MN Reads: "The Stories Whiteness Tells Itself" by David Mura
David Mura’s new book The Stories Whiteness Tells Itself focuses on the perpetuation of racism in modern-day America and the distorted reality of the dominant white culture. "White America has tended to tell our history," says Mura. "Those stories leave out - in many crucial ways - the stories, the experiences of black Americans."
The book begins with a frank look at the 2016 killing of Philando Castile during a traffic stop. Mura takes the time to address the inconsistencies, the injustice, and the immediate impact of the event before diving back to the beginning of America to carefully piece together the building blocks of history that have constructed the mindset of whiteness. "Whiteness... is not inherent to white people," says Mura. "It's an ideology."
Mura goes on to talk about the push-back felt at moments of progress. After the Emancipation Proclamation southern plantations maintained unpaid labor from former slaves through apprenticeship programs. Similarly, after the Civil Rights Movement, great efforts were put forth to create segregation in ways that the laws of the time couldn't prevent. "There was then a concentrated effort to develop systems of private and religious schools in the south," says Mura. "You can find areas in the south today that are actually more segregated... than they were in the 1950s."
The Stories Whiteness Tells Itself also addresses race in literature, the murder of George Floyd, and much more. Mura doesn't conclude the book without first offering actionable steps, the first of which involves learning more. "I think you change people through love, through knowledge. I just want people to read the book, consider its points and [say] 'what do you think?'"
Minnesota Reads is produced at The North 103.3 with funding provided in part by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.