The Carrboro Cybrary and Carrboro Recreation and Parks invite the community to read the UNC Summer Reading selection, Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights by Kenji Yoshino, and join us for a discussion with a panel of local experts.
Lydia Lavelle, Carrboro Alderman and NCCU Professor of "Sexual Identity and the Law"
Ian Palmquist, Director, Equality NC
Yuri Yamamoto, NCSU Professor
“In Covering, Yoshino deftly blends autobiography and legal reasoning to make a case for the profound importance of individualism, autonomy, and self-expression in our conceptualization of civil and political rights. By introducing sociologist Erving Goffman's notion of "covering" — how people are formally or informally coerced into toning down stigmatized identities, even when such identities are known — into the legal lexicon, Yoshino has both broadened and calibrated more finely the way we think and talk about identity politics and civil rights.
Yoshino, who is Japanese-American and gay, draws much on his own identity markers in Covering, but the overall thesis is applicable to any and all people whose identities, for one reason or another, are subject to stigma and who, as a result, are prone to "covering" behaviors. In Yoshino's view, such behaviors — based on differences in race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability status, etc. — are not only harmful psychologically to those forced to cover, but also morally impoverishing to socially-dominant groups, and threatening to the civil rights of us all. In calling for broad social acceptance of individuality and self-expression, Yoshino challenges us to think more clearly about who we are and about what constitutes true equality, social justice, and human dignity.”
— Peter A. Coclanis
Chair, Carolina Summer Reading Program Committee