by Wendy Stein
Michele Platte is a former marketing professional turned stay-at-home mom. After living out-of-state, she and her husband (both Fort Wayne natives) returned to the area to start their careers and their family. Before the demands of motherhood took precedence, Michele spent much of her time serving on the board of the Junior League of Fort Wayne. Aside from having lots of fun with her 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter, Michele enjoys girls’ nights with friends, hiking, dabbling with calligraphy and hand lettering designs, and date nights with her husband.
What are you currently reading?
This summer I made a commitment to become more educated about racism in our country to better understand the unrest we have seen this year. As someone who is a straight, white, Christian woman, I have not experienced much discrimination so I sought to consume information that could help me understand how people of color are feeling and what I can do to be an antiracist. Over the last few months, I have read “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo and “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, which were both phenomenal books. Next on my list is “How to Be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi.
However most recently, I finished “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander. The book recounts the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status. Alexander details thoroughly how the War on Drugs and the U.S. legal system have worked together to create a system of racial control, even as the system adheres to the principle of “colorblindness.”
It is by far the most powerful book I have ever read and has left an astounding impact on how I look at the racial climate in our country today. I have enjoyed reading it for the sheer amount of education it has provided me as someone who has not had to experience the challenges of racism in my own life. The book however can be a bit hard to get through. It is dense with information and has few anecdotes or stories, so I found it read much like a textbook. It also stirred up many emotions – anger, sadness, confusion, mistrust, discouragement. With a problem as big as mass incarceration it is hard to know what you can do personally to help make any changes in the system.
Despite those few difficulties, I did enjoy reading it and I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about mass incarceration of people of color in the United States. It is truly eye-opening.