Double Book Review: Race in the USA

The Blind Side, by Michael Lewis: humongous poor black kid in Memphis taken in by rich white family becomes NFL player, not without trouble.

Perhaps the most fascinating part of the story has to do with the psychological and learning ability evaluation Michael Oher was given at age 18. After the age of 16 his academic efforts moved his IQ from 80 to 110. In other words, he moved from the have nots to the haves. After age 15. Also, I learned that he is very big and strong. The social implications of this story are more interesting than the sports story.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot

Race and education levels in Baltimore. When a woman dies in 1951, her cells are already reproducing in labs around the country – a huge scientific breakthrough. It leads to the invention of the polio vaccine and much more. But her family doesn’t know what’s happened with her cells for over 20 years. Communication issues leave this family confused about what’s happened to their mother for fifty years.

Both books are bestsellers. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a must-read for those who want to understand race relations. The Blind Side is a good book too, but is going to appeal to football fans more.