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Anti-Racism Reading List July 2023
10+ articles and resources to further your anti-racism learning and action
Sometimes racism seems like a hydra - when you think you’re getting to grips with one issue, at least two more spring up in its place. Or maybe it’s more of a Groundhog Day situation, where the same issues keep coming up over and over again. Whichever analogy works for you - and feel free to suggest your own - this month’s roundup has some new takes on some old as the hills situations…
1. Why Are Indigenous Mascots Still A Thing? by George Takei and Amelia Mavis Christnot
When George Takei and Jay Kuo said they were launching a newsletter together, I was quick to subsscribe, because I often find good sense in their existing publications. This article shares an Indigenous perspective on mascots, and reveals the hypocrisy in their continued use - and the defence of their use:
“During a period when the official government policy for Indigenous peoples was described as "kill the Indian, save the man," non-Natives were playing Indian using everything that had been stripped away from us.”
2. Job Hoppers Do Not Exist by K Matāotama Strohl (They/Them)
Ideas about Black people’s attitudes to work have been around since colonisation and enslavement - and from my perspective, not wanting to be enslaved or work for enslavers makes good sense. Those ideas continued once my ancestors were no longer required to work for free, and ideas about “quiet quitting” and “job hopping” seem part of the same tainted paradigm, as K points out:
“The idea that people should be prioritizing what a potential employer may think of them over their own safety is peak White Supremacy.”
3. 4 Ways Black Parents, who are caregivers for Black LGBTQIA+ youth, can better support their mental health by Black Parents as Caregivers
Some of us don’t want to admit to it, but homophobia is an issue in many Black cultures. Aside from the utter wrongness of denying someone’s identity (As a Black woman, I feel we should know better), it also has a terrible effect on the mental health of Black LGBTQ+ folx:
“Many of us subconsciously harbor homophobic ideologies, and have normalized a great deal of them. I can admit I have been guilty of this in the past. This alone has a great impact on Black LGBTQIA+ youth, 77% of Black and African American LGBTQ youth have heard family members say negative things about LGBTQ people.”
4. Untangling America’s Issue With Black Hair by Diamond-Michael Scott
Ah yes, the question of Black hair. It seems to surface regularly, whether the texture is judged within our culture, or the style is judged outside it, or anything in between.
“Controversy around Black hair still exists to this day. Black and Brown people have experienced restrictive workplace practices, been fired from jobs, been expelled from schools and experienced persistent oppression based on how they choose to wear their hair. Even in cases where institutional protections against race-based discrimination are in place, Black women in particular have faced the lion's share of abusive practices in terms of hair bias.”
5. Feeling My Way through White Spaces by Jesse Wilson
I think many Black folx will relate to the experience this author shares, of feeling uncomfortable with something, trying to work out if it IS racism or not, and then deciding whether to speak up or not. And that constant potential for harm is the reason for the hypervigilance many of us live with in white-dominated spaces:
“Unfortunately, as I look back now, I conclude it was a mistake to say nothing. At the time, I didn’t feel confident and well-enough equipped to push against the implied racism. Instead, I doubted my own concerns and thought it was easier to be quiet and give the presenter the benefit of the doubt.”
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6. 5 Times I’ve Experienced «Nice Racism» by Rebecca Stevens Alder
Sticking with the microaggressions theme, Rebecca gives five examples of “racism with a smile” - the gibes that are so insidious it takes you a while to realise they’ve happened. The pain is just as acute, though:
“People feel that because they’ve said something nice, they can’t possibly be racists. The reality is that they are. Nice racism and racism are one and the same, they hurt. Don’t pay someone a compliment veiled in racism.”
7. Racism Is a Pandemic: We Must Become the Vaccine by Charles Estacious White
This title stopped me in my tracks. Though personally I’m more about the mission of fighting racism because it’s the right thing to do, this author also points out some of the financial costs. In addition, he asks questions about what the world could be like if we eliminated racism. (We’re also asking those questions at Mission Equality.)
“Do you know what we could do in America if everyone was equal? How many homes would’ve been bought? How many kids would’ve eaten better? How many more small minority-owned businesses would exist? If all could share equally in the economic pie?”
8. Juneteenth is White Now by LGWare, The Black Lens
I guess it was bound to happen once Juneteenth became a federal holiday in the USA - corporations started trying to colonise and capitalise on it. And some people decided that including white folx on a Juneteenth banner was a good idea, which it wasn’t. And there’s a certain hypocrisy in some white folx having a long weekend while trying to erase Black history. I could say more, but I won’t - for now.
"That banner of the white couple is symbolic of what constantly happens to black people. Our voices are drowned out and replaced by a pristine image. Slavery wasn’t that bad. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks solved slavery. Everyone is happy now. Those things were in the past. That was a long time ago. Why aren’t you smiling? Smile. Smile and dance a little for me. You all perform so well.”
9. Meanwhile by Pharoah Bolding
Another Black child dead. At the hands of a white woman. As Pharoah eloquently says here, life will be forever altered for some, and nothing will change for others.
“white folx will have collectively forgotten about Ajike Owens' murder at the hands of Susan Lorincz by the middle of next week, as they do with every murder executed by fragile white people unable to mask their fear and hatred of the melanated body. Ajike's murder will fall out of the news cycle, soon replaced with the latest Black murder at the hands of white supremacy. Rinse and repeat in perpetuity.”
10. Opinion: Tim Scott And The Embarrassing Black Conservatives Who Ignore Racism by Dustin J. Seibert
We’re back to internalised racism again, and the Black folx who are complicit in racism denial. This quote by the author is on point:
“Most sensible Black folks see through this bullshit like a Ziploc bag. For the woefully uninitiated, however, I’ll put the snark on hold, just for a second: Racism is forever. And it’s everywhere, including America. That no one is dragging Black folks by their noosed necks behind moving cars in the open anymore doesn’t suggest it’s completely nonexistent in all its forms.”
Bonus: Hey That’s Not Cool by Ernest J. Crim
Ernest J. Crim shares part of a conversation he had with 5th graders (around 10 years old for those outside the USA) about allyship:
“If kids can be taught to be racist then they can also be taught to be anti racist allies. As an educator, that’s what I know.”
Well, that’s it for this month. Which article stood out to you most? 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.