“Mab Segrest’s book is extraordinary. It is a ‘political memoir’ but its language is poetic and its tone passionate. I started it with caution and finished it with awe and pleasure.” —Howard Zinn
In 1994, Mab Segrest first explained how she “had become a woman haunted by the dead.” Against a backdrop of nine generations of her family’s history, Segrest explored her experiences in the 1980s as a white lesbian organizing against a virulent far-right movement in North Carolina.
Memoir of a Race Traitor became a classic text of white antiracist practice. bell hooks called it a “courageous and daring [example of] the reality that political solidarity, forged in struggle, can exist across differences.” Adrienne Rich wrote that it was “a unique document and thoroughly fascinating.” Juxtaposing childhood memories with contemporary events, Segrest described her journey into the heart of her culture, finally veering from its trajectory of violence toward hope and renewal. Now, amid our current national crisis driven by an increasingly apocalyptic white supremacist movement, Segrest returns with an updated edition of her classic book. With a new introduction and afterword that explore what has transpired with the far right since its publication, the book brings us into the age of Trump—and to what can and must be done.
Called “a true delight” and a “must-read” (Minnesota Review), Memoir of a Race Traitor is an inspiring and politically potent book. With brand-new power and relevance in 2019, this is a book that far transcends its genre.
The idea that technology will pave the road to prosperity has been promoted through both boom and bust. Today we are told that universal broadband access, high-tech jobs, and cutting-edge science will pull us out of our current economic downturn and move us toward social and economic equality. In Digital Dead End, Virginia Eubanks argues that to believe this is to engage in a kind of magical thinking: a technological utopia will come about simply because we want it to. This vision of the miraculous power of high-tech development is driven by flawed assumptions about race, class, and gender. The realities of the information age are more complicated, particularly for poor and working-class women and families. For them, information technology can be both a tool of liberation and a means of oppression.
But despite the inequities of the high-tech global economy, optimism and innovation flourished when Eubanks worked with a community of resourceful women living at her local YWCA. Eubanks describes a new approach to creating a broadly inclusive and empowering “technology for people,” popular technology, which entails shifting the focus from teaching technical skill to nurturing critical technological citizenship, building resources for learning, and fostering social movement.
Important Notice: The digital edition of this book is missing some of the images found in the physical edition.
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.