Anti-Racism Reading List April 2024

10+ articles and resources for learning and action

Hello friends,

It’s a bumper crop this month, with articles covering everything from looking at one’s own biases, to white-centering in different industries, to what’s happening with DEI and much more. Ready to dive in?

So many industries are oh so white that we often don’t think about it at all. It’s this unquestioning approach that Donovan Triplett starts to undermine here, and gives us a lot to think about, not just for advertising, but for all fields.

“At that midway point in my career, I started to wonder more intensely (or perhaps more despairingly), how many of this industry’s standards are slanted toward the idiosyncrasies of the white community (toward the way white people “think, mentally, emotionally and physically”). I wondered how many of our creative choices were invisibly imprinted with their community’s shared inspiration, memories, tendencies, and circumstances.”

In this article, Dr Nika White unpacks the cruel tension that underpins the experience of being the first Black or Global Majority person to achieve something. As she says, there’s both a personal and a community cost:

“Being the first and the "exception" can make the journey to entrepreneurial success seem hard to reach for others. It can also give rise to a toxic narrative riddled with stereotypes and perceptions about race, ability and success. Sometimes, being the "first" raises the bar to a level that others struggle to achieve.”

One of the reasons I chose this article is because of the multi-cultural perspective of the author, who has an Irish mother, a Nigerian father, and has lived between Germany and Ireland. I admire her willingness to look not just as the wider picture, but her own biases and actions.

“We cannot eradicate the mire of systemic racism until we all acknowledge its existence and become part of the solution. This requires self-evaluating our behaviour whether it be subtle or overt white supremacy and privilege, or the conscious or unconscious acceptance of the superiority of whiteness by People of Colour, the ingestion of which has ingrained the belief in one’s inferiority.”

This may be a “water is wet” situation, but I thought this discussion with Dr, Bridget Goosby about Black women’s experiences in academia and some of the fallout as DEI initiatives get carved up, was pretty interesting.

“we …are in a space where people may not even recognize that we are the onlys, and that our experience is unique, and that we are more likely to experience racism and sexism, the intersections of those things in those spaces.

We're also more likely to be cut out of networks because we don't fit necessarily because we are so underrepresented.”

Staggering turnover rates disproportionately impact women and people of color, with 50% of women in middle management leaving their roles and a 20% higher rate for people of color. At the executive level, women exit jobs four times more often than men. GrindTea, a demographic-specific rating platform, was created to tackle this issue by connecting underrepresented groups with inclusive workplaces. By providing peer-to-peer insights, empowers job seekers to make informed decisions and find employment that aligns with their values. Our mission is to build a diverse and equitable workforce where everyone thrives in their chosen profession without sacrificing their well-being.

As he joins the judging team for an award aimed to help young people realise their ideas, historian David Olusoga highlights the exclusionary nature of the arts, and the failure of the education system to reckon with diversity.

“The worst thing about it, Olusoga says, is the hypocrisy. For industries that are historically associated with liberal politics and welcoming attitudes, the truth of what happens behind the scenes is jarring. This lack of cohesion between perception and reality is preventing progress. Olusoga calls this phenomenon “moral licence”.”

Erasure is something Black women are all too used to. As this writer points out, it happens to Arab American women too, and it’s time for it to stop.

“we should not have to break glass ceilings for our value to be recognized repeatedly. We contribute to the Arab American community. And we contribute to America. And – by being Arab – we contribute to our respective countries, celebrating our origins, defying stereotypes, and reframing the narrative of what Arab American women have done – and what they have yet to do.”

7. Where Does DEI Go from Here? by Laura Morgan Roberts

Is freedom incompatible with the way we work? I certainly don’t think so, and neither does this writer, who outlines ways that companies can embed the four freedoms into their workplaces.

“The fact is, liberating workers is not a zero-sum game; granting freedoms to one group does not inherently take them away from another. The collective pursuit of the four freedoms thus benefits everyone, as well as the business itself.”

8. Our Great Stumbling Block by Sam Chavez

When I read this essay by Sam Chavez, it made me feel things - pain, yes, but also hope, because someone was calling a thing a thing, as my friend Em Weltman says. In this case, the thing is white supremacy and, as we know, the results of this paradigm are all around us. Luckily, people have also been fighting it for pretty much the whole time.

“While it can be daunting, the idea that there’s been a continuous struggle for social justice and an equitable world since before the United States was founded. I've also found hope in it. These roots go back deep, y’all. The escalation of racism and other -isms is not because of a few “great and powerful white men” like Jamie Dimon and Elon Musk. They are just vehicles to make what already is there louder. Ultimately white supremacy is deeply embedded in everything.”

Who’d have thunk we’d be at anti-racism 101 in 2024, but here we are, and Rebecca Berry makes some great points about the way racism is embedded in all our psyches, no matter what we look like on the outside, and the absolute necessity for white folx to see, acknowledge and identify their own biases so they can address them.

“the vast majority of white anti-racists see the problem as being out there, not inside ourselves. We’re woke to it. We’re one of the good guys. But by acknowledging that racism is embedded in society, by default we have to also acknowledge our own racism. It’s been built into our psyche since we were born, whether or not we’re prepared to admit it to ourselves.”

I was intrigued by this campaign and thought it was a great approach to changing some common perceptions. The covers I’ve seen so far give the lie to the stereotypes that exist. I don’t know if the campaign is still running, but if it is, check it out.

“The campaign depicts negative narratives as a series of book covers. Each cover features a young RISE.365 volunteer paired with a title based upon real judgement they have unfortunately experienced. These shocking titles were taken directly from conversations between the young men and M&C Saatchi.”

The opening sentence of this article hit me hard - as did many of the facts presented. I’m not going to ruin it, but here’s a taste:

“The term ‘justice sensitivity’, like many of the terms we use around mental health and neurodivergence, has come from the research of white, cishetero men and been carried out on populations that mirrored the lived experience of the researchers. We need to challenge these concepts because they come from a limited perspective of unearned advantage and by those who benefit from constructed colonial oppression.”

I’ve often wanted to find research that doesn’t just reflect the perspective of the Global North. African Journals Online is one resource to help with that. While I haven’t explored it in detail yet, it’s “a non-profit organisation that (since 1998) works to increase global & continental online access, awareness, quality & use of African-published, peer-reviewed research". Check it out!

Which article resonated with you most this month? What action will you take as a result?

Thanks for reading,


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Of Note: Things Worth Highlighting

I’m starting an occasional section for a mixed bag of interesting articles and resources I’ve found - enjoy!

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*Note: all articles linked here were free to read when I put together this edition. However, some may be paywalled by the time it is published, because capitalism. There’s not much I can do about that, but I hope the included quotes give you a flavour of the content.

© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2024. All Rights Reserved.

I am an anti-racism educator and activist, Co-Founder of Mission Equality, the author of “I’m Tired of Racism”, and co-host of The Introvert Sisters podcast.

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