For the fifth issue of the URBAN-X Zine, contributor Katerina Athanasiou has selected six books about equity to read or listen to. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World
by Anand Giridharadas
Anand Giridharadas—alum of Sidwell Friends and the University of Michigan, former Harvard PhD student, New York Times columnist, and McKinsey consultant investigates the global elite’s fascination with “changing the world.” His own experiences offer a unique insider’s critique of a system that both needs to be changed, yet has served the author well. Winners Take All introduces a long needed conversation about the contradictions in modern philanthropy: the wealthy are dedicated to societal change, yet refuse to dismantle the systems that perpetuate inequality. The book takes a fascinating look at the roles of business, government, and philanthropy and challenges recent trends and instincts to blur lines between sectors. A must read for anyone passionate about social justice and equity broadly.
By Virginia Eubanks
Automating Inequality is an eye-opening portrait of the real-world impacts of data, analytics, and algorithms on the lives of poor and working-class Americans. The author, SUNY Albany political science professor Virginia Eubanks brings two decades of expertise in community technology and economic justice into focus in her writing. If you care about surveillance capitalism, the class-divide in 21st century America, or technology and justice, this will be right up your alley.
Design Justice: Community-Led Practices to Build the Worlds We Need
By Sasha Constanza-Chock
Sasha Constanza-Chok introduces an approach to design led by marginalized communities with the goal of challenging structural inequalities, rather than multiplying them. The book incisively explores the relationship between design, power, and social justice, and invites readers to “build a better world, a world where many worlds fit; linked worlds of collective liberation and economical sustainability.” Using a variety of examples of community-led social movements around the world, Design Justice is a call to action to rethink how we work.
By Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren K. Klein
Assistant MIT Professor Catherine D’Ignazio and Associate Emory Professor Lauren K. Klein penned “Data Feminism,” which examines data science and ethics through the lense of intersectional feminism. As described by their publishing page, the book is “about power, about who has it and who doesn’t, and how those differentials of power can be challenged and changed.”
A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and its Assault on the American Mind
By Harriet A. Washington
In July 2019, National Book Critics Circle Award winning author Harriet A. Washington published “A Terrible Thing to Waste.” The book examines the impacts of environmental racism and what can be done to address its devastating effects. Among many alarming facts the author cites: “Middle class African American households with incomes between $50,000 and $60,000 live in neighborhoods that are more polluted than those very poor white households with incomes below $10,000.” This book is an essential primer on environmental racism
Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology
By Kentaro Toyama
Based on his own experience starting Microsoft Research India, Kentaro Toyama challenges the assumption that technology can drive social change. “Geek Heresy ‘’ looks at a number of case studies in which millionaires, developers and scientists tried to invent technology to address the world’s most pressing issues. His conclusion? Technology is a tool, not a solution. The solutions we seek depend on human change and dynamics that technology alone can’t bring.