The Inclusive Culture Book Club creates intentional space and time for employees to engage in conversations about DEI-related books. This remote book club meets about monthly.
The goal of this book club is to create a more inclusive culture by:
- Building and enhancing professional relationships and trust among colleagues.
- Expanding knowledge, skills and perspectives related to DEI:
- Cross-cultural/intercultural communication
- How to have difficult conversations
- Cultural competency and cultural humility
|October 18, 2023||1 p.m.||Finding Latinx: In Search of the Voices Redefining Latino Identity by Paola Ramos||Register here|
January 2023 Selection
Crying in H Mart
By Michelle Zauner
In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humor and heart, she tells of growing up one of the few Asian American kids at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother’s particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of treasured months spent in her grandmother’s tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food.
As she grew up, moving to the East Coast for college, finding work in the restaurant industry, and performing gigs with her fledgling band–and meeting the man who would become her husband–her Koreanness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. It was her mother’s diagnosis of terminal cancer, when Michelle was twenty-five, that forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her.
Vivacious and plainspoken, lyrical and honest, Zauner’s voice is as radiantly alive on the page as it is onstage. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, and complete with family photos, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and reread.
March 2023 Selection
Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do
By Claude M Steele
The acclaimed social psychologist offers an insider’s look at his research and groundbreaking findings on stereotypes and identity.
Claude M. Steele, who has been called “one of the few great social psychologists,” offers a vivid first-person account of the research that supports his groundbreaking conclusions on stereotypes and identity. He sheds new light on American social phenomena from racial and gender gaps in test scores to the belief in the superior athletic prowess of black men, and lays out a plan for mitigating these “stereotype threats” and reshaping American identities.
May 2023 Selection
By Tommy Orange
A wondrous and shattering award-winning novel that follows twelve characters from Native communities: all traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow, all connected to one another in ways they may not yet realize.
Among them is Jacquie Red Feather, newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind. Dene Oxendene, pulling his life together after his uncle’s death and working at the powwow to honor his memory. Fourteen-year-old Orvil, coming to perform traditional dance for the very first time. They converge and collide on one fateful day at the Big Oakland Powwow and together this chorus of voices tells of the plight of the urban Native American—grappling with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and spirituality, with communion and sacrifice and heroism.
July 2023 Selection
Nonbinary: Memoirs of Gender and Identity
Edited by Micah Rajunov and Scott Duane
What happens when your gender doesn’t fit neatly into the categories of male or female? Even mundane interactions like filling out a form or using a public bathroom can be a struggle when these designations prove inadequate. In this groundbreaking book, thirty authors highlight how our experiences are shaped by a deeply entrenched gender binary.
The powerful first-person narratives of this collection show us a world where gender exists along a spectrum, a web, a multidimensional space. Nuanced storytellers break away from mainstream portrayals of gender diversity, cutting across lines of age, race, ethnicity, ability, class, religion, family, and relationships. From Suzi, who wonders whether she’ll ever “feel” like a woman after living fifty years as a man, to Aubri, who grew up in a cash-strapped fundamentalist household, to Sand, who must reconcile the dual roles of trans advocate and therapist, the writers’ conceptions of gender are inextricably intertwined with broader systemic issues. Labeled gender outlaws, gender rebels, genderqueer, or simply human, the voices in Nonbinary illustrate what life could be if we allowed the rigid categories of “man” and “woman” to loosen and bend. They speak to everyone who has questioned gender or has paused to wonder, What does it mean to be a man or a woman—and why do we care so much?
September 2023 Selection
Finding Latinx: In Search of the Voices Redefining Latino Identity
By Paola Ramos
Latinos across the United States are redefining identities, pushing boundaries, and awakening politically in powerful and surprising ways. Many—Afrolatino, indigenous, Muslim, queer and undocumented, living in large cities and small towns—are voices who have been chronically overlooked in how the diverse population of almost sixty million Latinos in the U.S. has been represented. No longer.
In this empowering cross-country travelogue, journalist and activist Paola Ramos embarks on a journey to find the communities of people defining the controversial term, “Latinx.” Drawing on intensive field research as well as her own personal story, Ramos chronicles how “Latinx” has given rise to a sense of collectivity and solidarity among Latinos unseen in this country for decades.
A vital and inspiring work of reportage, Finding Latinx calls on all of us to expand our understanding of what it means to be Latino and what it means to be American. The first step towards change, writes Ramos, is for us to recognize who we are.
Books are chosen by the inclusive culture sub-group of the DEI Committee. Members of the book club and the broader UWS community are also invited to make book suggestions by sending ideas to [email protected].
How to Get a Book
- Use a copy you already own or borrow from a friend/ colleague
- Reach out to your local library, including the UWS library
- Check out used or inexpensive options at a local or online bookstore
- The DEI Committee will have a limited number of copies for employees to borrow. Contact Bola Majekobaje for more information.
Sponsored by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
- DEI Committee
- UWS Library
Inclusive Culture Sub-Committee members: Johnny Kang, Bola Majekobaje, Ritah Parrish, and Alec Torres
- Foster a co-learning environment. We are all on a path of learning and are striving to do the best we can. Gaining cultural competence and practicing cultural humility is a life-long process.
- Correct gently, but do correct. If participants say something that is incorrect or offensive, politely address what was said. One method is to use curiosity and inquiry if there are questions about intent. For example… “Tell me more about what you mean when you say…?”
- Make space, take space. Participants should be aware of how much they are speaking. If they feel they are speaking a lot, they should let others speak, and if they find themselves not talking, they should try to contribute some comments, ideas, or suggestions.
- Assess your individual safety and use discernment. Your individual safety is important. Please only share as much as you feel comfortable. The intent is that learnings from the book club will be shared, but please refrain from using names or personal stories of colleagues.
- At the same time, lean into discomfort. Book club topics can sometimes be challenging. Be willing to experience some discomfort in discussions, and learn from that experience.
- Take care of yourself. If the discussion is too intense or makes you feel too uncomfortable, please feel free to step away.
- Use “I” statements. Everyone should speak from his/her/their own experiences.