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Anti-Racism Reading List April 2023
10+ articles and resources to further your anti-racism learning and action
There’s lots to ponder in this month’s reading list roundup, so let’s dive right in:
1. 7 Ways To Encourage Workplace Anti-Racism, Nearly Three Years Since America’s Racial Reckoning by Dana Brownlee
Dana is one of my favourite anti-racism voices, who’s kept up the pressure for the past three years or more. Here, she reflects on what’s changed and what hasn’t in this turbulent and necessary period.
“The modern term “woke” is to anti-racism what the n-word is to broader society. It’s both an appropriation and a slur and should not be used in a pejorative sense at any time. As a pejorative, it’s code for “we’re really going too far with this equity stuff” but since that sounds too much like crude, primordial racism, sexism and/or homophobia, the ill-defined “woke” is simply used as a convenient euphemism.”
What Dana said, and you can see how I feel about it in Dear Person Who Misused “Woke”.
2. Why Do You Write About Racism? By Devon J Hall
Here, Devon J Hall drops some home truths in revealing why she continues to write about anti-racism. This quote is one example:
“So now here we are, it’s no longer safe for Black, Brown, Indigenous, and marginalized kids at school. Not that it ever has been. Name a single decade in time when marginalized kids have been safe at schools and I’ll bake you a cookie the size of Jupiter.”
3. Et Tu, Ally? by Clay Rivers, Our Human Family
Ah, allyship - that problematic notion. Here, Our Human Family’s Clay Rivers examines what goes wrong and suggests what true allyship looks like:
“Allies will make mistakes, they’re to be expected. We all make them, it’s part of the human condition. The situation becomes problematic when the ally foregoes taking responsibility for their actions and responds with expressions of their guilt and optional tears. Tears function as a self-serving distraction that diverts attention from the injured party to the butt-hurt feelings of the one who caused the damage.”
4. The BBC’s Ableist and Racist Coverage of Prof. Jason Arday by Merlin Star
Here, Merlin Star dissects a BBC news report that - well, as the title says, is ableist and racist.
“Was there a reason to BEGIN with his deficits? Would they ever covered an abled this way? Would they have ever started off with “Here’s a list of ways that we consider you deficit and how you overcame that”? No they would not.”
5. Don't Derail the Discussion: How to Identify and Avoid "Channel Switching" in Conversations About Race by Robert Livingston
Many of us have seen and experienced the instant deflection when “race” enters the chat. It’s called “channel switching” and is harmful, as Robert Livingston explains:
“In its most hostile form, channel switching can serve as a form of gaslighting or manipulation, whereby the person attempting to discuss racism is accused of being negligent, or even racist themselves, for not including other groups or “-isms” issues in the conversation. In this way, the anti-racist becomes the villain and the channel-switcher becomes the victim.”
6. Stop Sending Blacks to the Back: A Frequent Experience of People of African Descent in Canada & the US by Alex Ihama
The title of this piece stopped me cold, because it took me back to experiences I’ve had with poor seating in restaurants and being overlooked by white folx when I’m standing right in front of them. As the author points out, this isn’t a new phenomenon:
“Blacks are often sent to the back when it comes to scholarships, promotions, healthcare, management positions, rewards and recognition, hiring, encounters with the police and the judiciary, and other socioeconomic opportunities which is the reason for the slow progress in granting equal rights to people of African descent.”
7. What My Viral Video About White Privilege Can Teach Us About Navigating Anti-Racism in the Workplace by Shereen Daniels
If you’re not already following Shereen Daniels, do it now. Her brand of truth-telling really resonates with me, and this piece about the real work of anti-racism in the workplace, is no exception:
“When leaders don’t really understand racism or feel comfortable addressing it, investing in training as one of their main actions, is merely throwing money at the issues in a spray-and-pray fashion, desperately hoping something sticks.”
8. “Missing White Woman Syndrome” - by Misasha Suzuki Graham (LinkedIn post)
I’ve often notied to myself how some stories of missing people get more coverage than others, and I’ve strongly suspected that had to do with skin color. Here Misasha Suzuki Graham calls it out:
“As a multiracial female resident of California in her 40s, I would receive 12 mentions in the press. 8 local, 4 national, based on the 3600 articles that the Columbia Journalism Review sampled over most of 2021. Under 37% of Americans would hear my story. However: if I were a young (early 20s) yt female in Nevada? Over 120 articles, a lot of them national. Plus, over 92% of Americans would hear my story.”
P.S. Of course, I checked out the Pressworthy tool for myself, and I’d better not go missing, because there’s only be 7 stories about me.
9. CHOSSA: A Meta-Ethnicity Celebrating a Global Black and African Awareness by Laura M. Quainoo
I first heard the term CHOSSA quite recently, used by Jean-Lud Cadet on LinkedIn (thank you!). I immediately followed the link he shared, then found another article about the term. It’s a “meta-ethnicity”. It could add a useful nuance to discussions of anti-racism and history, don’t you think?
“we don’t all have the same history or ways of being. We know this, of course, but it is sometimes easy to forget as we all snuggle together under a blissful blanket of Blackness. This is, however, precisely why I use the word CHOSSA to specifically describe the Children of Stolen & Sold Africans.”
10. A Framework to help us Understand the World by Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò
I have to thank my friend Em for pointing me in the direction of this new mag. This article explores ideas around “racial capitalism”. I particularly like the fact that it sets out the ideas and leaves readers to make up their own minds about how this lands with them.
“The term “racial capitalism” has been used in many ways by many theorists, but not all in compatible ways, as the sociologist Julian Go helpfully explains. This opens the door for potential tensions in reconciling one person’s claims about racial capitalism with another’s, many of which critics have continually raised as the term surges in popularity.”
Bonus: The ABCs of DEI by Erin Corinne Johnson
Erin’s video was posted after a LOOOONG week in the DEI space, and brought some much needed clarity to the discussion. I also love that when she discovered that someone else had created a DIFFERENT ABCs od DEI, she went out of her way to amplify that person, and they supported each other. That’s how you do it. Watch the video below, and here’s the original post.
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Finally, I’d like to share two resources that may be helpful. The first, available for free or a donation, is a colourful history of the Harlem Renaissance. And the second, a directory of Black and Global Majority change consultants maintained by Philip Mix.
Well, there was plenty to chew on in this roundup. What stood out to you? What action will you take as a result of what you’ve learned?
Thanks for reading,
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2023. All Rights Reserved.
Cover photo courtesy of Canva.