Community Notebook: New book club aims to improve interracial understanding in Palo Alto | News | Palo Alto Online |


Community Notebook: New book club aims to improve interracial understanding in Palo Alto

Book club kicks off Saturday, Oct. 10, with reading and discussion of 'The New Jim Crow'

A new book club starting in Palo Alto seeks to bring readers one step closer to understanding what it's like to be in another's skin.

The book club, which aims to improve local interracial understanding, is kicking off on Saturday, Oct. 10, with the reading and discussion of "The New Jim Crow — Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness."

The New York Times best-selling novel by civil rights litigator and scholar Michelle Alexander is an exposé of how mass imprisonment in the United States has created a racial caste system, according to reviewers.

The book shows how through each generation new tactics have evolved to exclude African-Americans — especially men — from participating in American democracy.

Mass incarceration is a direct descendant of earlier forms of social oppression that has "emerged as a stunningly comprehensive and well-disguised system of racialized social control that functions in a manner strikingly similar to Jim Crow," Alexander wrote.

A reading and discussion of "The New Jim Crow" will take place on Saturday and Nov. 14 at 10 a.m. at University AME Zion Church, 3549 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. The book club is open to everyone and it will feature additional books and discussions in the coming months.

Related content:

Palo Alto Kids' Carnival looked to build racial, ethnic bonds and friendships in community

African Methodist Episcopal Zion members mourn in aftermath of Charleston killings

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.


2 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 9, 2015 at 4:53 pm

The book club is a good start to OPEN communication. Good luck!

By the way 10:00AM on a Saturday???? I bit early for a weekend day.

18 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2015 at 6:05 pm

[Portion removed.]

A book club won't help this. Racial sensitivity training and sociology training WILL.

3 people like this
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Oct 10, 2015 at 12:19 am

"Mass imprisonment in the United States?" Is the author suggesting that those incarcerated did not commit crimes?

Interracial understanding is one thing; an agenda is quite another.

6 people like this
Posted by Ken Joye
a resident of Ventura
on Oct 10, 2015 at 9:24 am

Regarding the comment by @NoraCharles, may I respectfully suggest that she and others who question the sub-title actually read the book? I just finished it and found that the author made many persuasive arguments. I am contemplating what "corrective" measures might be taken for colorblindness.

15 people like this
Posted by Que Pasa
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 11, 2015 at 1:51 pm

I am an avid reader and like book clubs. I don't think the major issue in Palo Alto is discrimination against Blacks by Whites, but discrimination by Whites against Latinos due to cultural differences in values. I also see discrimination against Chinese nationals by Latinos and Whites, as well as plenty of reverse discrimination by Chinese nationals against Whites and Latinos---as well as unqualified fear of Blacks by Chinese and Korean nationals, both of whom Blacks seem to find to be rude.

A book club might help these issues if books could be found that address them, but I think some of these issues are still too new.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Pluto's appears to close after more than two decades in downtown Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 14 comments | 7,207 views

What Local Teens are Saying
By Sherry Listgarten | 19 comments | 2,928 views

Plastic vegie bag ban: Pragmatic? -- or simply politically correct?
By Diana Diamond | 35 comments | 2,162 views

Edible Education – Free Course - UC Berkeley Online
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 1,489 views

Letting Christmas Linger
By Cheryl Bac | 5 comments | 656 views


Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund

For the last 26 years, the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund has given away more than $7 million to local nonprofits serving children and families. When you make a donation, every dollar is automatically doubled, and 100% of the funds go directly to local programs. It’s a great way to ensure your charitable donations are working at home.