Reading Recommendations from RDEI Director

Posted on: March 28, 2024

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Reading Recommendation from Tahnayee, RDEI Executive Director 

Boys & Girls Clubs of King County’s Race, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (RDEI) Executive Director Tahnayee Clendinen has put together reading resources to share with our community. Below, you will find two books, one a light read that makes you think and the second a heavier read, both offer profound insights into diverse experiences. Whether it’s through the eyes of mothers in a suburban neighborhood or the powerful essays in “It’s Not About the Burqa,” there’s a lot to learn and reflect on.

Join us in celebrating our diverse traditions and making Boys & Girls Clubs of King County a place where every day is an opportunity to learn more about each other.

For light reading that makes you think:

 

Photo from “Apple Books”

Synopsis from Publisher’s Website:

In the vein of Such a Fun Age, a whip-smart, compulsively readable novel about two upper-class stay-at-home mothers—one white, one Black—living in a “perfect” suburb that explores motherhood, friendship, and the true meaning of sisterhood amidst the backdrop of America’s all-too-familiar racial reckoning.

De’Andrea Whitman, her husband Malik, and their five-year-old daughter, Nina, are new to the upper-crust white suburb of Rolling Hills, Virginia—a move motivated by circumstance rather than choice. De’Andrea is heartbroken to leave her comfortable life in the Black oasis of Atlanta, and between her mother-in-law’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, her daughter starting kindergarten, and the overwhelming whiteness of Rolling Hills, she finds herself struggling to adjust to her new community. To ease the transition, her therapist proposes a challenge: make a white girlfriend.

When Rebecca Myland learns about her new neighbors, the Whitmans, she’s thrilled. As chair of the Parent Diversity Committee at her daughters’ school, she’s championed racial diversity in the community—and what could be better than a brand-new Black family? It’s serendipitous when her daughter, Isabella, and Nina become best friends on the first day of kindergarten. Now, Rebecca can put everything she’s learned about antiracism into practice—especially those oh-so-informative social media posts. And finally, the Parent Diversity Committee will have some… well, diversity.

Following her therapist’s suggestion, De’Andrea reluctantly joins Rebecca’s committee. The painfully earnest white woman is so overly eager it makes De’Andrea wonder if Rebecca’s therapist told her to make a Black friend! But when Rolling Hill’s rising racial sentiments bring the two women together in common cause, they find it isn’t the only thing they have in common. . . .

 

For Heavier Reading:

Photo from Apple Books

Synopsis from Publisher:

 

It’s Not About the Burqa is an anthology of frank and insightful essays by Muslim women about the contemporary Muslim female experience.

‘Passionate, angry, self-effacing, nuanced and utterly compelling in every single way’ – Nikesh Shukla, editor of The Good Immigrant

When was the last time you heard a Muslim woman speak for herself without a filter?

In 2016, Mariam Khan read that David Cameron had linked the radicalization of Muslim men to the ‘traditional submissiveness’ of Muslim women. Mariam felt pretty sure she didn’t know a single Muslim woman who would describe herself that way. Why was she hearing about Muslim women from people who were neither Muslim, nor female?

Years later the state of the national discourse has deteriorated even further, and Muslim women’s voices are still pushed to the fringes – the figures leading the discussion are white and male.

Taking one of the most politicized and misused words associated with Muslim women and Islamophobia, It’s Not About the Burqa is poised to change all that. Here are voices you won’t see represented in the national news headlines: seventeen Muslim women speaking frankly about the hijab and wavering faith, about love and divorce, about feminism, queer identity, sex, and the twin threats of a disapproving community and a racist country.

With a mix of British and international women writers, from activist Mona Eltahawy’s definition of a revolution to journalist and broadcaster Saima Mir telling the story of her experience of arranged marriage, from author Sufiya Ahmed on her Islamic feminist icon to playwright Afshan D’souza-Lodhi’s moving piece about her relationship with her hijab, these essays are funny, warm, sometimes sad, and often angry, and each of them is a passionate declaration calling time on the oppression, the lazy stereotyping, the misogyny and the Islamophobia.

What does it mean, exactly, to be a Muslim woman in the West today? According to the media, it’s all about the burqa.

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