Sally Wiener Grotta's JO JOE Examines Bias

Sally Wiener Grotta's JO JOE Examines Bias

While the days of Jim Crow and Bull Connor are behind us as a nation, racism, prejudice and bigotry remain part and parcel of our culture, albeit much more subtle and incipient. As author Sally Wiener Grotta recently wrote in an essay titled "Staring Into The Mirror" (which was published on the Anifield-Wolf website, as well as her own blog), "Prejudice and bias is human nature. How we handle it in our lives is a measure of our commitment to a just, balanced human society."

"Fear of the unknown, fear of being hurt, of being on the receiving end of prejudice, often keeps us in our place," Grotta wrote. "Victims of bias and prejudice, in turn, can become biased and prejudiced about 'those others' - anyone similar to the perpetrators of their pain or shame. But you don't have to have personally experienced hatred or unkindness to buy into an escalating cycle of bias begetting bias, leading to prejudice, devolving into bigotry and cruelty."

If bias is unavoidable, and prejudice a natural outgrowth of our tribal nature, what is the answer? Grotta suggests that we need to keep a national conversation going about race, religion, bullying and other hot button topics that act as dividing lines between us. "..if honestly with each other... and seek to know, understand, learn from strangers, we can make our world something much greater than a collection of loosely connected, mutually distrustful tribes."

To read Sally Wiener Grotta's insightful essay "Starring into the Mirror," go to her blog.


Sally Wiener Grotta's new novel "Jo Joe" challenges readers to consider the sources and painful ramifications of prejudice, bias and preconceptions. A compelling, beautifully crafted story, with richly drawn, intriguing characters, "Jo Joe" mirrors the subtle, ambiguous two-edged sword of contemporary racism. Not surprisingly, Sally's novel is generating passionate discussions and visceral responses from both readers and reviewers.

As James Kendrick wrote about this novel, "'Jo Joe' is a wonderfully told story of a woman forced to come back to her childhood home. She learns many things during this action-packed visit, that it's possible to be bigoted while suffering at the hands of bigotry, that things are sometimes not what they seem, and that tolerance is a dish served out equally."