Thinking about Charlottesville

Are you struggling with how to process the hate and violence committed in Charlottesville this past weekend? One step you can take is to better understand the history and ideology of the groups involved. American Swastika: Inside the white power movement’s hidden spaces of hate, by criminology professor Pete Simi and sociology professor Robert Futrell, draws on a decade of research and interviews to reveal how white power groups recruit,organize, and perpetuate their ideology. You can follow this up with a short interview on NPR with ex-FBI agent, Michael German, who explains how although the group names have changed since the 1990s, the underlying ideologies and tactics are the same. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has also just published a guide for students to understand and counter the alt-right on campuses. And finally, if you want to take a stand against hate in your own community, the SPLC has an excellent guide for recognizing and responding to every day bigotry. If you’d like more recommendations, just ask a librarian.

Colleges address needs of transgender students

This week’s Chronicle of Higher Education has a special report on transgender issues on college campuses. The related articles include perspectives from students, faculty, and administration all weighing in on what can be done to make campuses more inclusive and safe, and what barriers still remain. Definitely worth a read as we move forward in efforts to make our own campus more welcoming to students, staff, and faculty who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming.
From one of the included articles:
‘Ask Me’: What LGBTQ Students Want Their Professors to Know


When something as violent, hateful, and tragic as the June 17th shooting at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church takes place, it can be difficult to know how to respond and move forward. For many, this act of terrorism evoked a long history of racial conflict and violence, and to engage in conversations about the current state of race relations, we all need to have this historical perspective. Within days of the massacre, academics, educators, librarians, and activists were sharing resources on social media connected with the hashtag CharlestonSyllabus. Chad Williams, Associate Professor of African and African-American studies at Brandeis University and one of the founders of the hashtag, speaks to the value of this movement:

What quickly emerged in just two days was a diverse community of people from a variety of professions, with divergent levels of historical expertise, all sharing a desire to educate, learn and challenge the prevailing discourse about race stemming from the Charleston tragedy…This endeavor is a work of serious historical scholarship firmly rooted in the African American intellectual tradition.

These resources have been collected by the African American Intellectual History Society, an organization founded in January 2014 to foster dialogue about researching, writing, and teaching black thought and culture. The #Charlestonsyllabus page is an extraordinary collection that includes many primary sources available online as well as books and articles you can find or order through the Moraine Valley library.

Recognizing an Important Legal Scholar

I stumbled across this article today and thought it was a perfect read for Black History Month as well as a good complement to our discussion earlier this week about James Baldwin in the Civil Rights movement. Ruth Bader Ginsburg credits Dr. Pauli Murray for the hard legal work that brought about one of her most important legal cases, the 1971 case Reed vs Reed.

Black, queer, feminist, erased from history: Meet the most important legal scholar you’ve likely never heard of

Black, queer, feminist, erased from history: Meet the most important legal scholar you've likely never heard of

Necessary Conversations

Talking about race and the way it impacts our lives, our neighborhoods, our schools, our jobs, and our relationships can be hard and complex. It’s a conversation that is often avoided in both inter-personal relationships and our larger culture. The recent grand jury decisions not to indict the police officers that killed two black men–Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO and Eric Garner, in Staten Island, NY–have made the conversation necessary and urgent on a local and national scale.

There’s a lot of information about both cases in the media, but getting some background information about the issues might  be the best way to start. This CQ Researcher article about race and ethnicity (MVCC login required) is a good place to acquainted with the issues that are coming up in the discussions around the grand jury decisions.

Social media is one way to keep up with immediate responses to these issues by activists, the media, and regular people like you and me. Take a look at the hashtags #blacklivesmatter #ferguson and #ericgarner on Twitter or Facebook.

Colorlines, an online news source focused on race issues, is rounding up the news related to Ferguson as well as Eric Garner at

The reporting on these cases in the mainstream media  has reflected a wide range of biases–take a look at a number of sources to get a well rounded picture.

There are also lots of organizations working for change. If you’re interested in activism in your neighborhood or nationally, you might want to take a look at this list of organizations compiled by the Black Youth Project Chicago.

Here in the library we’ve started having some conversations about race in relationship to our One Book, One College author, James Baldwin. His work in the civil rights movement, and the essays he wrote about being a black man, the racially motivated violence he saw in his own Harlem neighborhood, and the larger power dynamic at play in the country during the 50s and 60s, still resonate. His Collected Essays are worth reading.

If you’re looking for more information about the issues brought up in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases, we have a number of books about racism, police accountability, and racial profiling here in the library. Here are a few titles to get you started, and if you don’t see what you’re looking for in this list, please ask a librarian!

Race and ethnic relations : American and global perspectives / Martin N. Marger

Racism without racists : color-blind racism and the persistence of racial inequality in America / Eduardo Bonilla-Silva

Revealing whiteness [electronic resource] : the unconscious habits of racial privilege / Shannon Sullivan

The harms of crime media : essays on the perpetuation of racism, sexism and class stereotypes / edited by Denise L. Bissler and Joan L. Conners

Blue vs. Black : let’s end the conflict between cops and minorities / John L. Burris ; with Catherine Whitney

Cop watch : spectators, social media, and police reform / Hans Toch

Racial profiling : research, racism, and resistance / Karen S. Glover

Racial profiling / Fred C. Pampel



The 26th Annual Lambda Literary Award Winners

The Lambda Literary Foundation has been recognizing the best of LGBT writing since 1987, providing visibility to often marginalized writers and literature. This year’s award winners represent a wide range of genres and come from major publishing houses as well as independent presses. All of the selections look like fantastic additions to a summer reading list.

One of the features of this year’s ceremony was this video compilation from the “What LGBTQI Book Saved Your Life” campaign. It’s a powerful testament to the importance of LGBT literature. Look for the short clip that features Giovanni’s Room, this year’s One Book, One College selection.

Lambda Literary Awards 2014 from melanie larosa on Vimeo.

Laverne Cox on the cover of Time

The June 9 issue of Time magazine features Orange is the New Black star and transgender rights activist, Laverne Cox. The cover story, “The Transgender Tipping Point”, isn’t yet available on our databases yet (look for full-text next week on Academic Search Complete), but an excerpt of Cox’s interview is available on Time’s website. I also recommend the short video below–a great behind the scenes look at her photo shoot.

We are in a place now where more and more trans people want to come forward and say ‘This is who I am.’ And more trans people are willing to tell their stories. More of us are living visibly and pursuing our dreams visibly, so people can say, ‘Oh yeah, I know someone who is trans.’ When people have points of reference that are humanizing, that demystifies difference.

If you’re not quite sure what transgender means or how gender identity is different from sexual orientation, you might also want to take a look at this glossary we’ve included on the One Book, One College site.

If you’re interested in learning more about transgender issues, the library has a variety of resources you can find through our catalog.

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Eating disorders impact 4% of the US population across gender, race, age, and class lines, and take a devastating toll on the mental and physical health of those who sufferer from these illnesses. National Eating Disorders Awareness Week seeks to dispel the myths surrounding eating disorders and help connect people to needed resources.

For more information, take a look at

Helping Typhoon Haiyan Survivors

Hearing reports of the devastation in the Philippines caused by Typhoon Haiyan over the past few days has been heart-wrenching and overwhelming. Wondering how you can help? The Center for High Impact Philanthropy has an excellent guide for how best to contribute to the relief efforts:

Instead of providing items, you can best help by providing financial donations to first-responder nonprofits.  Such donations allow first responders to purchase and deliver exactly what is needed quickly and cost-effectively, responding flexibly as needs on the ground change.

They provide a few select options for giving opportunities now, and also explain the need for long-term aid for recovery efforts.

GuideStar also provides an extensive list of charities providing typhoon relief in the region.