Onnesha Roychoudhuri is a journalist, activist and first-generation Indian American who learned Spanish in part because people keep mistaking her for a Latina. In her first book, The Marginalized Majority, she encourages everyone who feels attacked or dismissed by the current U.S. government to look around, recognize each other and take heart. "What if, instead of viewing this as a country divided, we view it as a country in a political moment when we do not have the leadership the majority of us want and deserve?"
Now is not the time to despair or disengage, writes Roychoudhuri. If you want any chance at a different future, you will have to believe in it and work to make it happen. "Most of us recognize that our personal relationships require constant work. There's a similar daily work that's required of us in our relationship to our country, too." The destructive power of shrugging cynicism in journalism, in politics, in comedy and among private citizens is one of her primary targets. In light of her experience at the 2017 Women's March, she examines how society disparages contemporary public protests while admiring those of the past--which were also disparaged at the time.
She questions ideas about objectivity in journalism, and why so many still identify with, admire and excuse powerful white men (for the most part, she ignores other categories of leaders) who abuse their power and who benefit when their detractors allow themselves to feel helpless. And she criticizes liberals who insist on the abandonment of "identity politics" in order to "reach across the aisle." "It's true that it's going to take more than asserting our brownness or queerness or femaleness to rally Americans. But it's specifically the experience of navigating our lives with these identities that allows us insight and perspective... speaking from these specific experiences can enable us to make powerful common cause with all Americans who would seek a more egalitarian country and better quality of life."
Most of what Roychoudhuri has to say has been said before, by many others in many outlets. But in The Marginalized Majority, she pulls it together into a portrait of the current American political scene, filters it through her multifaceted personal perspective and offers every reason to stay involved, connect with others and refuse to give in. "Hope is about staying in the fight, it's about survival. Understood in this light, we realize that hope is not just necessary, it is practical and pragmantic. In short: there is no other option." --Sara Catterall
Shelf Talker: A journalist and activist rallies those discouraged by the American political scene to hope and to engage in positive action.