White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo, a Review

People are losing their minds over White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo.

Losing. Their. Minds.

Why? Because the truth is hard to swallow, isn’t it? If you google “white fragility,” you will find pages of links to chat rooms, YouTube videos, podcasts, and talk shows deliberating about this book (even if the arguers have admittedly not read it). Robin DiAngelo has white and black people from all walks of life discussing the content in her book. She has made an impact on the race debate in the United States, and White Fragility is a pivotal book for those wanting to improve society. 

Curious? So was I, so I jumped on the bandwagon and read the book.

Wow, was I shocked and enlightened!

Robin DiAngelo discusses what she termed, “white fragility,” a means of protection of racial control and white advantage. She discusses the differences between prejudice, discrimination, and racism, and gives countless, detailed examples of white fragility in action. She argues that racism is the foundation of Western society. We are socialized into a racial hierarchy, shaped by forces of racism, and no one is exempt. Therefore, racism must be continually identified, analyzed, and challenged. Racial hierarchy is invisible and taken for granted by most white people.

(Before you stop reading this blog or are tempted to call me a name, read the book and decide for yourself.)  

To improve society as a whole, it is vital to understand what Robin means by “white fragility” and the privilege that comes with a white, American birthright, whether we are born poor, middle class, or rich. It is time to stop dismissing the experiences of black people. To do so is to remain in the dark and perpetuate racism. It is to never improve society.

I am going to take a stand here and proclaim that I agree with DiAngelo; I found Robin’s argument sound and her assertions backed up with ample evidence. As a Hispanic woman who grew up working-poor in a white, upper middle-class neighborhood, I witnessed racism many times. I also experienced it as a Hispanic American, and so did my parents. I am not black, of course, and I do not claim to know what it is like to live as an African American in the United States, but I did experience prejudice, discrimination, and racism as a Hispanic female. (Maybe someone needs to write a book about systematic Hispanic racism, but this blog is not about that).

I recommend White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo to all white people (Yes, a pretty broad category, isn’t it?). I highly suggest reading it with an open mind.  It might be difficult to read because of what the author implies, but I found DiAngelo’s argument strong. This book is a must-read for students of racial, white, ethnic, or cultural studies.

A bit about the author, Robin DiAngelo:

Robin DiAngelo is a consultant, educator, and facilitator for over twenty years on issues of racial and social justice. She has worked with a range of organizations, including private, governmental, and nonprofit.

She holds a Ph.D. in Multicultural Education from the University of Washington in Seattle (2004) and also two honorary doctorate degrees in the areas of Whiteness Studies and Critical Discourse Analysis. She is currently Associate Professor of Education at the University of Washington, Seattle.

A two-time winner of the Student’s Choice Award for Educator of the Year at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work, she has numerous publications and books, including Is Everybody Really Equal?: An Introduction to Key Concepts in Critical Social Justice Education, co-written with Özlem Sensoy, which received both the American Educational Studies Association Critics Choice Book Award (2012) and the Society of Professors of Education Book Award (2018). 

To learn more about Robin DiAngelo, or to purchase a copy of White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism, visit RobinDiAngelo.com.

The Art of Writing: Four Principles for Great Writing That Everyone Needs to Know by Peter Yang, a Review

For the writer, there is no better way to spend a couple of hours than to read about how to write better, right? How about picking up The Art of Writing: Four Principles for Great Writing That Everyone Needs to Know by Peter Yang?

A short, quick read summarizing the basic elements of good writing, Yang’s book is a plethora of information for any aspiring or experienced writer. Peter Yang talks about four basic principles: economy, transparency, variety, and harmony. He breaks down each of these precepts in detail to explain what he deems an artistic writer. Peter concludes The Art of Writing with a section on practical advice: the importance of reading to write better, planning your writing sessions, writing every day, taking breaks, and more.

Peter Yang believes writers who express their ideas from their point of view, write clearly, and do not compromise their authentic voice and truth is what makes the difference between average writers and best-selling authors. Furthermore, artistic writers are meticulous, know and write for their audience, are sincere and do not lie to their readers, are not obsessed with perfection, and know when to break some of the rules. Artistic writers are humble and always learning. This kind of writing draws in the reader and stimulates him to contemplate what he reads.  

I was grateful to stumble upon this book. Although I have a writing degree and have written for years, I welcome a refresher on how to write concisely, coherently, cohesively, and artistically. Peter’s book is now on my bookshelf as a powerful guide on writing.  

I recommend The Art of Writing: Four Principles for Great Writing That Everyone Needs to Know to writers seeking to improve their craft, those aspiring to write their first book, or those looking for inspiration on the writing process. For students in college, this is a great book to carry in your backpack as a reference. You won’t be disappointed!

A bit about the author, Peter Yang:

Peter Yang is an international bestselling author of several books in the writing field, an award-winning Canadian writer, a public speaker, and an eternal student. Peter’s journalistic efforts have also appeared in many different papers and other news outlets across Ontario and beyond.

In addition to his literary career, Yang is an experienced entrepreneur with a track record of helping early-stage companies. He is the founder and CEO of Reviewerly, a tech startup focused on gathering customer reviews for online brands.

To purchase a copy of The Art of Writing: Four Principles for Great Writing That Everyone Needs to Know, or to learn more about Peter Yang, visit peteryangauthor.com.

Looking to publish your book? Visit TCKpublishing.com.

The Courage Map: 13 Principles to Living Boldly by Franziska Iseli, a Review

Unique and inspiring, The Courage Map: 13 Principles to Living Boldly by Franziska Iseli demonstrates how to live your best life by stepping out in courage despite the fear you may face.  

Most people stay locked in their fear. How many times have you not pursued your passions because you were afraid? How many times have you told yourself that you “can’t do it,” or how many times have you given up because things got too difficult or because you were afraid?

I sure have!

Franziska, in The Courage Map, gives us a guide on how to change the habit of fear, to live boldly, and do the great things we aspire to do.

The thirteen principles in Iseli’s book are very helpful and will inspire you to live a passionate and fearless life. Each chapter explains how to overcome obstacles that hinder our dreams, our desires, and our goals. An adventurer and world traveler, Iseli beautifully weaves her travel stories from her motorcycle trip on the Silk Highway from Switzerland to Kazakhstan into this book, explaining how she overcame her fears by taking needed courageous steps. She recaps the lessons and beautiful, unforgettable moments that came from those once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

This book was a pleasure to read. As a lover of traveling myself, some of her amazing stories brought tears to my eyes, not only because I could imagine myself experiencing what she wrote about (I have always wanted to learn to ride a motorcycle and travel around the country but did not due to … wait for it… lack of courage), but also because I resonated with the interpretation of her travel experiences and how her courage brought about a richer, more fulfilling adventure. Franziska also includes suggested intentions, exercises, and questions at the end of each chapter for further contemplation and self-improvement.

I recommend The Courage Map: 13 Principles to Living Boldly by Franziska Iseli to anyone seeking to learn how to live with courage and live in the present moment, or to those seeking self-improvement, a passionate life, mindful living, or more joy in their lives. This reading would also be exceptional for those interested in psychology and human behavior.

A bit about the author, Franziska Iseli:

Franziska Iseli is a visionary and eternal optimist. No challenge seems to be too big for her, it seems. She is known for her rebellious nature and doing things differently. She has this rare combination of being both creative and strategic, which makes her a powerful leader in the business world as entrepreneur and co-founder of several companies: Basic BananasOceanLoversMoments of Humanity, and The Business Hood.

In addition to The Courage Map: 13 Principles to Living Boldly, Franziska Iseli is the author of Perception: Take charge of how others view your brand, Become Irresistible and Make a Bigger Impact, and Bananas About Marketing: How to Attract a Whole Bunch of Customers. 

In her spare time, Franziska loves going on mad adventures, surfing the ocean’s waves, motorcycling around the world, playing music with her band Salty Lips, learning, writing, meaningful discussions, and spending time with family and friends.

To learn more about Franziska Iseli, visit: FranziskaIseli.com.

To purchase a copy of The Courage Map: 13 Principles to Living Boldly, visit Amazon.

Thinking about publishing your book? Visit TCKpublishing.com.

December Book Review: I am Enough: Mark Your Mirror and Change Your Life by Marissa Peer

A quick, easy but profound read, I am Enough: Mark Your Mirror and Change Your Life by Marissa Peer is a book for those who are willing to heal from their childhood emotional wounds and want a simple, very effective solution with dramatic change. Marissa’s book will help you realize what is holding you back from living the life you truly want and deserve.

Sound cheesy? Well, it’s actually not.

Let me tell you I used to be very insecure. I grew up in an emotionally abusive household and was constantly told I was never enough explicitly and implicitly: no matter what I did, it was not good enough or wrong. I was made to feel that my very existence was shameful. A childhood like this is incredibly damaging on so many levels. It takes years, decades, and sometimes a lifetime to change these beliefs and reverse the damage from this type of abuse (and it took me decades to heal). Learning how to accept and love myself, to love others, and to love my life is to thrive, and this is what Marissa’s book taught me. It can do the same for you!

Marissa demonstrates, step by step, how to heal from the emotional damage you might have experienced by changing your thinking to create happiness, better handle anxiety, and feel a million times better. She demonstrates how our thoughts can be destructive habits and to change them is to create a more joyful life, and more. What I love most about this book and Marissa’s approach is that she gets right to the bottom line: you believe you are NOT ENOUGH.

If you are addicted to alcohol or porn, if you have issues with self-image, if you eat for emotional reasons, or end up in harmful relationships, etc., you basically believe there is something wrong with you (consciously or unconsciously), or that you are not enough. Through decades of research and experience, Peer has determined that the common thread to additions or damaging behavior is the belief that we are “not enough.” She offers the solution to misery, and it is easier than you think it is.

I recommend I am Enough: Mark Your Mirror and Change Your Life by Marissa Peer to anyone who has been abused, those who struggle with low self-esteem or self-hate, and those who are ready to become healthy and happy. Honestly, you can read this in one or two hours and do the exercises she recommends, and it will improve your life!

A bit about the author, Marissa Peer:

Marissa Peer is a motivational speaker, psychologist, and hypnotherapist. She started her career as a child psychologist, and after decades of counseling clients realized there was a faster, more efficient way to heal her clients’ emotional wounds, so she developed her own pioneering hypnotic therapy. In addition, Marissa is a national magazine columnist and has appeared on major media outlets and television shows including GMTV, Lorraine Kelly, This Morning, Sky News, ITV News, BBC News, Channel 4 News, BBC Radio, Supersize Versus Superskinny, Celebrity Fit Club, Celebrity Big Brother, and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. She has appeared on countless news channels in America, Scandinavia, Japan, Africa, and throughout Europe.

A best-selling author of five books including I am Enough, Marissa lives in Britain and improves people’s lives worldwide.

To learn more about Marissa Peer or to purchase a copy of I am Enough: Mark Your Mirror and Change Your Life, visit: MarissaPeer.com.

November Book Review: Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind by Yuval Noah Harari

Truly fascinating and unique, Sapiens: A brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, is a detailed, engaging summary of the history of human beings.

Harari demonstrates how humans are the only species willing and able to believe what only exists in the imagination such as money, human rights, religion, and states. He brilliantly weaves the history of humans as far back as the Stone Age to modern day with the goal of discovering who we are and why we do what we do.

What fascinated me the most about Sapiens was the author’s viewpoint on the processes throughout history that shaped and influenced human thought: the cognitive revolution, the agricultural revolution, the creation of money, philosophical inquiry, the birth of science and the scientific revolution, capitalism and the industrial revolution, the creation of boundaries and states, the information age, genetic engineering, and more recently, artificial intelligence. Yuval also mentions how modern animal agriculture is one of the worst atrocities humans commit. His book bridges the gaps between biology, economics, history, and philosophy. It is a stunning read.

The culmination of Harari’s, Sapiens, is the conclusion regarding the upcoming artificial intelligence age. Harari argues that humans have not evolved and concludes that robots (or AI) will eventually eliminate most jobs, and that the rich will eventually be able to re-engineer bodies and minds. His book shows that humans pride themselves on their high intelligence, however most of us are not happier for it. I hate to state the obvious, but this reading provokes deep thought and emotions, and book clubs should definitely add this book to their reading list. Sapiens was received well by the general public but some scholars have criticized Harari’s assertions and conclusions.

I highly recommend Sapiens: A brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari to those interested in a deeper examination of who we are as human beings. The book covers the relationship we have with science, religion, ecology, money, politics, our happiness, and our future. For students of world history, Sapiens is a must read!

A bit about the author, Yuval Noah Harari:download harariProfessor Yuval Noah Harari is a historian, philosopher, and bestselling author. Born in Haifa, Israel, in 1976, Harari received his Ph.D. from the University of Oxford in 2002 and currently lectures at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Department of History. He has written another book, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, after writing Sapiens, and also authored 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. His books have sold millions of copies worldwide.

To learn more about Yuval Harari or to purchase Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, visit ynharari.com. 

October Book Review: The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption by Dahr Jamail

 

As an admirer and preserver of nature, I found Dahr Jamail’s The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption pertinent, engaging and beautifully written. Attacking a very difficult subject to ponder (much less write about), Jamail weaved his personal experiences from climbing Denali Mountain in Alaska with climate science and what ensued is a very thoughtful and poignant book.

Interviewing experts in perspective places on earth who have watched and experienced the changes of our climate occur over decades, Jamail discusses the melting of the ice caps, glaciers, and permafrost in Greenland and in the Arctic; the rising of sea levels worldwide; the dying Great Barrier Reef; the warming of our oceans, including the numerous loss of marine life; the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest and ramifications thereof; the loss of habitat in forests; the extinction of millions of species; the sinking of coastal cities, islands, and towns; the feedback loops already occurring; and more.  He also explains how all of this is and will continue to gravely affect all animal, plant, and human communities worldwide. He includes a chapter on grieving for what has happened (and what might occur) and ends his book with a question for all of us: “Knowing what is happening to the planet, to what do [we] devote [our lives]?”

The urgency of acting to combat the worldwide major problem of climate change cannot be overstated. It is absolutely vital that we take part in doing everything we can to stop (or at least slow down) the process of climate change for our survival. At the rate we are living life, our children and grandchildren will not have enough water, clean air to breathe, or an inhabitable planet in which to live. We must change our energy system to green/clean energy, and we must stop consuming animals (animal agriculture is the second largest contributor to human-made greenhouse gas emissions after fossil fuels and is a leading cause of deforestation, water, air pollution, and biodiversity loss).

I urgently recommend The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption by Dahr Jamail to anyone interested in the science of climate change, the student of environmental science, activists for planet Earth, and to anyone who cares about our future as a species. It is well written and well documented.

A bit about the author, Dahr Jamail:Dahr_Jamail

Dahr Jamail, an accomplished mountaineer who has worked as a volunteer rescue ranger on Denali, is the winner of the Izzy Award for excellence in journalism and the recipient of the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism, and winner of other awards.  As an accomplished reporter who spent more than a year reporting from Iraq, he is also the author of three other books: Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq; The Will to Resist: Soldiers who Refuse to Fight in Iraq or Afghanistan; and The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Disintegration of a Nation (co-authored with William Rivers Pitt).

Dahr lives in the state of Washington. Denali is still his favorite mountain to climb.

To purchase a copy of The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption by Dahr Jamail, visit: DahrJamail.net.