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Anti-Racism Reading List - 25 October 2021
17 powerful articles worth discussing and sharing
It’s been a while since the last reading list, and I have to admit that it’s been a struggle to keep up with all the great content out there. This one’s a bumper edition. Let’s dive in!
1. No, It Isn’t Racist to Teach Anti-Racism by Mica Pollock
There’s been a lot of talk about talking about racism and anti-racism, with some seeing this as divisive and racist. My question is: how do we ever get better if we’re not even prepared to talk about it? Here’s what Mica Pollock says:
“Kids get it: Anti-racism is about leveling the playing field of opportunity, dismantling opportunity barriers, benefiting from the rich diversity of all communities, and treating all people humanely.
It’s a pro-human lens.”
2. How do I legalize my Blackness? by Dahabo Ahmed-Omer
Here the author tells the story of how she was profiled and stigmatized by a member of the public in Canada for doing nothing more than sitting in a parked car somewhere where she had every right to be.
“The relationship between the Black community and police has been well-documented. If you are a person of colour in Canada, you experience a severely different, and at many times dangerous, relationship with law enforcement.”
3. Who gets to define ‘Britishness’ when making TV? Not people of colour, that’s for sure by David Olusoga
We’ve talked before about the idea that for some Britishness is synonymous with whiteness. As an MP calls for “distinctly British” TV programming, the issue’s in the spotlight again. I think David Olusoga’s words perfectly delineate the problem:
“The deeper question, however, is whether the UK television industry is capable of producing programmes that reflect Britishness in all its diversity – socioeconomic, regional, gender, sexual, generational and ethnic. The reasons to worry in this regard is because behind the scenes and behind the camera, television has long struggled to build a workforce that resembles the nation it seeks to reflect.”
4. The Hidden Curriculum by Naomi Raquel Enright
We’re back to the issue of talking about race, and Enright makes the valid point that silence about race can reinforce white supremacy and systemic inequities. And she also adds:
“There is a “hidden curriculum” in our society’s lessons about white supremacy, anti-blackness and systemic racism. That “hidden curriculum” is that there is an inherent difference between white people and everyone else.”
This poetic Twitter thread is extremely moving, and I’ll let it speak for itself (but check out the linked video in the thread, too).
“It ain’t pretty unless we say it’s pretty, Black Girl. Give us your culture, Black Girl. Watch us flip it and become rich, Black Girl. Let us kill your sons and daughters, Black Girl. Don’t you dare say a word about it, Black Girl.”
In this article, Sadia Siddiqui, who’s behind the Language Matters Instagram account (one of my favorites, and you should subscribe to further your learning), talks about how to handle racism from clients. One of those ways is to stop being squeamish about having the conversation.
“There are many ways of referring to blackness without using the word ‘Black,’ and that involves clients using loaded terms like ‘urban’ or ‘inner city’ in their briefs. If the last 18 months have taught us anything, we need to stop avoiding conversations about race. If you mean Black people or culture, say that. The same also applies to Brown people and culture.”
I often relate to Rebecca Stevens’ writing - we have a lot in common. So when she described the difference between how she was treated on her own and how she was treated when her white husband vouched for her, it struck a chord.
“I was the owner of the car, I paid all the expenses related to it, and yet they treated me like I was nothing. It wasn’t lost on me that this brand, in particular, uses Black women in its advertisements. According to their corporate bla bla, Black Lives Matter, but in reality, when you're in their showroom, they make you feel like you do not.”
We already know Black women are way underpaid compared to white men. But the onus is often on us to ferret out the information and demand our rights, which is wrong.
“As a Black woman, I've had to demand respect and equal pay, and I wish that my boss would have done what was right without me asking. All those nights of hanging out, drinking, talking, and debating meant nothing if I earned less than her.”
This is a call to action from Philip Mix to ask more white antiracists to be brave enough to take a public stance.
“The reason I’m writing about this is to contrast the choices to speak up made daily by Rebecca, Lisa and Keith, and so many other Black and brown people working within companies, and the very different choices made by most white people I know who work within companies.”
Divide and conquer is an old, old strategy, and it was used to great effect during the days of enslavement. The only trouble is, some Black people are still falling into the trap of division, and Marley K. asks a simple question:
“While we Blacks across the diaspora are divided, White Supremacy prospers. When will we all understand this?”
11. Want to be an ally? Lose the armor, leverage your privilege, and listen by Emily O. Weltman
In this piece, Emily Weltman imagines white privilege as a cape, protecting the people who benefit it without them even realizing. It’s time to take it off, she says, and here’s what happens when you do:
“when you start to pull the thread and unpack your privilege, your vision changes. Oblivious the hand that you were dealt was fixed, you’ll begin to see discrepancies and inequities every day, all day. Things you took for granted vanish as if a mirage. The bootstrap myth unravels.”
12. What Defines A Lynching? by Arturo Dominguez
This piece is not an easy read. It revisits painful episodes in the history of Black people in America. But it is a necessary read, as Arturo Dominguez examines recent fatal interactions between Black and white people to see what they have in common with lynching. His conclusions are unsettling, though not surprising.
“Today, the vast majority of Americans who think things are good enough stand in the way of us moving forward. That same contentment with the status quo allows for the majority to overlook a Black man being unjustly murdered for otherwise benign and non-threatening behavior. Murdered for being Black.”
13. Lessons from Being White Adjacent by Dr. Tiffany Jana
I’ve written before about the visibility of being in Black skin. In this article, Dr. Jana looks at some of the privileges white people can take for granted (and the ones Black people are missing out on). You may know this already, but when it’s laid out like this it provides yet another compelling reason to work towards equity.
“Global pandemic and general media fear-mongering notwithstanding, white people often feel pretty safe in the world, on a day-to-day basis. This falls under both freedom and benefit of the doubt. White people generally feel safe to move about freely, and upon the odd occurrence that they encounter police, often receive the benefit of the doubt.”
Finally, here are a few more pieces I thought were interesting:
15. The State of Inequity Report by Hue
16. Playing the Denial card: Yes. All. Whites by Georgia NeSmith
17. The Cultivation of the Karen by Julia E. Hubbel
Phew - there’s a lot to read here. Once you’re done, I’d love to hear your thoughts on which articles resonated most with you.
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Cover photo courtesy of Canva.