North Dakota State University
NDSU Extension Service

Discrimination -- Books

Black Studies, Rap, and the Academy
Houston A. Baker, Jr.
1993, 110 Pages
This brief, sometimes digressive essay exhorts those who teach Black Studies to take rap music seriously. Baker, director of the Center for the Study of Black Literature and Culture at the University of Pennsylvania, writes in a mix of postmodern lit-crit lingo and street slang. He sketches the growth of Black Studies from the ferment of the 1960s to its "forceful, scholarly citizenship in the American university," then looks closely at rap controversies. He "reads" the infamous 1989 Central Park jogger case, observing that commentators ignored how the lyrics to the rap song "Wild Thing" were misheard into the fear-word "wilding." He reproaches critics of bawdy rappers 2 Live Crew for thin analysis, and for arguing--contra free-speech advocates--that the group's album As Nasty As They Wanna Be "was understandably banned." Reporting how his students have tagged rap and MTV the "poetry for the next society," Baker argues sensibly for further analysis of rap, but his claim that "rap is now classical black sound" is a bit overstated.

The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother
James McBride
2002, 314 Pages
The book is a success story, a testament to one woman's true heart, solid values, and indomitable will. Ruth Jordan battled not only racism but also poverty to raise her children and, despite being sorely tested, never wavered. In telling her story--along with her son's--The Color of Water addresses racial identity with compassion, insight, and realism. It is, in a word, inspiring, and you will finish it with unalloyed admiration for a flawed but remarkable individual. And, perhaps, a little more faith in us all.



Books can be checked out for one month, audio and video tapes for two weeks. Contact the Distribution Center at or 701 231-7882 to check out Staff Resource Library materials, or stop by Morrill 10 to browse the shelves.