Anti-Racism Reading List December 2022
10 enlightening articles worth discussing and sharing
It’s time for the last reading list of 2022. By the time you finish this, you’ll have had the chance to read 120+ perspectives on racism and anti-racism from different writers around the globe. Let’s dive in to this month’s selection.
1. What the U.S. can learn from Germany about grappling with dark parts of its history by Rachel Treisman
Whenever we talk about reckoning with the history of colonialism, genocide and racism, the comparison with how Germany deals with the Nazi history comes up. Here the author talks to Clint Smith, who reflects on the differences in how the US and Germany memorialise and reckon with their past. Though Germany took a while to do it, the country got there, and now there are reminders everywhere. There would have to be many more reminders in the USA, as this quote reveals:
“One example of that is Demnig's stumbling stones. One woman in Berlin, upon learning that Smith is from New Orleans and a descendent of enslaved people, asked him if he could imagine what it would be like if there were stumbling stones in his hometown (which at one point was the largest slave market in the U.S.). The whole city would be covered in stones, she said.”
2. Always Making Mistakes by Martha Pritchard Spear
This is a short read, but I included it because it illustrates how one person deals with the idea of allyship. Many avoid it because they’re afraid to mess up, but Spear says:
“I am a white American cisgender queer middle-aged woman, an aspiring anti-racist who is always making mistakes. I will keep on making mistakes, because I would rather be courageous and plunge forward trying to be inclusive than be silent and cautious, hoping not to err. It isn’t easy to be brave, but it feels right.”
3. Allyship Requires Skin in the Game by Clay Rivers
Staying with the notion of allyship, Our Human Family editor Clay Rivers talks about the abandonment of allyship, which happens often, and shares why Global Majority people are sceptical about the notion as a result.
“Sometimes after getting involved in causes, the would-be do-gooder gains a clearer insight into the depth and breadth of racial inequities Black, Indigenous, and People of Color contend with. The realization that the scope of the problem is worse, bigger, and more pervasive than they previously thought overwhelms them. And in true Hollywood fashion, they tap out, leaving the marginalized person in a worse situation than before the support they depended on arrived.”
4. New Research Shows That Reparation Payments Could Increase Life Expectancy Of Black Americans by Janice Gassam Asare, Ph.D
Ah, the R-word - reparations. So contentious, and yet so necessary. Here, Janice Gassam Asare delves into the research showing that reparations aren’t just morally right, they can lead to improved health. That’s a human case for making them, right?
“The researchers found that reparation payments of $828,055 per household would eliminate the current wealth gap, thus increasing the life span of Black middle-aged and older adults and decreasing the Black-white survivor gap from 4 years to 1.4 years.”
5. Where Racism and Sexism Intersect by Robert Livingston
One of the best things I’ve done recently is subscribe to Robert Livingston’s newsletter. As a rule, I find his articles well-researched and thought-provoking. Here, he makes the case for intersectionality as a lens through which to consider disadvantages.
“often we tend to compare one disadvantaged group with another (for example, Black women vs. White women, or Black men vs. Black women) in a “one-size-fits-all” approach that assumes a hierarchy of hardship between them. This approach does little to advance our understanding of the unique disadvantages each group faces, or the ways in which organizations can create greater inclusion for all socially disadvantaged groups.”
5. UK has never looked uglier and that’s why I’ll never stop talking about racism by Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu
This is the first of two articles dealing with “where are you really from” racism - let’s call it what it is. Like the author, I’ve found the attempts to justify the racism annoying, though unsurprising.
“The ugliness of those defending racially charged comments is on public display, and while the savagery and ferocity of it is nothing new or surprising, it never fails to take my breath away.”
6. Ngozi Fulani’s real name is exactly what she says it is by Nadine White
Related to that, one of the criticisms levelled at the victim of the attack is that Ngozi Fulani isn’t even her real name. How dare they? You may have to sign up for free to read this one, but it’s worth it. This snippet says it all, really:
“It is staggering that people don’t realise most Black people are essentially carrying the names of their ancestors’ captors.”
Marley K offers an alternative perspective on smart cities. While I’m a techie, I’ve also watched Terminator, and I’ve seen some of the current discussions about ethics and AI, so it’s worth checking out some of the potential down sides.
“Poor Black folks connected to the IoT will be subjected to 24-hour surveillance because their free devices will be snitching on them. They’ll be locked into economically deprived communities, unable to go more than 15 minutes in any direction to get whatever they need.”
8. The “Double-Edged Sword” of Telling Black History in Film by Evan Nicole Brown
It’s back to representation, a question that keeps coming up in this newsletter and elsewhere. Is every representation about Black history and culture good, or does it do harm, or is there something in between. That’s the question the writer is grappling with in this article, quoting the Smithsonian’s Rhea Combs:
“It’s a double-edged sword, because it creates a limited understanding of Black experiences, whereby one could just assume that everything is about hardship, destruction and overt racism — and it gives this false impression of progress and overcoming that moment.”
9. I Just Stopped Looking For Winter Boots Because Of Racism by Rebecca Stevens Alder
Shopping while Black has its ups and downs - and racism from sales assistants is one of the major downs, which happens far too often.
“Like everyone, I am busy, so it bothers me to have to revisit this whole boot-buying business all over again. But, that is the way life is when one is Black — life has a lot more unexpected things happen due to racism, and that leads to a whole load of anxiety and mental health issues.”
10. Why saying “Go back to your country” is actually pretty funny? By Your Native Friend
Here the author takes a look at the human history of migration - which is extensive - and also examines the ridiculousness of a common insult. These powerful words resonated with me:
“Don't tell us to go back to our countries. We are already in our countries.
We are not the invaders.
We are the daughters and sons of native peoples that used to own these lands before they were stolen.
We didn't steal anything.
This is our land.”
Bonus: Do You Have a Reparations Fund by Ashani Mfuko
I absolutely love Ashani’s videos - this one is no exception. While government organisations SHOULD be doing stuff, we also have to take our wellbeing into our own hands.
Enable 3rd party cookies or use another browser
Thank you for being here this year. Enjoy the rest of the holidays, and I’ll see you in 2023!
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2022. All Rights Reserved.
I am an anti-racism writer, educator and activist, Co-Founder of Mission Equality the author of “I’m Tired of Racism”, and co-host of The Introvert Sisters podcast. If you value my perspective, please consider upgrading to a paid subscription.