9780345544957_b58a3Jodi Picoult appeared today on CBS This Morning to talk about her new novel Small Great Things (PRH/Ballantine; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

Host Gayle King opened the interview by saying the book is “thought-provoking … interesting … and so timely” and asked Picoult how a “white woman of privilege” writes a book confronting racism.

Picoult acknowledged it “was not her story to tell” and said she met with a group of women of color for over 100 hours and had them vet the voice of the character Ruth. She also met with two former skinheads to learn “why they went into a life of hate and how they came out of a life of hate.”

Asked about the title, Picoult says it is from a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and means that racism is perpetuated and dismantled by individual acts.

Charlie Rose asked her how to engage in a meaningful conversations about race. Picoult answers that, while it is hard to have such discussions without offending someone, choosing not to talk about racism in itself perpetuates the issue.

Saying that racism is not just about prejudice but also about power, she talks about the headwinds of racism that impede success but also the tailwinds of racism that power the success of the privileged.

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