Anti-Racism Reading List - 7 June 2021
12 powerful articles worth discussing and sharing
As always, I’ve been doing a lot of reading since the last reading list. As well as finishing “Caste”, I’ve been diving into articles shared via my LinkedIn, Twitter and Medium networks. The result is these 12 articles, which I hope you’ll find as enlightening as I did.
First up are three articles looking into diversity in business. Karen Brown looks at how policies affect Black employees, while Phil N. Molé examines the facts and statistics behind the lack of diversity in companies, with a special nod to the tech space. Then S Mitra Kalita looks at what companies should really be trying to achieve, beyond the targets.
1. The Fear Black Employees Carry by Karen Brown
“Leaders should ask themselves: Whose voice is missing? How diverse is my workforce? Do my policies make it difficult for people of color to reach the upper management ranks? Am I giving enough business to minority-owned stakeholders? Do my products perpetuate racial stereotypes or reinforce a white standard of beauty or appropriateness? Am I overlooking people of color in my product lineup and my marketing efforts?”
2. Is Lack of Diversity at Work a “Pipeline Problem?” by Phil N. Molé
“the disproportionately smaller share of Black graduates with science, technology or computer science degrees does not in itself explain why tech companies have the poor diversity performance they have, because the percentage of Black professionals in the industry is significantly lower than the percentage of Black graduates in the talent pool.”
3. There’s a surprising shift taking place in the way white entrepreneurs are approaching diversity by S Mitra Kalita
“One shift Drutman encourages is to stop filling roles with individuals. “You are not hiring people. You are designing a team,” she said. “You’re investing in building diverse teams not for optics’ sake. Diverse voices and lived experiences around one table...this is where real change and innovation comes from.””
The next set of articles covers relationships (kinda sorta). Rebecca Stevens Alder covers what true friendship between Black and white people really looks like. Shanya Gray lets us empathize with the experiences of Black women (I, for one, felt seen), and Chelsea Connor unpacks the “angry Black woman” trope. And Jeanette C. Espinoza looks at the role of mothers in raising antiracist (or racist) children.
4. 5 Things That Can Make You A Great Friend To A Black Person by Rebecca Stevens Alder
“almost every single day in America, someone that looks like me or my brother, or my son or uncle gets killed by police. I might not live in the US, but the people that are being killed resemble me and the people I love.”
5. 50 Ways I See — Really See — Black Women by Shanya Gray
“To the Black woman who knows she shouldn’t but still puts in a lot of emotional labor in order to explain racism to her White friends and colleagues, I see you.”
6. It’s Time to Peel Back the Onion on Framing Black Women as Bullies by Chelsea Connor
“Bullying implies deliberate aggressive action towards someone to purposely hurt or harm them, but often we see Black women who are being vocal about racism, harm, or abuse being called a bully for naming the people who have caused the harm.”
7. End Racism By Raising Anti-Racist Children by Jeanette C. Espinoza
“A child cannot mimic what he doesn’t see. He cannot perpetuate what he hasn’t learned. Hatred for those who don’t look like him cannot manifest if he is taught to view all people as humans beings FIRST.”
Finally, I think of this next set of articles as “how racism and anti-racism work”. First, there’s an insight into how police are trained to view Black people - it doesn’t make comfortable reading, just so you know.
Hannah L. Drake sounds a warning that attempting to ignore history won’t work out well. Her article is well-balanced by Allison Gaines’ well-researched exposition on critical race theory (even when you ban it, we still know what the enslavers did and how systemic racism works, ok?) Then Tim Wise urges would-be white allies to get past shame and guilt and really do the work.
8. Confessions of a Former Bastard Cop by Officer A Cab
“The question is this: did I need a gun and sweeping police powers to help the average person on the average night? The answer is no. When I was doing my best work as a cop, I was doing mediocre work as a therapist or a social worker.”
9. Sorry, Mitch. History Doesn’t Work Like That. Be Assured Your Sins Will Find You Out. by Hannah L Drake
“White people have to face themselves, and it is NOT pretty. You are not the victor. You are not the hero. You are not the knight coming in on a white horse to save the day. In fact, you are the villain in the story of America. And that is the part you don’t want to admit.”
10. White People’s Fear of Critical Race Theory is Based in Ignorance by Allison Gaines
"White men often puff out their chests to declare, “I never owned slaves.” However, many of those same men could not say the same for their predecessors. The federal government compensated slave owners and slaves and their descendants received nothing. Over 150 years after slavery, Black people are still suffering from a staggering race-wealth gap.”
11. White Shame Isn’t Helpful by Tim Wise
“for some reason, they have decided that opening a confessional vein and acknowledging their ignorance is “doing the work,” or at least displaying the humility necessary to begin the doing of it.”
Finally, Julia E Hubbel reflects on a year of anti-racism, which I’m including because I know it’s a journey many of you have also taken (plus she’s pretty clued up).
12. What I’ve Learned About Race Since May by Julia E Hubbel
“So very much of how you and I see the world is dictated by those who have a vested interest in keeping Things As They Are, without questioning them. The danger is that we assume that such training is unquestionably right, and our collective attachment to such training is precisely what perpetuates the kind of racism which not only robs a great many of their humanity but their human rights.”
Which of these articles spoke to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts (and feel free to share this roundup).
Thanks for reading,
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Cover photo courtesy of Canva.