Excellent Critical Race Theory Novel: Tangerine

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It exposes white privilege. It indicts white supremacy. It problemetizes the cult of football. What’s not to love?

Tangerine* by Edward Bloor is written from the perspective of a sort of disabled (but not really? that’s part of the plot) middle school who is white, frail, very smart, repressed, and an excellent soccer player. He is forced to leave his white suburban school and either attend a nearby Catholic school, or alternatively, go to the “inner-city” tough kid not very white school. He readily picks the latter, for some very good reasons, and there he meets his first real fears, his first real friends, and sets about making and breaking heroes.

There are also tangerines, the fruit, which play a special role in the narrative.

This is a book that should totally be banned and burned if you don’t want kids to examine their own privilege, think about fairness and class, or confront racism. Or be mean to football. It is one of those books often assigned in middle school, and this is the time we are reading all the middle school books. Fits the bill as quick and entertaining, meaningful adult reading.

Have you read the breakthrough novel of the year? When you are done with that, try:

In Search of Sungudogo by Greg Laden, now in Kindle or Paperback
*Please note:
Links to books and other items on this page and elsewhere on Greg Ladens' blog may send you to Amazon, where I am a registered affiliate. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, which helps to fund this site.

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13 thoughts on “Excellent Critical Race Theory Novel: Tangerine

  1. Meanwhile pro-trump lowlifes in TN are starting to burn books: Harry Potter and Twilight among the first to go up in flames (after equal level scum in McMinn County TN voted to ban Maus from schools).

    How are people still trying to say the right isn’t moving toward fascism and worse all the time?

  2. This trend is ramping up out of control (not for the first time) — especially in The Great State. First there was Texas lawmaker Matt Krause’s list of 850 titles.


    Now, here’s a list of 50 requests to ban a specific book. Note #22: Michelle Obama: Political Icon by Heather E. Schwartz. The reason:

    A Katy parent asked to have this children’s biography of the former first lady banned at every grade level because, the parent said, it unfairly depicts former President Donald Trump as a bully and because Obama’s reflections on race gave the impression that “if you sound like a white girl you should be ashamed of yourself.”


    1. JFC, you have to wonder just how stupid the people who want those banned are — especially when you see the book summaries and the”reasons” the morons who want them banned give.

    1. Here in MI we have the state QOP folks pushing a bill to make schools put their curriculum online because “there’s currently no way to find out what’s being taught in schools”. That, with a candidate for some state seat telling voters that when they go to the polls they need to take there guns with them so there’s not another stolen election.

      It’s impossible to see how someone could defend what’s become of the old republican party, but we know some low-lifes will try.

  3. It wasn’t long ago that authors prayed for their books to be Banned in Boston. Banning books is the surest way to get people to read them.

  4. This opinion piece reports that the backlash against book-banning is already beginning in Tennessee, where the McMinn County school board has banned Maus, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust, from its eighth-grade social studies curriculum.

    The author observes:

    As Whitney Kimball Coe, director of National Programs at the Center for Rural Strategies, pointed out in The Daily Yonder, many people in McMinn County itself are outraged by their school board’s decision, and are trying to counter it with library donations and community discussions about antisemitism and even plans to run for the school board. And, as Ms. Coe points out, national news stories that paint all rural Tennesseans as illiterate antisemites don’t help those efforts.

    “If you must write about us, at least give a damn about us,” she writes. “Outrage is the quick and easy response if you’re not committed to the sum of us; that is, if you’re only committed to signaling which side you’re on and don’t really care about communities outside your bubble.”


  5. But Margaret Renkl makes a larger point as well. It is that the current book bans are only the tip of the spear of a concerted effort to stir up outrage among local groups as a means of putting conservatives onto school boards and in other positions of local authority. The aim of this campaign is to privatize the American system of education — which would fit it to produce people who are well qualified to practice a trade, but poorly educated for citizenship.

    Still, it is possible to trust that the parents in McMinn County are acting in what they believe is the best interest of their children, and also to recognize that these parents are being manipulated by toxic and dangerous political forces operating at the state and national levels. Here in Tennessee, book bans are just a small but highly visible part of a much larger effort to privatize public schools and turn them into conservative propaganda centers. This crusade is playing out in ways that transcend local school board decisions, and in fact are designed to wrest control away from them altogether.

    This dovetails with what I’ve been saying for a while, ever since I read Diane Ravitch’s Left Back. Today’s Republican Party finds well-educated people inconvenient.


    1. “Today’s Republican Party finds well-educated people inconvenient.”

      To be complete, they also find people who are not racists, misogynists, anti-Semites, poor, etc., inconvenient as well.

  6. Book burning and now this, the USA has its very own Joseph Mengeles.

    Fast forward to present day, since ACLU’s lawsuit against Dr Robert Karas and the Washington county jail, Karas has filed a motion to dismiss ACLU’s lawsuit against him.

    Karas’s actions encapsulate not only the horrific history of the carceral system in the American south, but also the continued exploitation of vulnerable communities, including inmates of color.

    As one inmate said receiving news about the ivermectin treatments, “I’m scared. If you were so willing to put something in my pills and give me a pill without my acknowledgement, you could do the same thing and be deceptive and put it in my juice, my food … I can’t trust any of the medical staff. I can’t trust any of the guards.”

    Arkansas jail’s ivermectin experiments recall historical medical abuse of imprisoned minorities

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