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Books: Nicole Draffen delivers a dash of truth to your summer reading list

Hyphened-Nation: Don’t Check the Box
by Nicole Draffen
Nicole Broadwater Publishing

Last year, author and activist Nicole Draffen penned the book Hyphened-Nation as a call to action to make all Americans rethink the use of the hyphen when describing themselves and people of different backgrounds. She thinks of it as ‘ethnic labeling’ (Latino-American, African-American, Asian-American, Jewish-American and so on). To get her point across, she partnered her book with the Don’t Check the Box movement, detailed on her website, to close the gap on this ‘hyphened separation’ and citizen classification.
      After the most fraught election in US history and the protests growing out the social issues that shaped it, in addition to the pandemic-induced cabin fever, Draffen’s work is even more timely. In the book, which reads like a conversation, the southern California native brings her personal experience here and abroad in her exploration of institutionalized separation and categorizing in the US. It’s a substantial but approachable antidote to fluffy summer beach reads of past years, and Draffen proves herself a fascinating companion whether you’re headed to the beach, taking your first long-distance plane trip or beating the heat at home.
      Draffen’s wholehearted immersion into social anthropology and politics is not all doom and gloom. She takes the approach of getting involved in social change-related causes to broaden the public’s embrace the world’s diversity and solidarity. She argues that with a positive outlook and seeking out like-minded people of all backgrounds, everyone has the ability to achieve whatever they set out to do—including pushing back against social norms that compromise democracy.

Hyphened-Nation: Don’t Check the Box is available at Barnesandnoble.com and Amazon.com. An audiobook version is available at Amazon’s Audible.com. For more information on the Don’t Check the Box movement, visit hyphened-nation.com.


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