  22. Marg permalink
    November 11, 2010 3:10 pm

    Wow! After reading Eva’s review, I might have been tempted to pick up the book, despite the fact that I am definitely not the target audience, but I am interested in finding out about why people make the choice to become vegan or even vegetarian.

    Eva’s review didn’t lose a potential reader for the book, but the response certainly did.

    An opportunity for dialogue instead of confrontation has been missed here, because Eva would have been one of the best blogger’s around to have a discussion about some of the issues raised with!

  23. Leigh permalink
    November 11, 2010 5:43 pm

    Rise above all this pettiness ladies. This is the kind of nonsense that keeps us from moving forward. We are here in the great melting pot with a wonderful black president, surrounded by opportunity,change and hope is in the air. Life is good.

  24. November 11, 2010 7:01 pm

    Eva – I think your review is perfectly fine. In fact, I’m not overly interested in being a vegan (I think it’s silly) nor am I a tree hugger. I believe the only right an animal has is to be treated humanely by people and there’s nothing I love more than a good ribeye steak. But, since you reviewed the book, I read the review. Without you, I would never have heard of it.

    Melissa’s comments, however, have made dang sure I’d never consider picking it up.

    Please leave the review up.

    • November 12, 2010 11:22 pm

      That is unfortunate. Sistah Vegan is a wonderful work. There are many voices there that I am glad I was able to discover. It is sad that you would let one individual, because of her comments, keep you from that.

    • Justine permalink
      November 25, 2010 2:17 pm

      I agree with Simone. You are being petty if you will not read the anthology because a commenter criticized Eva’s review.

      Melissa is not attacking Eva. She is presenting a perspective analytically.

      And I reiterate Simone’s first post: IF WE DON’T BRISTLE, WHERE’S THE GROWTH?

  25. November 11, 2010 7:29 pm

    Eva-
    I read this post earlier and didn’t leave a comment, nor did I see the nastiness left here. I loved the review. It was heartfelt and you stated clearly why the book was not for you. I appreciate your honesty. I know you to be a fair and understanding individual and the statements made about you, and your blog, are simply ludicrous.

  26. Maureen McPherson permalink
    November 11, 2010 7:31 pm

    As a white woman who has worked diligently on becoming as racially conscious and conscientious as possible I can see where the reviewer is missing some key points. Becoming self-aware around my own whiteness, dominant cultural whiteness in general, and the implications of these things is not always easy, comfortable, or getting my way (a common problem with dominant cultural perspective: we think ours is the only perspective and mostly want everything to go our way how and when we want it). I will say this: It’s been absolutely liberating to actually see – clearly – perspectives other than the culturally dominant one.

    So upon reading this thread, I can see so much happening that is going on within the conversations themselves let alone the actual review.

    I pose these questions to those in particular conflict with michelle danielle (though it’s clear that there is conflict with the author though it is michelle danielle who has brought her experience forward):

    What if her experience and the experience of the author were absolutely true for them? What if they actually knew and understood THEIR experience better than those who are making every attempt to deny them their experience (by defending and going on about the reviewer, etc.)? Could you, for a moment, suspend your disbelief of their experience? Sit with that for some time.

    Take yourselves personally out of the equation and look at the systematic complexities being discussed. This is a HUGE teaching and learning moment that we need as white women and it’s being completely missed. michelle danielle is gifting readers of this blog some *insight* to cultural relevancy that dominant culture (whiteness culture) consistently and constantly resists, not because this insight is wrong but because it is valuable.

    But don’t take my word for it; listen to the voices of several white educators and professionals who have had similar experiences of self-reflection. You don’t know what you don’t know so how would you know, right? Here is an opportunity to know and grow.

    And here is a valuable tool (continued in 5 parts):

    Thank you for reading.
    Maureen

    • November 12, 2010 11:27 pm

      I love what you said here, Maureen. It looks like you have achieved some level of self-reflection yourself. :-)
      Thank you for sharing this video link. I had never heard of this film before. It looks fascinating.
      I hope the posters here will take your advice and check it out as well.

  27. Noah permalink
    November 13, 2010 9:59 am

    I think what Breeze wrote is true. The comments on this blog are playing out all of the classic deflection techniques used when racism is pointed out. Note: this does not mean “Eva is a racist.” It’s not about her personal views or actions; it’s about a system of racial privilege and oppression that we live in and that white people benefit from at the expense of people of color.

    Eva, I see that you’ve read the Invisible Knapsack, and I think it’s interesting that you haven’t weighed in to “defend” yourself. Maybe part of you sees the truth in what Breeze wrote, but you’re yet able to publicly admit that or defend her critique to the other commenters.

    In looking at your reviews, I don’t see many books on the subject of racism. Reading books by people of color in general is important, but as a white person, I never really got racism until I started reading nonfiction books specifically about racism and white supremacy.

    There are so many excellent books, it is hard to know where to begin. Since the issue here is specifically involving Black women, this list is weighted toward that, but many of the titles address racism in general. I would be excited to see reviews of the following:

    Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum

    Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde (I recommend this since the essay “Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism” is describing exactly the dynamics in the comments)

    Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Davis

    The Color of Wealth: The Story Behind the U.S. Racial Wealth Divide by Meizhu Lui

    Black Looks: Race and Representation by bell hooks (or any of her many works)

    Tim Wise (I’ve only read White Like Me, but he has a couple of newer ones also)

    Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James Loewen

  28. November 13, 2010 2:54 pm

    Ok, I’m still trying to wrap my mind around all the comments left here and at the Sistah Vegan author’s website.

    Eva explained what she liked, and didn’t like about this book. She said she would be glad to have it on her shelf. What’s wrong with that?

    But, instead, it seems that this has turned into an entirely different issue. Racial priveleges, etc.

    It’s not fair to assume that anyone “has it all” or is “privileged”. We don’t know what truly goes on with everyone. We are all different (and not just by color or gender — it might be disabilities, sexual preferences, illnesses, mental health issues, alcoholism/drugs, what have you), yet one basic core thing that we all want and need is this: respect.

    But, I didn’t feel that Eva was being disrespectful. She was trying to articulate what parts didn’t fit for her, along with what she liked, about this book. I have been reading her blog for quite a while, and I’ve never had the impression that she was a disrespectful person. If I had that impression, I’d have quit reading her blog a long time ago.

  29. Mumsy permalink
    November 13, 2010 8:03 pm

    Wow. When I finished reading Eva’s review, I was thinking about how much diverse viewpoints add to a discussion, and how important it is to hear alternative voices. After reading the comments, though, I am left thinking only one thought: THIS IS WHY WE NEVER TALK ABOUT RACE.

    Well done, Eva, both in your review (which I enjoyed, and which made me interested in the book) and your refusal to be sucked into the the comments.

  30. Maureen McPherson permalink
    November 15, 2010 11:44 pm

    Excellent recommendations, Noah!

    @Mumsy: AND THIS IS WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO TALK ABOUT RACE: So we can understand each other.

    @Valerie: See video link I posted above. That explains exactly what you’re wondering about.

    Maureen
    —————
    “You can’t heal it unless you feel it.”

    • November 16, 2010 9:06 am

      Maureen — I went to the video, but it didn’t have built-in captions. I’m deaf, and captioning is a must. I did see that it has a beta voice-recognizition captioning option, but that method is almost as bad as no captions at all. Perhaps someone will be willing to take the time to transcribe and provide captions to these videos, so that they are accessible to more people.

  31. December 29, 2011 12:22 am

    Wow. When I finished reading Eva’s review, I was thinking about how much diverse viewpoints add to a discussion, and how important it is to hear alternative voices. After reading the comments, though, I am left thinking only one thought: THIS IS WHY WE NEVER TALK ABOUT RACE.

Thank you for commenting! For a long while, my health precluded me replying to everyone. Yet I missed the conversation, so I'm now making an effort to reply again. It might take a few days though, and there will be times when I simply can't. Regardless, I always read and value what you say.

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