Review: A Colony in a Nation

In A Colony in a Nation, Chris Hayes made me reframe my thinking on several topics that I thought I’d thoroughly understood. It’s always hard to lead people to seeing things new ways, and more so when you have an interest, some study, and strong opinions.  The topic here is how people – mostly white American people – treat people different from them.  The topic is incendiary and the sides dug in.  Hayes is in the midst of this as an MSNBC commentator and journalist, and it is tempting to dismiss his views from that bias.  I think that would be unwise.  Agree or disagree with his conclusions, he repeatedly shifts the camera to reveal facts one knows from a new perspective.  Every chapter of this made me reconsider ideas I thought I understood completely.

Part of this is his eloquent and effective writing.  He corrals ideas effectively and channels the reader’s impressions powerfully.

Finally, and crucially, Hayes resists any urges he might have to suggest quick fixes.  He’s looking at the system that makes up our society and admits his complicity without condemning himself – or anyone else – for being part of it.  Despite that, he does not leave anyone off the hook either.  It’s a powerful position.

A must.

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