There have been a LOT of articles that made me think in the past few weeks. It’s been hard to pick which ones should be included here. So it’s a bumper edition, with another 7 articles added to the main 10. I hope you’ll find them as enlightening as I did. Let’s dive in.
1. The Gaslit First Quarter by Janelle Benjamin
The title of this piece spoke to me because there’s so much gaslighting in Black people’s lives. In particular, her coinage “global racial gaslighting” captures what seems to be happening in the world right now.
“Pay attention folks, as we intensify anti-racism efforts and initiatives around the world, “Global Racial Gaslighting,” as I will call it, is on the rise. This is the form of racial gaslighting in which we are made to believe that what we see as racism is not racism, not by individual citizens, but by subtle and regular messages in actions, decisions, and media that we are subjected to on a daily basis.”
2. Exhibit A Bill Maher: Why White People Should Stop Using The Term ‘Woke’…Immediately by Dana Brownlee
It happens like clockwork. Black people have a term that means something to us, certain white people appropriate it, other white people get annoyed and use it as a stick to beat us with. So it is with the term “woke”. Sigh.
“this deceptively simple four-letter word has become the anti-racism napalm that we don’t need in the struggle for heightened awareness and sensitivity around complex racial issues.”
See also: White People Keep Misusing the Word ‘Woke’ by Allison Gaines.
3. We Can’t Fix Policing Because We Have Been Looking the WRONG WAY for Decades by Catherine Pugh Esq.
In this five-part series, Catherine Pugh pulls together information that’s out there about the state of US policing and finds it wanting. But it’s fixable, and this masterpiece gives some practical, actionable ways to do it. The author’s even offered to help, given that she has the training to do so.
“the job IS NOT BEING DONE. As far back as I can recall, not once has a supervisor been fired for failed oversight potentially leading to egregious misconduct.”
Please also check out her regularly updated resource tracking what’s happening to Black people at the hands of the US police To Be Black and Policed in America.
4. If Not Now, White Folks, When? By Clay Rivers
I’ve always enjoyed reading Our Human Family, and this piece by Clay Rivers is one reason why. In this piece he’s talking about allyship, empathy and humanity. It’s a good read:
“knowing that a white brother or sister has scratched the feelings of angst, agita, anxiety over the abject pain, degradation, and loss Black people have endured during the last 400 years gives me a sense of hope. And relief. I see the event as the place of embarkation, the starting point for that person’s journey”
5. Protect Your Peace: 5 Strategies for Black Anti-Racism and DEI Educators by Theresa M. Robinson
The work of anti-racism and diversity, equity and inclusion (no, they aren’t the same thing) can take a tool. Here’ Theresa M. Robinson gives practical tips on keeping yourself balanced and healthy when doing the work:
“Call on white people to address white people. There’s no need for you yourself to take on every racist or every bigot. Pick and choose your battles but also pick and choose white people to fight battles.”
6. Why DEI And Anti-Racism Work Needs To Decenter Whiteness by Janice Gassam Asare
Speaking of the work, we have to accept that it means moving out of our comfort zones. If we don’t, then we won’t make the necessary change at the required pace.
“The idea that anti-racism and DEI education has to be packaged in a digestible way for employees to be receptive to it demonstrates a larger problem within workplaces. Change will not come through comfortability.”
If you’re not already following Lily Zheng’s work, you should be. I check in with her mainly on LinkedIn, where I can be sure of seeing something to make me think. Remember how I said earlier that DEI and anti-racism aren’t the same thing? This guide is a starting point for getting from one point to the other.
“Work broadly and deeply to understand how employees and customers envision your company’s anti-racist future. Ask yourself and all your company’s constituencies these questions as you engage in this process, which can be supplemented via town halls, surveys, focus groups, and your anti-racism working group or cross-functional team.”
8. A Civil Disobedience Guide For Racist Liberal White People by Marley K.
Here Marley K shares her views on how white people can be allies in ways that help Black people.
“White people need to learn how to advocate for us using our love languages. Instead of tolerating violence, rewire your brains to remove violence as an acceptable option. Instead of being uncivil, rewire your psyches to be civil specifically towards Black people.”
9. White Male Self Help Advice Doesn’t Work For A Black Woman Like Me by Rebecca Stevens Alder
I’ve often found that there’s a disconnect between the advice Black people get and what happens when we implement it, given the world we live in. Rebecca gives examples of that here.
“I especially find it interesting when they tell you to be more assertive. When a black woman does that, she is seen to be angry and aggressive. When the books tell you to lean in and you do, as a black woman you are seen to be intimidating or maybe even a bully. When these books ask you to demolish or crush your adversaries, don’t even try that as a black woman, you will lose your job …. for sure.”
10. Race Isn’t Real, Racism Is by Akarsh Nalawade
As we should all know by now, race is a made up thing, though the effects of that fiction are frighteningly real. This author gives more examples that put this into context, like the one quoted below:
“Neanderthals” was pejoratively used to describe humans suffering from mental retardation. However, once the genetic link between Europeans and Neanderthals was confirmed in 2014, they were retroactively elevated in stature and welcomed as part of the extended family. History was “white”-washed…”
7 More Articles That Made Me Think
Apart from those 10, there were a few more articles that offered food for thought, including:
The Naked Truth (HOW THE NAMES OF 6,816 COMPLEXION PRODUCTS CAN REVEAL BIAS IN BEAUTY) by Ofunne Amaka and Amber Thomas
The debate over ending structural racism by john a. powell & Stephen Menendian
We are not visible minorities; we are the global majority by Sachin Maharaj with contributions from Rosemary Campbell-Stephens
Anti-Racism: Why Your DEI Agenda Will Never Be A Success Without It by Carmen Morris
One Simple Formula Explaining Racism by Allison Gaines
Should Sanctions Be Imposed On America For Killing Black People? by Rebecca Stevens Alder
Well, that’s it for now. Did any of these resonate with you? I’d love to hear your comments.
Thanks for reading,
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Cover photo courtesy of Canva.
Me again - this is a venture I’ll be giving some time to in the coming months. If you’re minded to volunteer your time, please check out the details below.
Black to School - Call For Writers
For anyone who believes that we all need to know (esp. the next generation) the true and full scope of Black history from ancient times to present day, we are looking for you! Our ancestors invented the table that the world now sits at, it’s time to not only claim our seat, but to set the agenda. We’re looking for volunteer writers who are excited to help “set the record straight” and share positive Black stories.
Black To School (blcktoschool.com) is a weekly newsletter that is curated by a collective of artists, writers, researchers, and other professionals. We are rewriting the story of Black contributions and excellence in every area of our society from business and finance to math, science, and the arts.
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If you are interested, please contact us at email@example.com and we'll schedule some time to share more about the Black To School collective and issue calendar.