What's the Deal?

With Ali Velshi's Banned Book Club

MSBNC host Ali Velshi founded his #VelshiBannedBookClub in February 2022, in response to the increasingly widespread practice of schools and libraries prohibiting readers — especially young readers — from accessing books that adults believe would make these readers uncomfortable.

These books include such literary classics as William Golding’s Lord of the Flies and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, contemporary tomes such as Alex Gino’s Melissa and Ibram X. Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist, and illustrated children’s books, New Kid and I Am Rosa Parks. Sadly, the list is way too long to include.



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Velshi and Arce discuss You Sound Like a White Girl

Listen: Ali Velshi Banned Book Club with Julissa Arce

The MSNBC host speaks with the author about You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation

Listen: Ali Velshi Banned Book Club with Julissa Arce

The MSNBC host speaks with the author about You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation

Author Julissa Arce has told and retold her story of growing up in Mexico, coming to the U.S., and becoming a V.P. at Goldman Sachs while undocumented. Her book You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation, revisits her journey as it pertains to the truth about Mexican-U.S. history, which, Arce tells Ali Velshi, is the reason the book has been banned.

Texas in particular has suppressed You Sound Like a White Girl, most likely because the book reframes the story of the Alamo. To Texans the Alamo has long been a symbol of independence. To Mexicans, the Alamo has an entirely different meaning a meaning, Arce says, “that we’re not taught in school.” Learning the truth of stories like the Alamo’s “has taught me just how much I belong in this country,” she says. “Mexicans have been in this land since before it was called the United States.”

“We often say as Mexicans, ‘The border crossed us. We didn’t cross the border,'” she says.

And yet, White Americans still ask “Where are you from?” and refuse to take “San Antonio” for an answer. “They say, ‘But where are you really from?’ What they’re really saying is: I cannot imagine that someone who looks like you can really be American.”

“We should be able to find belonging in this country, and happiness and success, without having to give up so many parts of ourselves, and what truly makes us unique and beautiful,” Arce says. “I’m rejecting the idea that the way to be American is to aspire to Whiteness.”

Instead, she went through the process of reclamation, of recovering her Mexican-ness — and realizing, “It is because of the things that make me different that I am where I am standing today.”

Listen to Ali’s interview with Julissa Arce:


Watch Velshi and Arce: 



Velshi on banned books on MSNBC:




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