Online book club wants to help turn the page on talking about race

LatinaLista — The rise in attacks on Hispanic immigrants, the declaration by Glen Beck of “taking back the Civil Rights movement” and the verbal bashing and stabbing of Muslims are but a few examples of how race continues to be a divisive and contentious subject in this nation.

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While individual communities have held discussions on race issues, and only then when the local situation has become so toxic that it needs to be diffused, a conversation about race has never taken place on a national scale. That realization was the impetus for a new kind of initiative to foster a national discussion about race.

Dubbed the “Race and America’s Future Virtual Book Club,” this national discussion takes the form of a six-week online book club.

Inspired by the title Uncommon Common Ground: Race and America’s Future, organizers of the event hope to draw people “from all ethnic, cultural, social and political backgrounds in an open, honest, and meaningful discussion on race.”

The selected discussion topics to accompany the book explore the challenges and opportunities facing the nation. Reader discussions will revolve around what to do about them.

The Race and America’s Future Virtual Book Club will be hosted through EquityBlog every Wednesday starting Sept. 29 and continuing till election day on November 3, 2010.

Each week, a different topic pertaining to race will be explored.

Sept. 29: Are We Post-Racial Yet?
Oct. 6: Color Lines: Growing and Accepting Diversity
Oct. 13: Race and the Economy
Oct. 20: Urgent Challenges: Immigration, Incarceration, and Climate Change
Oct. 27: New Leadership for now and 2050
Nov. 3: Equity is the Superior Growth Model

“Race can be an incredibly difficult subject to talk about – which is exactly why we must do so as openly and frankly as possible,” said Manuel Pastor, one of the authors of Uncommon Common Ground. “Having these conversations in a way that is personal and candid — but with a focus on the policy agenda that follows — will help lay the groundwork for a national agenda that leads with equity. We hope that the ‘Race and America’s Future Virtual Book Club’ will be a useful step towards pushing this conversation in the right direction, and helping us all reach common ground on today’s most divisive issues.”

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