Anti-Racism Reading List - 8/3/21
7 powerful articles worth discussing and sharing
Hello friends, it’s time for another roundup of the articles I’ve read that made me think. I’m going to tell you up front that some of these may make you uncomfortable, but I urge you to sit with that discomfort and work through it. It’s important to hear and learn from the real experiences of a variety of Black people, instead of just listening to the voices you find “acceptable”. That said, let’s dive in.
1. Racism 101: Microaggressions by Lisa Hurley
A few weeks ago, we were lucky enough to have Lisa talk to our antiracism allies community about microaggressions. All the participants found her presentation enlightening and moving, and this article gives a flavor of what she discussed:
“Once again I had been “gifted” with one of those insults masquerading (albeit ineffectively) as a compliment. Once again I would have to self-soothe, take a deep breath, and carry on working with a racist. Once again—it happens almost daily to most people of color—I had been subjected to a racial microaggression.”
Learn more about Lisa’s anti-racism writing in this interview.
2. Yes, Black People Stories Are “In” Right Now, But Listening Is Only Half The Work by Devon J. Hall
I’ve recently discovered Devon’s work, and am I glad I did. She covers a range of topics, with a great body of work on experiences of racism. This exhortation to do the work is the latest example:
“Imagine me telling a white woman to stop being so sensitive when her male boss grabs her ass? That would never happen, so how the hell are you going to tell me that I should be less “sensitive” when something comes past me that is racist and that harms me emotionally, physically, or spiritually?”
3. Let’s Talk About When Black People are Called Racists by Jeanette C. Espinoza
Jeanette is one of several Black women writers I know who produces extremely well researched work. Here she takes yet another stab at undoing the myth of reverse racism:
“Even the most staunch proponents of the existence of “reverse racism” can agree that there is no major metropolitan area of the United States where Black people have a social, economic, or political advantage over white people. If this alternate universe exists, please provide me the coordinates of said location so that I can drop what I’m doing and visit this place immediately.”
Learn more about Jeanette’s anti-racism writing in this interview.
4. There Are 4 Kinds Of Racists: Which One Are You? By Rebecca Stevens Alder
I have to admit I’ve come across - and even worked with - people who fit into the categories Rebecca describes here. See if you recognize any of them:
“You have got to be an antiracist. Nonracists are so useless, they are cowards. They don’t use their platforms to combat racism, they might as well be called complicit racists in that they let racism thrive and fester.”
Learn more about Rebecca’s anti-racism writing in this interview.
5. Why Black Folks Must Keep Their Rage Alive by Marley K.
Marley K talks here about the need for Black people to stop being nice about calls to dismantle white supremacy and end systemic racism. After all, as she points out, being nice hasn’t got us anywhere:
“When Black people kneel for relief, White people tell us to shut up and play. When we pray for relief, no God answers us. If Black people protest for relief, we’re complaining too much. Black folks should be satisfied. When we describe our lack and provide historical context, we’re dredging up the past. When we comply, the police still beat us.”
Learn more about Marley’s anti-racism writing in this interview.
6. You Do Not Find The Next Amanda Gorman By Silencing Black Girls by Hannah L. Drake
Hannah was recently featured in my interview series, and she writes powerfully. This piece covers the adultification of Black girls and the violent racism that makes their lives difficult even at school:
“The curriculum never focuses on Black girls and women and our achievements throughout history. Black girls rarely have the experience of being educated by a teacher that looks like them. Black girls are silenced instead of being encouraged to use their voice. Black girls are hushed instead of being rewarded for standing up. Black girls are told to just be quiet when they dare to challenge antiquated rules.”
Learn more about Hannah’s anti-racism writing in this interview.
7. Day 2 of “Crashing” Women’s History Month: DiAngelo’s “Nice” Racism by Theresa M. Robinson
I must admit that I’ve always been troubled by the fact that Robin DiAngelo’s book on white fragility outsells a bunch of Black-authored books on racism. I’m simultaneously happy to see white people engaging with these issues, and sad that they haven’t gone first to the real experts on racism: Black people. Theresa M. Robinson, author of Blaxhaustion, lays it out in a thought-provoking article, which includes a pre-review, excerpted below:
“DiAngelo centers herself as an expert on anti-racism and as an authority on advancing anti-racism work. Having co-opted the voices and experiences of Black people, she repackages it all and delivers it back as a white-washed account that has lost everything in the translation.”
For me, this was a particularly thought-provoking batch of articles. I’d love to hear what your takeaways are.
Thanks for reading,
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Cover photo courtesy of Canva.