Beyond Black and White Book Club

"Nell Irvin Painter". Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikipedia

“Nell Irvin Painter”. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikipedia

The Beyond Black and White Book club is an offshoot of the Beyond Black and White Facebook discussion group founded by attorney and artist Rhinold Ponder. Last year, the group read Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. For 2016, we will be reading The History of White People by historian Nell Painter.  The book takes us from Greco-Roman times forward to show that “whiteness” is neither a static nor stable concept.

From the publisher’s website:

“A mind-expanding and myth-destroying exploration of notions of white race—not merely a skin color but also a signal of power, prestige, and beauty to be withheld and granted selectively”

“Ever since the Enlightenment, race theory and its inevitable partner, racism, have followed a crooked road, constructed by dominant peoples to justify their domination of others. Filling a huge gap in historical literature that long focused on the non-white, eminent historian Nell Irvin Painter guides us through more than two thousand years of Western civilization, tracing not only the invention of the idea of race but also the frequent worship of “whiteness” for economic, social, scientific, and political ends…”

To join the conversation: 

Beginning January 13, 2016, discussion prompt for each chapter will be posted by 8 pm Eastern time, and a link will be posted here and on the  Events page for the Beyond Black and White Facebook Discussion Group. A new prompt and link will be posted each week. Each prompt and all content created or curated in connection with this project belong solely to their respective creators.

Hear Prof. Painter give a reading and discuss her book below: