Justice & Equity Reading Group

The Office of Equity and Inclusion invites members of the Bates College community (students, staff, and faculty) and our neighbors in Lewiston/Auburn to participate in our Justice and Equity Reading Group.

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We in the OED launched the Justice and Equity Reading Group in late-2016 in an effort to galvanize difficult but necessary conversations on issues of social and political import. Each chosen text is short and accessible online at the link below.

If you’re interested in joining our reading group, then simply read the selection(s) listed here in advance of our proposed gathering. Lunch will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

We meet from 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. in the Office of Intercultural Education (OIE) on the dates indicated below. We look forward to seeing you soon!



Go Ahead, Speak for Yourself

Kwame Anthony Appiah, New York Times Opinion, August, 10, 2018. “Not Every Opinion Needs to Be Underwritten by Your Race or Gender, Or Social Identity.”


America’s Forgotten History of Illegal Deportations 

Alex Wagner, The Atlantic, March 6, 2017. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the country carried out a wave of unconstitutional raids that affected as many as 1.8 million people. Is it on the verge of doing so again?


This American Life: The Walls Podcast and Interactive Maps

Host, Ira Glass; Act One: “Just Another Kind of Outdoor Game” by David Kestenbaum; Act Two: “No One Has Seen Them Made or Heard Them Made” by Brian Reed; Act Three: “He Is All Pine and I Am Apple Orchard” by Mariya Karimjee; Act Four: “We Keep the Wall Between Us As We Go” by Lizzie Presser.


A Letter to My Nephew

By James Baldwin, December 1, 1962.


The Education of Little CIS

By Anne Finn Enke, 2013. “Cisgender and the Discipline of Opposing Bodies’’ In the Transgender Studies Reader 2


It Pays to Work at Harvard: School Policy Has Ensured that workers live Middle-Class Lives. Can it Be Copied?

Eduardo Porter explores the success by unions and student protesters to increase wages for kitchen and custodial staff at Harvard. New York Times, September 9, 2018.


FALL 2018



“White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard to Talk to White People About Racism” (2015).

Robin Di Angelo explains white people’s reluctance to talk about racism.


“I Know What Incarceration Does to Families. It Happened to Mine” (2018)

Michiko Kakutani considers the parallels between the WWII internment of people of Japanese descent and the current mass detainment and separation of migrant families.


“Know Your History: Women of Color Have Been Moving Beyond Prochoice for Decades” (2014)

Verónica Bayetti Flores explains the difference between advocating for reproductive justice and reproductive rights.

First Light, 13-minute documentary about the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).


“Voter Suppression is Warping Democracy” ( 2018)

Vann R. Newkirk considers the historical legacies of current restrictions on voting rights and the impact on communities of color.

“Why Virginia’s Restoration of Voting Rights Matters” (4 Minute Video)

Video explores the impact of the restoration of voting rights to people convicted of felony offenses.


“How Tough Is It to Change a Culture of Harassment at Ford? Ask the Women Who Work There” (2017)

Susan Chira and Catrin Einhorn explore why sexual and racial harassment persist despite legal protections and workers struggles.


 “My Grandmother Washes Her Feet in the Sink of the Bathroom at Sears” (2013)

Mohja Kahf’s poem illuminates Muslim rituals and the misunderstandings that can occur.





“Do we need to Rethink the Prison Industrial Complex?”(2015)

Jacob Ertel examines the language we use to talk about prisons and punishment.


“Black Mothers Keep Dying After Giving Birth”(2017)

Nina Martin & Renee Montagne explore gender, race, and health care in the United States.


“Against the Melting Pot Metaphor: On Arguments Over Americanization & Homogenized Culture”(2017)

Mike Wallace considers the relationship among nation, state, and culture.


“The Racial Wealth Gap”(2017)

Janelle Jones unpacks tax policy, wealth accumulation, and race in the United States.


“How I am Fighting Bias in Algorithms”(2017)

Listen to Joy Buolamwini offer a TEDTalk on bias in technology.  


“An Intimate History of America”(2017)

Clint Smith examines remembering and misremembering injustices through a visit to the new National Museum of African American History and Culture.

FALL 2017

WEDNESDAY: 9/13/2017

“White-Collar Supremacy” (2016)

Kelly Baker examines the ways in which white supremacy is narrated in popular discourse.

WEDNESDAY: 9/27/2017

“Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference” (1984)

Audre Lorde explores the ways in which notions of human difference and identity are created, sustained, and challenged through discourses of power and desire.

WEDNESDAY: 10/11/2017

“Still Loving in the (Still) War Years: On Keeping Queer Queer” (2009)

Cherríe Moraga examines the intersection of queerness and freedom in U.S. politics.

WEDNESDAY: 10/25/2017

“Growing up in Maine’s ‘Cancer Valley’” (2017)

Kerri Arsenault reflects on place, identity, and environmental classism in Maine.

WEDNESDAY: 11/8/2017

“Censorship, Not the Painting, Must Go: On Dana Schutz’s Image of Emmett Till” (2017)

Coco Fusco examines the political interworking of race, representation, and censorship.

WEDNESDAY: 11/29/2017

“The Impact of Malcolm X on Asian American Politics and Activism” (1972)

Yuri Kochiyama offers an interview on her relationship with Malcolm X and his influence on Asian American activism.

WEDNESDAY: 12/6/2017

“Google Search: Hyper-visibility as a Means of Rendering Black Women and Girls Invisible” (2013)

Safiya Umoja Noble explores the algorithmic representation of Black women and girls and the digitalization of oppression.

WINTER 2017:

WEDNESDAY: 1/18/2017

“The Case for Reparations” (2014)

Te-Nehisi Coates examines the history of American blackness from slavery to Jim Crow and beyond and assesses how best the U.S. can pay back its racialized moral debts.

WEDNESDAY 2/1/2017

“How to Tame a Wild Tongue” (1987)

Gloria Anzaldúa offers a powerful reflection on language, ethnicity, and the prospect of social resistance. 

WEDNESDAY: 2/15/2017

“The Deep Roots of ‘White Trash’ in America” (2016)

Kate Tuttle & Nancy Isenberg explore the history of the term “white trash” in the American lexicon.

WEDNESDAY: 3/1/2017

“On Whiteness and the Racial Imaginary” (2015)

Claudia Rankine & Beth Loffreda examine the challenges surrounding writing about race.

WEDNESDAY: 3/15/2017

“Mass Incarceration and its Mystification: A Review of The 13th” (2016)

Dan Berger reviews Ava DuVernay’s The 13th and assesses its interventions and omissions.

WEDNESDAY: 3/29/2017

“Let them Eat Diversity: On the Politics of Identity” (2011)

Walter Benn Michaels explores the fluctuating state of U.S. identity politics and its (possible) promise of social justice.

FALL 2016:

WEDNESDAY: 11/30/2016

“Diversity is for White People: The big lie behind a well-intended word” (2015)

Ellen Berrey considers the merits and pitfalls of using a “diversity” paradigm for tackling racial inequities in the university and beyond.

WEDNESDAY: 12/14/2016

“Stranger in the Village” (1955)

James Baldwin  philosophically reflects on his experience of being the first and only Black individual to live in a tiny Swiss village.


Updated: July 2017