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239: Interview with Barrett Holmes Pitner, Author of THE CRIME WITHOUT A NAME

In this episode, Ashley talks with Barrett Holmes Pitner, author of The Crime Without a Name: Ethnocide and the Erasure of Culture in America ( | Pitner shares some thoughts and perspectives on what ethnocide looks like in American history, where we are culturally today, and what we can do to look toward a more fulfilling future tomorrow.

In addition to being an author and journalist, Barrett is founder of The Sustainable Culture Lab. You can connect with Barrett by signing up for his newsletter or by following The Sustainable Culture Lab on Twitter or Instagram.

Bookish Check-in

Ashley - Silvia Vasquez-Lavado’s In the Shadow of the Mountain: A Memoir of Courage ( |

Barrett - Thich Nhat Hanh's Old Path White Clouds ( |

Main Discussion

Barrett Holmes Pitner's The Crime Without a Name: Ethnocide and the Erasure of Culture in America ( |

Mentioned in Episode

Thich Nhat Hanh's Peace Is Every Step ( |

Give Me One - A Fun Place in Washington, DC

Listen in to hear some of the things that Barrett and Ashley both love about Washington, D.C.

(A note to our readers: click on the hashtags above to see our other blog posts with the same hashtag.)

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Bookish Check-in

Ashley was reading...

Book cover of Silvia Vasquez-Lavado’s In the Shadow of the Mountain: A Memoir of Courage

Silvia Vasquez-Lavado’s In the Shadow of the Mountain: A Memoir of Courage ( |

"Endless ice. Thin air. The threat of dropping into nothingness thousands of feet below. This is the climb Silvia Vasquez-Lavado braves in her page-turning, pulse-raising memoir chronicling her journey to Mount Everest.

"A Latina hero in the elite macho tech world of Silicon Valley, privately, she was hanging by a thread. Deep in the throes of alcoholism, hiding her sexuality from her family, and repressing the abuse she’d suffered as a child, she started climbing. Something about the brute force required for the ascent―the risk and spirit and sheer size of the mountains and death’s close proximity―woke her up. She then took her biggest pain as a survivor to the biggest mountain: Everest.

"'The Mother of the World,' as it’s known in Nepal, allows few to reach her summit, but Silvia didn’t go alone. She gathered a group of young female survivors and led them to base camp alongside her. It was never easy. At times hair-raising, nerve-racking, and always challenging, Silvia remembers the acute anxiety of leading a group of novice climbers to Everest’s base, all the while coping with her own nerves of summiting. But, there were also moments of peace, joy, and healing with the strength of her fellow survivors and community propelling her forward.

"In the Shadow of the Mountain is a remarkable story of heroism, one which awakens in all of us a lust for adventure, an appetite for risk, and faith in our own resilience."

Barrett was reading...

Book cover of Thich Nhat Hanh's Old Path White Clouds

Thich Nhat Hanh's Old Path White Clouds ( |

"Old Path White Clouds presents the life and teachings of Gautama Buddha. Drawn directly from 24 Pali, Sanskrit, and Chinese sources, and retold by Thich Nhat Hanh in his inimitably beautiful style, this book traces the Buddha’s life slowly and gently over the course of 80 years, partly through the eyes of Svasti, the buffalo boy, and partly through the yes of the Buddha himself. Old Path White Clouds is destined to become a classic of religious literature."

Main Discussion

Book cover of Barrett Holmes Pitner's The Crime Without a Name: Ethnocide and the Erasure of Culture in America

Barrett Holmes Pitner's The Crime Without a Name: Ethnocide and the Erasure of Culture in America ( |

"In this incisive blend of personal narrative and philosophical inquiry, journalist and activist Barrett Holmes Pitner seeks a new way to talk about racism in America.

"Can new language reshape our understanding of the past and expand the possibilities of the future? The Crime Without a Name follows Pitner’s journey to identify and remedy the linguistic void in how we discuss race and culture in the United States. Ethnocide, first coined in 1944 by Jewish exile Raphael Lemkin (who also coined the term 'genocide'), describes the systemic erasure of a people’s ancestral culture. For Black Americans, who have endured this atrocity for generations, this erasure dates back to the transatlantic slave trade and reached new resonance in a post-Trump world.

"Just as the concept of genocide radically reshaped our perception of human rights in the twentieth century, reframing discussions about race and culture in terms of ethnocide can change the way we understand our diverse and rapidly evolving racial and political climate in a time of increased visibility around police brutality and systemic racism. The Crime Without a Name traces the historical origins of ethnocide in the United States, examines the personal, lived consequences of existing within an ongoing erasure, and offers ways for readers to combat and overcome our country’s ethnocidal foundation."


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