One Book One Meeting: Racism and White Privilege Part 2

Mountain View Friends Meeting has a Racism and White Privilege group that meets monthly, and discusses a wide range of topics from micro aggressions to nurturing our children. Last month the group met to discuss book titles that might help us explore racism and white privilege. This month we gathered together to decide on which book would best meet our needs, and was most suitable for inter-generational discussion. Some participants chose to write responses to the books they had read, and the group used these responses along with comments made during the meeting to choose our book. Mountain View Friends Meeting's One Book One Meeting:Racism and White Privilege title is My Mother the Cheerleader by Robert Sharenow.

                           My Mother the Cheerleader                                       
I read My Mother the Cheerleader, and couldn't put it down. I thought that author, Robert Sharenow, did a sensitive and convincing job of narrating this story through the eyes of 13- year old Louise Lorraine Collins- an only child living with her single mother in a poor section of New Orleans in 1960: the time when six-year-old Ruby Bridges, a child of color, was brought to her school each morning in a black Pontiac sedan, accompanied by armed federal agents as "cheerleaders" chanted to the large crowd of angry, protesting parents and townspeople: "Two, four, six, eight, we don't want to integrate!" 

I found the character development of a number of characters in the novel to be simple, honest and forthright. It provided a very personal perspective on the myopic views of race in that place and time. Yet it also portrayed in a very realistic way how, through one tragedy or another, inner transformation can happen through which tightly held convictions to white supremacy can loosen and begin shift even among the most staunch. ~ Eric

                  The Lions of Little Rock
I read The Lions of Little Rock, youth fiction, and the adult title,  A Mighty Long Way, My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School, the memoir of Carlotta Walls LaNier, one of the Little Rock Nine who lives in Denver.  They were both gripping well-written stories that I couldn't put down.  I highly recommend both.  ~Judy

I read The Lions of Little Rock also, and really enjoyed it. It gives you a really good feel for the tensions in Little Rock and some of it could lead to questions about what remains these days... ~Penny

A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School
It's (A Mighty Long Way) impact for me was getting inside the actual experience of the 14 year old who reveals her day after day terrors and feelings facing the mobs outside and the small and big tortures of and terrible isolation from the hundreds of white students in Little Rock's Central High.  It is relentless for her and I couldn't even imagine the details she presents, despite what I already know about the struggle.  She also faces guilt for the bombing of her family's home, loss of her dear father's job, and suffering of others because of her wish to get an education.  One of the best things about it as a white person, I think, is the opportunity to hear the thoughts of a black child/woman and feel the oneness, be able to identify with her as a real person, because she goes very deep.  I highly recommend it. ~ Judy

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