Anti-Racism Reading List February 2022
10+ powerful articles worth reading and sharing
Ready for this month’s reading list? It’s a varied collection - check it out!
1. 10 Phrases A White Person Should Never Say To A Black Person by Rebecca Stevens
Ever wondered what to say and what not to say, or how certain phrases land with regularly excluded people? One of my favorite writers, Rebecca Stevens, tackles the topic with 10 examples:
“Black people suffer from racism on a daily basis, that’s a fact. Whether or not they are aware of it is a different story. There are fact-based studies out there that validate that racism exists. Though we are not all enslaved or colonized today, we still pay a huge price for being Black.”
2. So, Being Armed Makes it OK for Police to Shoot You? By Tim Wise
In this exploration, Tim Wise does the math on police shootings - and something isn’t adding up. Check it out for yourself:
“Combined with the 78 unarmed persons killed, and even if we assume every shooting where it was unclear if the decedent was armed was valid, this would mean nearly 450 inherently questionable shootings that could have been avoided.”
3. Should Black People Be Thankful for Slavery? One White Man Had a Lot to Say by Allison Gaines
The nonsense that trolls and bigots spout never ceases to amaze me, but I’m not at all surprised that many of them find support. Allison Gaines takes a look at this phenomenon in this article:
“It may be easy to dismiss this White man as a lonely troll, but that’s not the case. Hundreds of people were in the space when the man spread his racist, antisemitic propaganda, and the 100s and claps I saw showed that he had many people’s support. It may be dangerous to assume that these opinions are marginalized. In reality, America is full to the brim. Lift a stone, and you will find anti-Black racism there.”
4. “Decolonization” in Global Health: A Letter to My White Colleagues (Part II) Heather Buesseler
Any time you look at the stats, you find that historically and regularly excluded people suffer when it comes to healthcare. We suffer from the start of the experience (in whether our health concerns are taken seriously) to the end (with higher mortality rates than our white counterparts for some conditions.) Check out the second part of Heather Buessler’s exploration here, and go back and check out the first part, too:
“White, Western folx, frameworks, and institutions need to check our ego at the door and finally listen to and center the narratives and expertise of Black and Brown individuals, communities, and institutions. They are the experts of their lived experiences. We need to learn some humility and let that expertise lead our field.”
5. What Do You Call People Who Aren’t White? by Lily Zheng
A few weeks back, Lily Zheng published a LinkedIn poll looking at terminology for people who aren’t white. The results sparked this extended exploration of changes in terminology. You’ll need a bit of time to read this, but the education is worth it:
“simply changing “POC” to “BIPOC” doesn’t change the reality that the language had been coopted and twisted from “self-determined solidarity” to “dehumanizing umbrella terminology that centers Whiteness.””
6. I Won’t Hide My Blackness Around White Friends by Vena Moore
This article by Vena Moore really spoke to me, as I’ve been in the position of trying to fit into spaces and not being my whole self. For me, as for Vena, those days are over, but when they were a regular feature of my existence, they weren’t comfortable at all.
“As someone reared in a predominantly white community, I learned very early in life how to shrink myself in order to survive in an environment hostile to those who looked like me.”
7. 5 Tips for Booking Your Next Black History Month Speaker by Michelle Silverthorn
There’s not much to add to Michelle Silverthorn’s article. Hire Black speakers early, and pay us well:
“The bank still doesn’t take mortgage payments in exposure. Yes, you might think that this professor or recently published author would appreciate coming to your company and speaking for free. No. No, they would not.”
8. I’m Black, But I Don’t Want To Be Your Head Of Diversity by Rebecca Stevens
If you look like me, you’ve probably been in the position of having to represent “the Black experience”, as if that’s a thing, in a white majority space. Other people who face isms no doubt experience this too. But we aren’t a monolith and our knowledge and experience is varied, as Rebecca Stevens points out:
“Black people, albeit Black women, can do a tonne of other things in a company. We can be CEOs, we can head strategy, do communications, regulatory affairs, mergers and acquisitions, and a whole lot of other things.
It isn’t because we are Black that we should automatically be thrown into diversity and inclusion roles. That may not necessarily be where our interests lie from a career perspective.”
9. What A Brown Hand Says About Ethnic Representations Online by N'Delamiko Bey
I’d completely missed this move by Slack, but it is important. What’s even more important is having Black Caribbean people able to find representations of themselves online. As N'Delamiko Bey points out, there’s still a long way to go.
“Try putting together a brochure, a booklet, or any other kind of print medium on a budget using stock photography sources for a Caribbean audience and you will see for yourself how hard it is to find stock images of so-called black people that don’t look like what every other agency in the Caribbean is producing without a dedicated photography team.”
10. Bemoaning the Performative White Centering of Black History Month by Sharon Hurley Hall
I’m rounding out this month’s reading list with one of my own articles, published on Linked Inclusion (join for free to read it in full). As we come to the end of Black History Month in the US, it seems a good time to look at what that really means. Sadly, in many cases, not that much:
“In many ways, corporate Black History Month initiatives serve to make company leadership feel good about “how much” they are doing, and how they are “helping and supporting” the communities they ignore for most of the rest of the year. In many cases, these don’t translate into lasting, meaningful action.”
Here’s something else you might find interesting (if you follow me on LinkedIn, you may have seen it already): I was interviewed by Kevin Maguire, founder and editor of The New Fatherhood, about raising anti-racist kids. You can read that interview here: When should you talk to your kids about race?
And as a final bonus, here’s a resource page from Pharaoh Bolding: Care about Black Lives, Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is. Use it to support Black-owned businesses all year round.
Which of these pieces stood out to you? What lesson are you taking away for your own life or work? Please share below.
Hope you’ve enjoyed Black History Month. It will continue to be celebrated right here, all year round!
Thanks for reading,
Catch up on previous reading lists on the reading list archive page.
I’m live with Katrina Strohl on Absolutely Not! on Thursday, March 3rd. My topic: But Racism, Tho! Register here to tune in live.
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2022. All Rights Reserved.
I am an anti-racism writer, a professional B2B writer and blogger, and co-host of The Introvert Sisters podcast. If you value my perspective, please consider upgrading to a paid subscription.
I've heard #4 and #5 my whole life. Sigh.
Thanks so so much Sharon. I truly appreciate and value you.