Anti-Racism Reading List July 2022
10 thought-provoking articles to read and share
Reading list time seems to come round pretty quickly sometimes. Here’s what has made me pay attention in the past month.
1. What is Freedom to a Black Woman on This Fourth of July? by Allison Gaines
On July 4th, I included Frederick Douglass’s famous speech about the holiday in my email. Allison Gaines feels much the same, and sets out why in this post.
“We'd be fooling ourselves if we portrayed the first Fourth of July as an inclusive affair. For millions of Black Americans, the prospect of freedom evaporated into thin air, like a midsummer's night dream. So, you can see why some Black people don't feel like popping fireworks and rocking red, white, and blue each July. Some of us can smell the hypocrisy, and it isn't pleasant.”
Read more from Allison in this interview:
2. “We all have bias” by Dr. Ijeoma Nnodim Opara
Something a bit different this time. This is a Twitter thread unpacking the fact that we all have biases. As the author points out, that may be true, but what we can do with those biases is very different.”
“Yes, we all have biases.
But, those biases are not equal.
Becos we don’t all have power.
The power to translate that bias into an outcome for those without power.”
3. Unpacking the False Allyship of White Racial Justice Leaders by Anastasia Reesa Tomkin
This may be hard to read, but if you sit with it for a while, you’ll realize you know people this applies to. And the people this applies to can do a lot of harm, as Anastasia Reesa Tomkin points out:
“White liberals who are heads of non-profits targeting black communities, or leaders within racial justice spaces, are just as deeply committed to protecting their economic, social, and psychological supremacy as the worst of the far-right figures.”
4. The Unbearable Whiteness of Philanthropy in 2022 by Hvega201
I often say in this newsletter and elsewhere that it matters whose voices are heard and who is centered. This author makes the same point in relation to philanthropic organizations:
“For every time I hear about a foundation moving to center equity in their work or fund majority grassroots and frontline organizations, I experience at least two more meetings in which Latinx people are a subject of discussion, but not agents of their own stories.”
5. Weapons of Mass Instruction for True Aspiring Allies and Allies-in-Progress: 4 Mini-Lessons to Grow On and 1 to Act On by Theresa M. Robinson
This one’s for all those who wonder what allyship is all about or could be about. Theresa pulls no punches, as usual, and delivers some valuable lessons in the process.
“Being a for-real ally isn’t the absence of falling down; it’s the determination to decide, and to keep on deciding, to get back up and keep going.”
Hear more from Theresa here:
6. The difference between DEI and anti-racism at work, according to the diversity chief of a $37 billion company by Ashton Jackson
File this one under things to think about. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve had a lot of discussions with people leading to the conclusion that when you focus on undoing racism, you fix a LOT of other issues. This article suggests that Twilio’s Lybra Clemons also sees merit in that:
“DE&I are still very foundational and fundamental to work, but anti-racism is an active term where you are personally responsible. This is about self-awareness and taking full accountability of who you are.”
7. In Culture Facilitation: Keeping People Anchored by Chris Armstrong
I recently took a course with Chris and his partner Vince Brantley, and learned a heck of a lot about facilitating difficult conversations. This article distills some of their advice.
“Culture is, in its simplest form, collective regard and social norms. As a culture facilitator, you are always assessing these two things. I will say them again - collective regard and social norms. One more time with feeling - COLLECTIVE regard and social NORMS.”
8. What Makes Me Proud To Be Black by Vena Moore
What I love most about this piece is the centering of Black pride and Black joy, something we don’t see often enough, in my opinion:
“[As Black people] the sheer amount of negative conditioning we must unlearn to accept ourselves is overwhelming and can last a lifetime. No white person ever has to undergo anything comparable to accept themselves because they’re considered the default of society.”
Hear more from Vena here:
9. Not All White People: Part 420,000,000,000 — How Stupid Do White People Need To Be? by Devon J. Hall
Devon is another writer who puts it all out there. Here Devon unpacks white “fragility”.
“The problem is that no matter what ANYONE who is different and “other” than “perfectly exactly right,” says, the moment WHITE people hear “I have a problem with you,” they think it’s because they’re white.”
Hear more from Devon here:
10. 9 Rubbish Racist Reasons A White Boss Gives To Fire A Black Employee by Rebecca Stevens A.
All I’m going to say is that practically every Black person I know (and a bunch of people who face isms) can relate to this, so I’ll let Rebecca’s words speak for themselves.
“Some of my Black friends have found themselves in dire situations, and have been let go from their jobs for very strange and unjustified reasons. When we re-analyze the situation, there is that “red thread” of racism that permeates every single one of their cases.”
Hear more from Rebecca here:
I think you’ll agree that there’s plenty to chew on in this month’s roundup. What stands out most to you?
Thanks for reading,
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2022. All Rights Reserved.