Monday, September 30, 2019

We must cultivate our social conscience

Social conscience.

Maybe I should give credit to my dad, the XMan, and mom, Anne Stevens, because I grew up cultivating a social conscience. I understood early on that we're all in this together and that we have a country of connection. That's why it's called the United States of America.

My dad loved wearing a T-shirt that said "All One People." A few years back, my mom wore it on the first day of a summer visit. But it's not like we have a social conscience, and it's over. A social conscience is a garden. It must be grown and pruned, and as we get older, we realize more and more. For me, my social conscience has grown, and I'm pretty sure it has collectively in many ways.

So here are 10 nonfiction books related to social conscience that I recommend.

1. The New Jim Crow (2010) by Michelle Alexander
2. White Fragility (2018) by Robin DiAngelo
3. Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1968) by Paulo Freire
4. Born on Third Base (2016) by Chuck Collins
5. Dark Money (2016) by Jane Mayer
6. The Vanishing American Adult (2017) by Ben Sasse
7. Food Not Lawns (2006) by Heather Jo Flores
8. So You Want to Talk about Race (2018) by Ijeoma Oluo
9. Black Boy (1945) by Richard Wright
10. Night (1956) by Elie Wiesel

Bam. Those are some incredible books. I love them.

The other day, my uncle was wondering why I don't read much fiction nowadays. Well, I just think the American norm today is such an odd reality that everyday life often feels like fiction. Nonfiction, especially books connected to social conscience, ground me and actually make me feel more human.

My uncle made a great point. He said, "Nonfiction strives for illuminating truth. Fiction strives for illuminating art."

The project continues tomorrow with our seventh category — "hard to categorize." Stay tuned.


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