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Anti-Racism Reading List August 2023
10 thought-provoking articles for learning and action
It’s that time again, and I’ve tried to include some new voices in this month’s roundup. Let’s dive in…
1. We Will Not Mitigate Racial Disparities if We Center the Comfort of People Privileged by Systemic Racism and White Supremacy Above Those Marginalized by Them by By Kerrien Suarez
OK, it’s a long title, but this article surfaced when I was researching “white comfort” while preparing course material for Mission Equality’s Mx of Equality, and I thought it was worth sharing. This quote sets out the delicate balance that needs to be struck:
“the comfort of white people should not be centered in conversations about dismantling an inequitable system that gives them measurable advantages. Their action in solidarity with people of color, however, is critical to dismantling white supremacy in this country and its institutions.”
2. The First Ladies and Slavery - White House Historical Association
The role of white women during the period of enslavement in the USA has been a recent topic of conversation, so I thought this article about the role played by the most prominent white women was worth a read:
“white slave owners assumed dominance over enslaved individuals with whom they shared blood and never truly considered them “family.””
3. How people are archiving the storytelling and community behind Black Twitter by Jasmine Mithani
I was pleased to see this effort to capture the Black Twitter movement with all its complexities, even as the former Twitter implodes. Black stories are so often untold, and these shouldn't be lost. Maybe the same needs to happen for Black LinkedIn?
““Black Twitter” isn’t one thing — it’s a term for a collection of networks of Black people on the platform, spreading across the globe. The ease of reaching others helped marginalized people build community and organize — even as it also opened users up to abuse based on race and gender.”
4. Weathering: How structural racism affects Black Americans’ health by Margo Snipe
Let’s be clear: this isn’t news. We already know that racism has a cumulative and multi-generational effect. The “weathering” metaphor is a pretty useful one (and maybe explains why so many of us feel worn down?
“What she read was part of a larger concept introduced decades ago, called “weathering,” which refers to the idea that the constant stress of living in an unjust society contributes to poor health outcomes in marginalized communities. It’s like a rock being slowly eroded by the outdoor elements, surviving the storms as the force repeatedly chips away at its strength.”
5. The Perils of Black Leadership by Cyndi Suarez
Again, this isn’t news, but it’s useful to have it all in one place. The quote gives a snapshot of what Black leaders typically experience:
“This article highlights the key characteristics of the Black leadership experience: (1) the fact that Black leaders tend to get appointed in times of crisis, (2) that Black leaders tend to be prepared for these opportunities, (3) that their authority is overwhelmingly contested, (4) and that a core part of their work is managing the negative affect to which they are subject.”
6. Tori Bowie, Another Black Woman Died In Childbirth, Because Sadly, Our Lives Don’t Matter by Rebecca Stevens A.
This was sobering and upsetting news. I’m sure it gave many parents and potential parents pause. I recall my own experience and know that it’s all too possible for things to go gravely wrong and be ignored when you’re Black.
“Basically, as a Black woman, you are three times more likely to die during or after childbirth than a White woman.
That’s a sobering reality and unless something is done to fix this, these deaths will keep on happening.”
7. Eight Ways to Raise Antiracist Children as a White Parent by Dr. Sheva Guy
Some Black kids learn about racism before they start school. If we’re going to change things, white-presenting kids have to learn about it too. If you’re anti-racist and raising kids, this article is a great place to start:
“What many parents fail to realize, though, is that we HAVE to talk about racism with our white children. We must integrate antiracism education into our everyday lives if we ever have the hope of dismantling white supremacy– after all, we are the oppressors, and it is the oppressors’ job to dismantle systems of oppression.”
8. There are two kinds of antiracism. Only one works, and it has nothing to do with ‘diversity training’ by Arun Kundnani
Here, the author makes the point that we have to move beyond checkboxes to find an approach that really works, and we have to do it now!
“To be antiracist today means working collectively with organisations to dismantle racist border, policing, carceral and military infrastructures. It means organising in the community to get the police out of our schools; taking direct action against deportations; and confronting corporations that trade in violence. It means understanding that the poor of the global south are as equally entitled to the world’s resources as the wealthy residents of the north.”
9. ‘Colonial mentality’: from the Caribbean to Kenya, Black people are challenging hair discrimination by Nyima Jobe
I’ve talked about hair a LOT in this newsletter, from hair discrimination to the CROWN Act, and the issue hasn’t gone away. In fact, as this article shows, it’s worldwide, and it’s way past time everyone accepted Black people’s natural hair and hairstyles from their African heritage just the way they are.
“Hair discrimination has a long history, notably rooted in the European slave trade. Enslaved people had their hair forcibly cut off, a dehumanising act also aimed at severing their ties to African culture. Centuries later, the legacy of slavery continues to manifest in workplace and school settings, where afro-hair is often deemed unacceptable.”
10. Remote work gave a reprieve from racism. They don't want to return by Samantha Masunaga
This is another thing that’s not a surprise, as the research cited here reveals:
“Professor Joan C. Williams and her collaborators have built a database of more than 18,000 people as they research the intersection of racial and gender bias in white-collar professions. In almost every dataset she’s seen, women of color report the most bias and the least workplace fairness, she said.”
A Bonus For UK Folx
I didn’t get to see this on my recent trip to England but I love the thought of seeing Africa through the eyes of African artists. Check out Africa unmasked at the Tate: The continent through its own lens.
Which article stood out to you most this month? What will you DO with what you’ve learned?
Thanks for reading,
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© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2023. All Rights Reserved.
Cover photo courtesy of Canva.