Belonging Without Othering: How We Save Ourselves and the World

Stanford Univ. Apr. 2024. 448p. bibliog. ISBN 9781503638846. $30. SOC SCI
Powell and Menendian are the director and assistant director, respectively, of the Othering and Belonging Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. Their book identifies and addresses social inequity and issues related to several diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. The two argue that “othering”—stigmatizing, marginalizing, or perceiving others to be threats because of their differences—is at the core of inequality. Historical and current examples—the Jim Crow era, the Troubles in Ireland, violent conflict, antisemitism, the Myanmar genocide crimes, the George Floyd protests, the movements of Black Lives Matter, Me Too, Stop the Steal, and more—are presented in seven dense, academically written chapters that run from 15 to 47 pages each. Their sources range from Karl Marx’s 1844 work about his theory of alienation to contemporary NPR and CNN broadcasts. Powell and Menendian believe the solution to othering is belonging, their term for communal inclusion and acceptance of individual differences. There are thorough endnotes that include citations and sidebars. Occasionally, there are also footnotes that provide extended explanations and more.
VERDICT Will appeal to readers researching DEI. This interdisciplinary work for think tanks, academics, faculty, and graduate students is most useful as a treatise.
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