Anti-Racism Reading List February 2023
10+ powerful articles for reflection, learning and action
Hello friends, here’s this month’s reading list. Remember, don’t just read and learn…use these articles as an impetus for action. Let’s dive in…
1. Why White People Want to Dictate What's Racist to Black People by Allison Wiltz
The title of this piece alone reminded me of the many times I’ve had pushback from white folks about what is and isn’t racist, as if they’re in a position to know. So I was interested to read this writer’s take on it.
“while it's fair for a White person to say, "I didn't intend for my behaviors or response to come off as racist," it's absurd to claim your statement "is not racist" because White people are not the barometer of Black lived experiences. For example, in an abusive marriage, no one would tell a woman to wait until the man considers a kick or a punch "abuse" before acknowledging she's in pain.”
2. Black Women Are Expected to Climb and Summit the Glass Cliff by Amira Barger
This is just another way in which Black and Global Majority folx are set up to fail, and because of the temptation to see us as a monolith, that failure can also affect how the white gaze sees all of us. Here’s the writer’s explanation of the glass cliff:
“The glass cliff is especially precarious for women from historically marginalized and excluded communities — namely Black women. Often moved into roles in times of chaos or crisis, these leaders are not equipped with adequate resources, staff, training, or support. Having broken through the ceiling, they are thrust into positions teetering on the brink of failure and into organizations committed to misunderstanding them.”
3. In The History Of Ever! by William Spivey
Related to the previous piece, this article by William Spivey shows the heavy price often paid for being a Black leader.
“They used to simply kill black leaders
Set an example to other potential leaders and followers alike
Now the trees they hang from are metaphorical but they try to kill them all the same”
4. Black women need to give themselves permission to RSVP 'no' by Amira Barger
There seems to be a bit of theme developing here, as this second piece by Amira Barger discusses the fact that tokenism in organisations won’t bring the results we desperately need:
“too many leaders view diversity simply as the inclusion of identities. The truth is, simply being included will not get us the outcomes we need, like equitable pay, sponsorship into C-Suite roles, succession plans with a timeline we can count on and more.
In other words, representation is not the whole solution.”
5. Organizational Justice Bill of Rights by Farzin Farzad
What does or could organisational justice look like? This powerful and ever-evolving document sets out some criteria:
“Every one of us has a right to our humanity and intrinsic worth, and that requires that our organizations value and respect our identity categories in any way we choose to express ourselves. We have a right to be our authentic selves in the workplace without being culturally or professionally penalized through judgment, gaze, gossip, or ostracization.”
6. White Supremacy Culture: Urgency by Tema Okun et al.
This whole site is an amazing resource, so don’t be surprise if I share more from it this year. As we live by a “no-rush” culture at Mission Equality, I found this take on the links between urgency and white supremacy, and WHAT is urgent, particularly enlightening:
“White supremacy culture is not urgent about racial justice; white supremacy culture is urgent in the name of short-term power and profit. And white supremacy culture likes to engender a culture of urgency in those of us who are working to dismantle it because it knows that living with a constant sense that everything is urgent is a recipe for the abuse of power and burnout.”
7. ChatGPT proves that AI still has a racism problem by Ido Vock
I’ve written and shared here and elsewhere about my concerns about who’s coding the technology we rely on, and whose perspectives are omitted. This article highlights some of the issues related to the seeming next big thing, Chat GPT:
“the fact that ChatGPT is able to present racist content with the right prompting means that the underlying issue – that engineers behind the project have been unable to prevent the AI recreating the biases present in the data it is trained on – still exists.”
8. Top 3 unconscious biases commonly held in corporate America about black women by Dolores Crazover and Les Williams
Intersectionality - it’ll get you every time. I love being a Black woman and I recognise that in corporate and organisational settings those intersectionalities can affect how I’m seen and how people relate to me, as the authors point out:
“Studies have found that it is common practice for Black women to be second guessed, micromanaged, questioned, and watched. This has resulted in others invalidating their beliefs and experiences. Recent studies find those claiming to be allies, claiming to act as champions for Black women, in practice are actually perpetuating the same underline oppressive beliefs and systems they want to help dismantle.”
9. 10 Films By Indigenous Filmmakers To Watch Instead Of Avatar: The Way Of Water by Douglas Carruthers
There’s not much to pick out of this one, but I’m definitely going to check out some of these films as part of my education.
“With James Cameron's recent insensitive remarks towards Indigenous people maybe it's time to look at they movies they've made instead of his.”
10. The 2022 Wypipo Awards by Michael Harriot
I don’t always agree with this writer, but it seems to me that this bit of satire also includes a lot of truth. What do you think?
“What is wypipoing? Wypipoing is calling oneself a “patriot” while waving a confederate flag. Wypipoing is whining about widespread voter fraud while rubber-stamping gerrymandering, voter suppression and felon disenfranchisement. Wypipoing is screaming about freedom of speech while outlawing critical race theory.”
That’s it for this month, folx. What stood out to you from this month’s selection, and what action will you take as a result? Feel free to comment and let me know.
Thanks for reading,
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2023. All Rights Reserved.
Cover photo courtesy of Canva.
I am an anti-racism writer, educator and activist, Co-Founder of Mission Equality the author of “I’m Tired of Racism”, and co-host of The Introvert Sisters podcast.
Wee-O! This list sent me down several rabbit holes. I may have OD'ed.
The History of Ever consolidated everything else on the reading list. Michael Harriot did, as well, but this is not a time for satire and silly jokes. I usually like his non-political stuff, those articles that celebrate Black life.
Having said that, Harriot linked out to a lot of interesting articles and I slowly made my way back to leave a comment here. :)
So true “The glass cliff is especially precarious for women from historically marginalized and excluded communities — namely Black women. Often moved into roles in times of chaos or crisis, these leaders are not equipped with adequate resources, staff, training, or support. Having broken through the ceiling, they are thrust into positions teetering on the brink of failure and into organizations committed to misunderstanding them.”
Too often women, and it's now noted particularly Black women, are hired to fix badly broken organizations, if they fail it's on them and attributed to race most likely more than gender. Have seen this happen all too often, candidates are not told about significant issues before being hired, then what choice do they have, leaving because they realize they've been had or being asked to go are both potentially career crushing outcomes.