Summer Reading

I’ve been asked to submit (one of many) summer reading recommendations to Tufts’ annual list of faculty/staff recommendations.

There are so many good books I could write about that it’s challenging to pick just one to recommend, but I’ve decided to go with Covering: The Hidden Assault on our Civil Rights by Kenji Yoshino. I read this book a few months ago and it has really stuck with me.

So, here is my official summer reading recommendation:

Covering: The Hidden Assault on our Civil Rights by Kenji Yoshino. A powerful memoir and cutting analysis of civil rights law, Yoshino uses his personal story as a gay Asian American to illustrate the ways in which we are all forced to hide our true selves. Even in this age where civil rights has come so far, social pressure – reinforced by legal rulings – pushes conformity to a norm which isn’t authentic to anyone. Yoshino demonstrates how real psychological damage can result from “covering” your true self. While everyone suffers cover covering to some degree, Yoshino focuses on communities most broadly and deeply affected: racial minorities, women, and LGBT people. A poet turned constitutional scholar, Yoshino provides specific examples of case law that has reinforced covering – such as the upholding of company dress codes prohibiting corn rows or requiring make up for female employees. These rulings run contrary to a true embracing of civil rights – of accepting everyone for whomever they are. A quick, engaging and thought-provoking read.

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