Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.
Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.
Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.
Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.
In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women – mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends – view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.
Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Jarvious Cotton’s great-great-grandfather could not vote as a slave. His great-grandfather was beaten to death by the Klu Klux Klan for attempting to vote. His grandfather was prevented from voting by Klan intimidation; his father was barred by poll taxes and literacy tests. Today, Cotton cannot vote because he, like many black men in the United States, has been labeled a felon and is currently on parole.”
As the United States celebrates the nation’s “triumph over race” with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind bars or have been labeled felons for life. Although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, an astounding percentage of the African American community remains trapped in a subordinate status–much like their grandparents before them.
In this incisive critique, former litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it. Alexander shows that, by targeting black men and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of color blindness. The New Jim Crow challenges the civil rights community–and all of us–to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.
The New Press
Racial Profiling – Causes & Consequences
Racial profiling is a phenomenon that has been around for many years; however, since the mid-1990s substantial attention has been given to racialprofiling in general and “driving while black” (DWB) in particular. In fact, as of 2007 there had been over 200 court cases involving allegations ofracial and ethnic profiling against law enforcement agencies in the United States.’ Consequently, it is an issue of significant concern. This book inves-tigates several aspects of this phenomenon.
Racial profiling can occur in a wide variety of instances and settings. It is aform of discrimination by which law enforcement uses a person’s race or indi-cators of their cultural background as the primary reason to suspect that theindividual has broken the law. The term “driving while black” arose from thispractice, as African American drivers frequently complain that police officerspull them over for no other reason than the color of their skin and the stereo-types associated with their race.
Arab Americans and Muslim Americans became concerned with racial pro-filing following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Because theperpetrators of this crime were of Arab descent, Arabs in America complainthat they are placed under intense scrutiny at airports and other locations.Although whites have committed domestic terrorist attacks, they have notbeen profiled in this manner.
While racial profiling can affect many aspects of the lives of minorities, wewill focus on the DWB phenomenon. The CTovernment Accountability Officedefines the racial profiling of motorists as “using race as a key factor in decid-ing whether to make a traffic stop.” Among the most frequently occurringincidences of racial profiling is traffic stops-for minor traffic violations,which often result in vehicle searches for contraband. That is the focus of thisbook, which includes several studies of traffic stops and assesses traffic stopsfrom several perspectives.
Ronnie A. Dunn
Cover Image (c) Shutterstock, Inc.
Kendall Hunt Publishing Company