So much division in this country based on tweets, sound bites, and talking points. Look, I’m a white, straight, married, Christian woman. And in all truthfulness, most of my friends are too. We tend to flock with our own, it’s human nature. That’s why when I meet someone new, someone who is different than me, I try to get to know them, to understand their story and background to help make me a better citizen of the world, to bring me out of my little insular box. I also find reading books that address issues that I am not familiar with helps me understand all sides of an issue as best as I possibly can. Here are some that I have read in the last few years that I highly suggest to help unify our country again and make it not so “Us vs. Them”, no matter who you are. Please note, these books are not from a white, straight, married, Christian perspective. That’s the point. I also tried to stay current in terms of publication dates.
Race Relations: “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehesi Coates and “Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching” by Mychal Denzel Smith. Seriously these books cut to the heart of the problems of race in this country and will transform your thinking in a big way. Also “Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi and “The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead.
Women/Sexism: “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg and “Feminist Fight Club” by Jessica Bennett. These books lay out the problems women, both working outside of the home and working in the home, face every day.
Poverty: “Evicted” by Matthew Desmond and “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance. Poverty is a real issue, one that has generational effects. If you have a roof over your head, three squares, and even a little bit of money, this will open your eyes to how much our country has left the poor behind.
Immigration: “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and “A Nation of Nations” by Tom Gjelten. You will understand why so many see America as their only hope for a better life, whether or not they do it legally or illegally. Look at the issue with a open mind and heart, and ask yourself what you would do in the same situation.
Gay rights: “Love Wins” by Jim Obergefell and “The Gay Revolution” by Lillian Faderman. I’m not asking anyone to change their mind on homosexuality, all I ask it that you read these books to understand their side of the issue.
National security/Islam/ISIS/Middle east: “Isis” by Michael Weiss and “I am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai. Two very different perspectives that are honest and thought provoking.
I think these are the big topics that seem to keep popping up over and over. If we simply seek to understand as opposed to discriminate and judge, we might be able to overcome anything, no matter who runs our government. Peace, people, and READ BOOKS!