Anti-Racism Reading List - 9/9/20
Powerful articles worth sharing and discussing
Ever feel like there’s a lot to read and too little time to read it? Me too, but I also feel it’s important to diversify your perspectives. So, here are some articles that made me stop and think in the last week or so.
LinkedIn: The Moderator of the Black Professional Voice? We Need Answers.
I’ve talked before about the suppression of BIPOC voices on social media. In this article, Aaisha Joseph sets out chapter and verse, with screenshots to prove her point. It makes disturbing reading. Equally disturbing is the fact that this isn’t just happening on LinkedIn, but on other social media sites, too. Here’s an excerpt:
“Stifled voices that have gone unheard for so long are now proudly raising - but seemingly only to find their momentum losing ground. In my quest to continue to hold companies accountable and seek change regarding actions that are unequivocally in alignment with white supremacy, I want to bring to LinkedIn’s immediate attention three ways in which I and numerous other professionals have witnessed censorship and erasure for being bold enough to call out racism, injustice, discrimination, and inequity.”
I hope you’ll stop by and add your perspective to the conversation, or you can leave a comment here for us all to discuss.
Today in Beckery: Meet Rachel Dolezal’s Play Cousin Jessica Krug
If you listen to the Introvert Sisters podcast, you’ll know that my co-host and sister, Lisa Hurley, is also an awesome writer. And she’s been fired up of late to call out racism where she sees it. A case in point: Jessica Krug. I’m not going to link to her, but Lisa spills the tea in her article, including the following statement:
“The “fragile mental health” excuse is one of the usual ones trotted out when white terrorists/mass murderers are safely apprehended by the same police that kill unarmed Black men. In the wake of their carnage, their humanity is affirmed, and the “troubled loner” spin is trotted out. This is no different.”
Check out Lisa’s blog to hear her perspective on the whole sorry tale.
I Wish I Had My Husband’s White Privilege
I so related to this piece by Rebecca Stevens A. on Medium, because I, too, have a white husband. And I, too, have seen the difference in how we move in the world, and the treatment we receive.
“the nurse continuously turned to my husband for the answers to these questions instead of taking my word for it. And when she finally listened to me, she turned to him for validation of my answers. It was though I was invisible, as though I didn’t exist…And there are countless other incidents like these.”
I’m not ashamed to admit that there are certain interactions I leave to my husband, because I know he won’t get pushback. That in itself, is a privilege not everyone has. It’s sad that this is the world we live in, but there you go.
Check out Rebecca’s article, and look out for an exclusive article from her in this newsletter soon. (I’m excited).
To Be Black, Or Not To Be Black - That is the Question?
Finally, here are two perspectives on Blackness. I’ve been meaning to write about the fact that Black people aren’t a monolith for some time, but Marley K. beat me to it. Her article All Black Is Beautiful, But All Black Isn’t the Same sets out the origin of the term Black, and why she feels it isn’t always appropriate:
“I feel calling all Black people Black is not appropriate because it disrespectfully corrals every Black and Brown-skinned non-white person from around the globe into one largely discriminated group, disregarding their heritage, their culture, their nationality, while robbing them of being individual groups of Black people.”
Her perspective on this is valuable, and worth reading. But, of course, since Black people really AREN’T a monolith, this article from Bridgette L. Hylton serves as a counterpoint to Marley’s piece. In Kindly Call Me Black, she says:
“Failing to use the word Black to describe Black human beings because of this negative association is to give power to racist ideology around what it is to be Black.”
So, there you have it. I, personally, am happy to be called Black, but I recognize that the term can erase identity for some people. How do you identify, and why? Leave a comment, and let me know.
I look forward to your feedback on these articles.
Thanks for reading and supporting.
Until next time,
Sharon Hurley Hall
Aaisha Joseph's article made me want to cry, scream and shake my fists. I can't even get on topic (LinkedIn's BS algorithm) because of the anger I feel towards the smug faces confidently spewing ad hominen vomit on her posts. I wonder if Sam would be so brave if Aaisha walked up to him and slapped him in his face. Bullies usually cave, whimper and cower when confronted.
But, to give in to the rage only defeats the purpose. If we think about this rationally, part of the solution is to amplify Joseph's call for a PUBLIC response from LinkedIn. Every user who abides by the Terms of Service should have a chance to enjoy the benefits of networking on the site.
Hashtags help people find and follow each other. Therefore, using hashtags as a suppression filter has to stop. Likewise, keyword filtering should be used sparingly, if at all (context is everything!)
Finally, in response to Joseph's lament that it is not her job to flag comments; sadly, I have to disagree. If we are going to take algorithms to tasks, we can't also expect them to police our feeds. Again, context is everything. Instead, giant social platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter need to figure out how to let humans police the posts. Flagging and blocking are two simple tools for users. On the provider side, how hard would it be to use a common-sense algorithm to rank accounts by punitive points? If you get flagged by x number of people, your account will be examined for content that violates TOS. If you get blocked by x number of different accounts, maybe this isn't the place for you.
In "Kindly Call Me Black," the author writes "What ignoring race and trying to eradicate the use of race in any context has done is make Whiteness the default and the norm." This is what I experience in conversations with other white people--race isn't mentioned at all in discussions of others, until someone needs to be described. Then, the race is described (Black, Asian, Latinx). I don't like this default assumption of whiteness (it's done in many books as well). But does this mean a good answer is to default describe every person with their race in conversation? Honest question, for BIPOC.