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Anti-Racism Reading List August 2022
10 thought-provoking articles to read and share
I’ve just passed the two-year mark on this newsletter. In that time, this reading list has proven to be one of the most popular features, so I’m going to keep it going. Let’s dive straight in to this month’s selection…
1. Why Visit Plantations If You Can’t Handle the Truth About Slavery? By Allison Gaines
I’ve talked recently about the harm done by people with an imperfect grasp of history. Here Allison Gaines makes the point about why this is problematic again:
“Why should any of us pretend that Jefferson was heroic just because he wrote down some words he wasn't willing to live by? Americans trying to live by those values are the real heroes, not Jefferson, who lived his life oppressing others.”
As a long time freelancer and content creator, I am depressingly familiar with the theft of my intellectual property. This story highlights the issue generally, citing the case of an article by Dr. Carey Yazeed (though Dr Yazeed is far from the only one):
“A quick Google search brings up other instances of blatant theft. Of course, there’s the recent “Juneteenth ice cream” debacle, in which critics accused Walmart of stealing a flavor from Creamalicious, a company founded and led by a Black woman. Then, there are entire books that writers have based off the original research and ideas of Black women. If that’s not enough to convince you there’s a pattern here, consider this collective that centers around citing Black women.”
3. “Good and bad people” Dr. Michael K. Blanchard
This LinkedIn post asks some hard questions to give the devil’s advocates for enslavement something to think about:
“How many millions of white people did Africans, Asians, Indians, Mexicans, or Native Americans steal from Europe to enslave for centuries? How many countries did people of color build using the free labor of white people?”
4. 10 White-Centered “DEI Games” that Companies Play with Black Candidates and Employees by Theresa M. Robinson
Theresa does NOT play, and this article is no exception. It outlines multiple ways in which Black employees and candidates are excluded by their white peers. No lies detected.
“A new twist on an "old favorite" is inviting Black candidates to interview in order to only satisfy “diversity interview quotas” without any intention of hiring us. Wells Fargo turned this “game” into an art form because.....well.....Wells Fargo. That's how they roll. I should also mention that Wells Fargo's CEO had previously made a statement in 2020 about there being a "limited pool of Black talent," for which he later apologized. Isn't it funny though how they just kept on "finding" Black talent for their fake interview scheme? Just saying.”
5. How to Effectively Combat Unconscious Bias by Robert Livingston
While I believe unconscious bias is only unconscious till people act on it, the fact remains that it’s a common term for some of the internalized prejudices we don’t think about. In this article, Robert Livingston shares some strategies for fighting them. (I’ll have an interview with him in this newsletter during September.)
“One technique that researchers have used to reduce implicit racial biases is vivid counterstereotypicality. This is just a fancy term for flipping the script on stereotypes—for example, making Black people be seen as heroes rather than villains.”
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6. Whiteness is an invented concept that has been used as a tool of oppression by Meghan Tinsley
One of the things we have to do as anti-racists is understand how whiteness came to be and the harm that it still does. This article is a possible starting point, and includes links to several relevant sources. (Of course, you could also read Caste by Isabel Wilkerson.)
“White people, and white institutions, have long centered their experiences, imagining them to be universal. Universalising their experiences, in turn, has permitted white people to speak of themselves as individuals, who are unmarked by race and racism.
This stands in contrast to the way in which non-white and Black people are collectively othered and racialised. And it continues to have tangible, and often terrible, daily consequences.”
7. Action Step #20. Audit Whiteness by LaTonya Davis
The Equity Source newsletter is a great place to find tips for taking action on DEI (rather than just talking about it.)
“In 2022, we still have people engaging in overt and covert racist behavior. On your recruitment. On your human resources. In your meetings. In your 1:1s. This is what the bias training missed. Solely focusing on bias is a missed opportunity to address a silent root cause - racism.”
8. Disney’s White Privilege Checklist Asks People to Check Their Privilege At The Front Door by Allison Gaines
I wasn’t sure how I felt about this but I agree with Allison Gaines that an attempt to address the issue of white privilege is better than trying to ignore the issue. Time will tell if it results in change.
“White supremacy persists, in part, because denying privileges means White people never have to address societal inequalities. Implicit and explicit biases become weapons in our workplaces. Disney’s checklist, and those like it, aim to make employees consider their privileges compared to other groups before interacting with them. This time of self-evaluation has potential.”
9. What It Looks Like to Build a Pro-Black Organization by Liz Derias and Kad Smith
After doing a course at CompassPoint, I was intrigued about what equity looked like in their organization. That’s when I found this article, which provides much food for thought:
“The presiding concentration on confronting anti-Blackness often requires that Black staff define, defend, and solve their own experiences of oppression within organizations. Using pro-Black power as a frame draws in white staff and staff of color to interrogate their own anti-Black bias, as well as drawing the organization into challenging the systems, processes, policies, and practices, not just interpersonal behaviors or attitudes.”
10. DEI needs to be about more than written reports and empty promises by Shellene Drakes-Tull
I found this article because Kimberley John-Morgan, founder of the Salt Box community, was quoted. As always, she doesn’t mince her words:
“Black people are still talking and doing all the things. We have all these initiatives, programs and services, access to grants, but what’s not happening is collective and ongoing outrage of non-Black communities …That’s what needs to happen.”
Finally, I found this short film from 2020 Filmz, depicting an excerpt from "Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass, An American Slave", very moving.
I’d love to hear if you found anything particularly meaningful or had any insights from this month’s reading list.
If you’re a new subscriber this month, you can catch up on past reading lists here.
Thanks for reading,
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2022. All Rights Reserved.
I am an anti-racism writer, educator and activist, Head of Anti-Racism at Diverse Leaders Group, and co-host of The Introvert Sisters podcast. If you value my perspective, please consider upgrading to a paid subscription.