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[Excerpt] Few of the countless real-life stories of workplace discrimination suffered by men and women everyday are ever told publicly. This book boldly and eloquently rights that wrong, going where no plaintiff testimony could ever dare because these stories are often too raw, honest, ambiguous, and nuanced to be told in court or reported in a newspaper. Consider a high school girl's genuine passion for her much older boss, for example, or a middle-class black woman's ambivalence about hiring a younger black woman coming off of welfare—just a couple of the riveting situations portrayed in this book. Most real-life stories, of course, are also too complex to be fully rendered in a court case or human resource department memo. Fiction is less instrumental than nonfiction. Sometimes, because it does not have to persuade, outrage, or inspire a remedy—though it can do any of those things—fiction can afford to be more truthful. In the past, authors such as David Mamet, purportedly striving for complexity on workplace discrimination, have simply served up backlash and stereotype. The stories in this book do something far more provocative; some inspire us to anger on the workers' behalf, others to uncomfortable, unwelcome feelings. All of them leave us thinking hard.


The abstract, table of contents, and first twenty-five pages are published with permission from the Cornell University Press. For ordering information, please visit the Cornell University Press.