Racial Capitalism. The Language Revolution.

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Tanya Maria Golash-Boza – Before Gentrification – The Creation Of DC’s Racial Wealth Gap

Tanya Maria Golash-Boza delves into fascinating yet often daunting details to explain how a century of redlining, disinvestment, and the War on Drugs wreaked devastation on Black people and paved the way for gentrification in Washington, DC. In Before Gentrification, Tanya Maria Golash-Boza tracks the cycles of state abandonment and punishment that have shaped the city, revealing how policies and policing work to displace and decimate the Black middle class. Through the stories of those who have lost their homes and livelihoods, Golash-Boza explores how DC came to be the nation’s “murder capital” and incarceration capital, and why it is now a haven for wealthy White people. This troubling history makes clear that the choice to use prisons and policing to solve problems faced by Black communities in the twentieth century—instead of investing in schools, community centers, social services, health care, and violence prevention—is what made gentrification possible in the twenty-first. Before Gentrification unveils a pattern of anti-Blackness and racial capitalism in DC that has implications for all US cities.

Jing Tsu –  Kingdom of Characters – The Language Revolution That Made China Modern

After a meteoric rise, China today is one of the world’s most powerful nations. Just a century ago, it was a crumbling empire with literacy reserved for the elite few, as the world underwent a massive technological transformation that threatened to leave them behind. In Kingdom of Characters, Jing Tsu argues that China’s most daunting challenge was a linguistic one: the century-long fight to make the formidable Chinese language accessible to the modern world of global trade and digital technology. Kingdom of Characters follows the bold innovators who reinvented the Chinese language, among them an exiled reformer who risked a death sentence to advocate for Mandarin as a national language, a Chinese-Muslim poet who laid the groundwork for Chairman Mao’s phonetic writing system, and a computer engineer who devised input codes for Chinese characters on the lid of a teacup from the floor of a jail cell. Without their advances, China might never have become the dominating force we know today.

Both Tanya Maria Golash-Boza and Jing Tsu are exceptional writers, each has taken scholarly issues and flawlessly created masterful and readable books. Their passion and knowledge are evident in their engaging, informative conversations with Norman B.

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