The selected readings are to supplement and encourage further discovery on topics covered in the Penn Experience: Racism, Reconciliation and Engagement course and Penn Vet Diversity Equity Lecture Series. Access is limited to the books so please follow guidance provided by the library if you encounter any access issues. These are not required or assigned readings and it is not our expectation to overwhelm anyone with a sense of urgency. We hope you will take your time and read these books at your leisure. However, there will be opportunities throughout your progression as students, faculty and staff to discuss the themes in these books and the contributions to these discussions by those who have read any of these books will be vital.
Selections focus on bias and the experiences of different groups in American society. Choose the tabs to see selections by topic.
The following is a general book on the science of prejudice, showing that prejudice and unconscious biases toward others are a fundamental part of the human psyche.
In print and online. "Accessible and authoritative . . . While we may not have much power to eradicate our own prejudices, we can counteract them. The first step is to turn a hidden bias into a visible one. . . . What if we're not the magnanimous people we think we are?"--The Washington Post I know my own mind. I am able to assess others in a fair and accurate way. These self-perceptions are challenged by leading psychologists Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald as they explore the hidden biases we all carry from a lifetime of exposure to cultural attitudes about age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, social class, sexuality, disability status, and nationality. "Blindspot" is the authors' metaphor for the portion of the mind that houses hidden biases. Writing with simplicity and verve, Banaji and Greenwald question the extent to which our perceptions of social groups--without our awareness or conscious control--shape our likes and dislikes and our judgments about people's character, abilities, and potential. In Blindspot, the authors reveal hidden biases based on their experience with the Implicit Association Test, a method that has revolutionized the way scientists learn about the human mind and that gives us a glimpse into what lies within the metaphoric blindspot. The title's "good people" are those of us who strive to align our behavior with our intentions. The aim of Blindspot is to explain the science in plain enough language to help well-intentioned people achieve that alignment. By gaining awareness, we can adapt beliefs and behavior and "outsmart the machine" in our heads so we can be fairer to those around us. Venturing into this book is an invitation to understand our own minds. Brilliant, authoritative, and utterly accessible, Blindspot is a book that will challenge and change readers for years to come. Praise for Blindspot "Conversational . . . easy to read, and best of all, it has the potential, at least, to change the way you think about yourself."--Leonard Mlodinow, The New York Review of Books "Banaji and Greenwald deserve a major award for writing such a lively and engaging book that conveys an important message: Mental processes that we are not aware of can affect what we think and what we do. Blindspot is one of the most illuminating books ever written on this topic."--Elizabeth F. Loftus, Ph.D., distinguished professor, University of California, Irvine; past president, Association for Psychological Science; author of Eyewitness Testimony
Print through Penn. Online access: 14 day free access through Open Library/Internet Archive, read online, must create an account. For twenty-five years, Debby Irving sensed inexplicable racial tensions in her personal and professional relationships. As a colleague and neighbor, she worried about offending people she dearly wanted to befriend. As an arts administrator, she didn't understand why her diversity efforts lacked traction. As a teacher, she found her best efforts to reach out to students and families of color left her wondering what she was missing. Then, in 2009, one "aha!" moment launched an adventure of discovery and insight that drastically shifted her worldview and upended her life plan. In Waking Up White, Irving tells her often cringe-worthy story with such openness that readers will turn every page rooting for her-and ultimately for all of us.
Print and online. The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality. In this "vital, necessary, and beautiful book" (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and "allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to 'bad people' (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.