Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith

SUNY Press
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Reveals a remarkable woman’s life and her contributions to social justice movements related to Civil Rights, feminism, lesbian and gay liberation, anti-racism, and Black feminism.

As an organizer, writer, publisher, scholar-activist, and elected official, Barbara Smith has played key roles in multiple social justice movements, including Civil Rights, feminism, lesbian and gay liberation, anti-racism, and Black feminism. Her four decades of grassroots activism forged collaborations that introduced the idea that oppression must be fought on a variety of fronts simultaneously, including gender, race, class, and sexuality. By combining hard-to-find historical documents with new unpublished interviews with fellow activists, this book uncovers the deep roots of today’s “identity politics” and “intersectionality” and serves as an essential primer for practicing solidarity and resistance.

“Barbara Smith is a creator of modern feminism as a writer, organizer, editor, publisher, and scholar. Now she has added to her decades as an activist outside the system by becoming an elected official who truly listens, represents, and creates bridges to a common good. She has shown us that democracy is a seed that can only be planted where we are.” — Gloria Steinem

“Barbara Smith is one of the grand pioneering and prophetic voices of our time. Her truth still hurts and heals!” — Cornel West

Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around is not a memoir, a biography, nor a reader. It is a reflection and a conversation. It is also a montage of forty years of documents, interviews, and articles that provide useful lessons for social justice work. This book is a tour de force that documents the life’s work of Barbara Smith and the freedom struggles she shaped.” — Duchess Harris, author of Black Feminist Politics from Kennedy to Obama
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About the author

Alethia Jones is Director of Education and Leadership Development at 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. Virginia Eubanks is Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at the University at Albany, State University of New York and author of Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age. Barbara Smith is Public Service Professor in the School of Social Welfare at the University at Albany, State University of New York. She served two terms as a member of the City of Albany’s Common Council, and is the author of The Truth That Never Hurts: Writings on Race, Gender, and Freedom.
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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Nov 1, 2014
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Pages
354
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ISBN
9781438451169
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Language
English
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Genres
BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Political
Biography & Autobiography / Women
Political Science / Political Process / Political Advocacy
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies
Social Science / Feminism & Feminist Theory
Social Science / LGBT Studies / Lesbian Studies
Social Science / Lesbian Studies
Social Science / Women's Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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WINNER: The 2018 McGannon Center Book Prize and shortlisted for the Goddar Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice

The New York Times Book Review: "Riveting."

Naomi Klein: "This book is downright scary."

Ethan Zuckerman, MIT: "Should be required reading."

Dorothy Roberts, author of Killing the Black Body: "A must-read."

Astra Taylor, author of The People's Platform: "The single most important book about technology you will read this year."

Cory Doctorow: "Indispensable."

A powerful investigative look at data-based discrimination—and how technology affects civil and human rights and economic equity

The State of Indiana denies one million applications for healthcare, foodstamps and cash benefits in three years—because a new computer system interprets any mistake as “failure to cooperate.” In Los Angeles, an algorithm calculates the comparative vulnerability of tens of thousands of homeless people in order to prioritize them for an inadequate pool of housing resources. In Pittsburgh, a child welfare agency uses a statistical model to try to predict which children might be future victims of abuse or neglect.

Since the dawn of the digital age, decision-making in finance, employment, politics, health and human services has undergone revolutionary change. Today, automated systems—rather than humans—control which neighborhoods get policed, which families attain needed resources, and who is investigated for fraud. While we all live under this new regime of data, the most invasive and punitive systems are aimed at the poor.

In Automating Inequality, Virginia Eubanks systematically investigates the impacts of data mining, policy algorithms, and predictive risk models on poor and working-class people in America. The book is full of heart-wrenching and eye-opening stories, from a woman in Indiana whose benefits are literally cut off as she lays dying to a family in Pennsylvania in daily fear of losing their daughter because they fit a certain statistical profile.

The U.S. has always used its most cutting-edge science and technology to contain, investigate, discipline and punish the destitute. Like the county poorhouse and scientific charity before them, digital tracking and automated decision-making hide poverty from the middle-class public and give the nation the ethical distance it needs to make inhumane choices: which families get food and which starve, who has housing and who remains homeless, and which families are broken up by the state. In the process, they weaken democracy and betray our most cherished national values.

This deeply researched and passionate book could not be more timely.

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