Read the Resistance, November 2018: American Hate
For this month of Read the Resistance, an online book club that highlights written works of and about resistance, we asked Fatima Farheen Mirza, author of A Place For Us, to recommend a book that exemplifies resistance to her. Her pick? American Hate, edited by Arjun Singh Sethi. Join Mirza in conversation with Arjun Singh Sethi for a discussion about the book on November 28 via Facebook Live.
Mirza writes: It is impossible to read the stories in American Hate and not be both enraged and heartbroken—enraged at the inherent racism of Trump’s rhetoric and policies, and heartbroken at its ramifications. In compiling personal accounts of those who have been targeted by hate crimes, Arjun Sethi helps us realize the emotional and psychological toll of these ramifications. Though injustice and intolerance is endemic to the American experience, the past few years have been relentlessly bleak, making it difficult to remain alert to what is happening. But these accounts, told in the survivors’ own words, demand attention and deserve to be heard. Often while reading, I felt helpless and appalled by the ugliness and cruelty inflicted on the survivors, and hopeless when glimpsing the stress and sadness it brought them. But I was also continuously in awe at their bravery and resilience in spite of that hate. And the determination to press on, the enduring hope for a better future, and a commitment to creating it that future—by speaking out and by working toward the betterment of one’s community. In the introduction to American Hate, Sethi writes, “I have come to realize that in many ways the purpose of hate is to silence . . . speaking out is the most basic and vital form of resistance.” This book is not only an act of resistance, it is an act of love, and an act of faith in a future that will elude us unless we bear witness today.
Arjun Singh Sethi is a community activist, civil rights lawyer, writer, and law professor based in Washington, D.C. He works closely with Muslim, Arab, South Asian, and Sikh communities and advocates for racial justice, equity, and social change at the local and national levels. His writing has appeared in CNN, The Guardian, The Los Angeles Times, Politico Magazine, USA Today, and The Washington Post, and he is featured regularly on national radio and television. He holds faculty appointments at Georgetown University Law Center and Vanderbilt University Law School, and presently co-chairs the American Bar Association’s National Committee on Homeland Security, Terrorism, and Treatment of Enemy Combatants. He lives in Washington, D.C.
Fatima Farheen Mirza was born and raised in California. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a recipient of the Michener-Copernicus Fellowship. Her debut novel, A Place for Us, was an instant New York Times best-seller.