Centering BIPOC Voices: December and January Book Discussions

For our December 10th meeting, the Centering BIPOC Voices Book Group chose Just Us, An American Conversation by Claudia Rankine (Graywolf Press, 2020). This insightful collection of essays, poetry, and photographs recounts Rankine’s experiences engaging strangers in conversations about white privilege and systemic racism. As an example, she flies first class and remembers a white man cutting in front of her. She said, “excuse me, I’m in this line.” Then “he stepped behind me but not before saying to his flight mate, ‘You never know who they’re letting into first class these days.’” She explores the various motives and consequences of that statement, dissecting that “space itself is one of the understood privileges of whiteness.” That encounter is one of many she deconstructs in analyzing the difficulties and benefits of having conversations about white privilege. Since our governor would like “woke to die,” we get good ideas about resistance to that stance from Rankine.

For January, the group will read South to America: A Journey South of the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation by Imani Perry (HarperCollins Publishers, 2022). Perry, a professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, recently won the 2022 National Book Award for Nonfiction for the book. It is the story of a Black woman and native Alabaman returning to the region she has always called home and considering it with fresh eyes. Weaving together stories of immigrant communities, contemporary artists, exploitative opportunists, enslaved peoples, unsung heroes, her own ancestors, and her lived experiences, Perry renders Southerners with sensitivity and honesty. She offers an assertion that if we want to build a more humane future for the United States, we must center our concern below the Mason-Dixon Line.  

We meet via Zoom at 3:30 PM on the second Saturday of the month and welcome new group members, as well as one-time and occasional attendees. All of our books are available in paper, ebook, and audible versions to enhance accessibility. For more information about the group or to join one of our discussions, contact us at