Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-03-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

BOOK REVIEW The Color of Character
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Margo Anderson
2015-11-10

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


by Glen Shuld $14.95; Amazon; 438 pages

The theory behind integration was simple. If we give Black and white students the chance to be their best selves and to become friends, racism will slowly disappear. But sometimes, things aren't that easy.

Glen Shuld's book The Color of Character is a fictional, somewhat autobiographical, illustration of the Chicago-area Hampden Junior High in the 1970s, and its integration of Black and Jewish students from the neighboring cities of Hampden and Michigami.

Throughout the book, the main character, Glen, often noted the problematic behavior of several of his Black classmates. Glen said, "They regularly knocked us around, blocked our paths, and overtly intimidated us." Even some of their Black peers were subjected to names like "Oreo" or "Uncle Tom." Such acts of violence grew much worse over time. And the white adults seemed unable, or unwilling, to address the situation. As Glen said, they "bought into, or feared opposing the trending idea that the traditional methods of teaching and controlling behavior carried with it a serious risk of damaging the fragile self-esteem of budding hooligans."

In addition, messages created with the best of intentions only seemed to make matters worse. Glen said, "They were absorbing increasingly loud and repetitive messages of Black pride, Black power, and Black identity, with little direction accompanying these messages, and no guidance on how to apply them positively in school or elsewhere."

For Glen personally, the situation was even more complex. As a gay person, Glen had always harbored guilt over his male fantasies. And, as a Jew, he had grown up discussing social justice issues and remembering the devastating events of the Holocaust. "If they had been taught these facts [about the Holocaust]" he said, "the more hostile Blacks who saw each of us as no better than an Alabama sheriff, might've realized we weren't the enemy."

In the end, the integration of Hampden Junior High seemed to cause racism rather than dissipate it. Even among Blacks, there was a general mistrust of Hampden's Black population. As Glen said, "There are a growing number of middle-class Blacks who don't want their children going to the crime ridden, city schools populated by other Blacks."

The book's constant positive is Glen's Black housekeeper Melva, who, along with his Black teacher Mr. Wendell, is held largely responsible for preventing him from being consumed by hatred and prejudice. "It wasn't the day-to-day interaction with my Black peers that kept my bigoted laughter in check" Glen said, "but rather my admiration and love for our cleaning woman."

The Color of Character greatly complicates the issue of race and isn't afraid to ask difficult or taboo questions. It makes you challenge long-held beliefs and behaviors, and keeps you thinking long after you've finished reading it. But you don't have to take my word for it.

The Color of Character is currently available for purchase on Amazon.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

BOOK REVIEW Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls 2019-03-17 - By T Kira Madden $27; Bloomsbury Publishing; 304 pages Anyone who came of age in the late 1990s and early 2000s ...


Gay News

BOOK REVIEW Dugan's Bistro and the Legend of the Bearded Lady 2019-03-15 - By Owen Keehnen $17; Out Tales, Publishing; 148 pages Bob Theiss contained multitudes—most under a completely different name. Known as the Bearded ...


Gay News

Clarence Darrow Symposium in Chicago on March 13 2019-03-13 - CHICAGO—The annual Chicago tradition marking the anniversary of the death of famed Chicago attorney Clarence Darrow will take place Wed., March 13—and will ...


Gay News

Gerber/Hart hosts Black Lesbian Archives stop 2019-03-12 - Kru Maekdo is a 26-year-old creative director, archivist, and artist. She is the owner of Maekdo Productions, a multimedia production and event programming ...


Gay News

BOOKS Chicago author talks space opera, queer representation 2019-03-09 - Chicago author/Hollywood stuntwoman SL Huang ( author of the science-fiction novel Zero Sum Game ) has recently teamed with fellow authors Becky Chambers ...


Gay News

BOOKS Kimberly Dark's 'Daddies' issues 2019-03-08 - Writer and raconteur Kimberly Dark plucks the fig leaf off the patriarchy in her latest work. In The Daddies, writer and raconteur Dark ...


Gay News

BOOKS Sissy Pride, Talking With Gender Activist and Author Jacob Tobia 2019-03-07 - Sissy: A Coming of Gender Storyis a smart, compelling, honest and very funny new memoir by Jacob Tobia. In the book, the ...


Gay News

Women & Children First March events include noted authors 2019-03-06 - Wednesday, March 6 at 7 p.m. Am I Man Enough? Storytelling Show & Podcast ( This is the rescheduled date due ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Tyler Blackburn, Ellen Page, Isaac Mizrahi, Annie Lennox 2019-03-06 - Former Pretty Little Liars actor Tyler Blackburn recently talked with Entertainment Weekly about the same-sex relationship his character, Alex, has on the new ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Trans textbook, Alaska veto, trans service members, Laverne Cox 2019-03-05 - Introduction to Transgender Studies—published earlier this month by academic LGBTQ book publisher Harrington Park Press—is the first-ever introductory textbook intended for transgender/trans studies ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.