Anti-Racism Reading List June 2022
10+ thought-provoking articles worth reading and sharing
We continue to have a lot to deal with and hold. For me, personally, this month did not turn out anything like I thought it would. You may hear more about that in due course. In the meantime, I’ve continued to read. Here are some of the articles that caught my eye recently.
1. Juneteenth 2022: Commemoration without Commercialization by Lisa Hurley
Some corporations were so excited by the money to be made from the Black community from the new federal holiday of Juneteenth (which also happens to be more than a century old, but that’s another story) that they put their performativity on show with themed products. It was just plain wrong, and my sister Lisa was one of the leading voices on LinkedIn calling it out. Here’s her take on it:
“from the outset there was a plan for the ongoing exploitation and ownership of Black culture – which is created by Black human beings – for a holiday rooted in ending the ownership of Black human beings. It’s as if the hegemonic class wants to legally own our culture, since they can no longer legally own us.”
2. No, James Patterson Doesn’t Have It Hard by Vena Moore
While we’re on the subject of bovine excrement, James Patterson’s claim to be oppressed as a white man in publishing is a fine example of what happens when you open your mouth without thinking. For him of all people to claim that is egregious, and it bears no resemblance to the facts that show that despite inroads by a few authors of color, publishing remains largely white.
“One look at the top 15 New York Times Bestselling Hardcover Fiction Booklist for this week shows that out of the top 15 books listed, 13 of them were written by white authors. Out of those 13 writers, 7 of them were written or co-written by white men. How hard can it possibly be for older white male writers when they dominate the bestselling fiction book chart?”
For another take on the Patterson debacle, read “White Man Claims It's Too Hard For White Men To Get Writing Gigs” by Allison Gaines
3. “What’s a Black Girl Like You Doing with a White Girl Name Like That?” by Theresa M. Robinson
When I was working in the UK, someone asked me a version of this question, so Theresa’s article really struck me. Read and learn about naming strategies Black parents use, and why.
“Our names and naming can be reminders of oppression and resistance to oppression. For many, this comes with trauma.”
4. 5 Undeniable Traits Of The Perfect White Supremacist by Rebecca Stevens A.
There are no lies detected in this article by Rebecca Stevens. I’ve met people like this, especially the first type in meetings where I was the only Black person in the room.
“When a white person speaks, they listen, when a Black person talks, they fidget. Go into any corporate environment and you’ll identify these people at lightning speed. They are the ones who’ll pay attention when white people speak but then look bored and disengaged when their Black or brown colleagues open their mouths.”
5. How privileged employees can help protect victims of microaggression by Abi Adamson
I don’t know about you, but as a Black woman, I’ve very rarely been in a position where a white colleague has interrupted racism. That’s just a fact. On the contrary, they’ve been more likely to compound the harm by apologizing for the colleague who’s perpetrated the racism. This article talks about using privilege for good, which is much needed.
“The sad reality is that in most instances when harm has taken place, someone in a position of privilege – often a leader or manager – has failed to interrupt. In other words, an ally has existed, but has not stepped in to protect the victim.”
Want to progress on your allyship journey and take the lead on anti-racism, wherever you are? Check out the Anti-Racist Leaders Association, where I’ll be co-leading a group to ensure effective allyship at work and beyond. Doors open in July!
6. When War is Peace and Freedom is Slavery by Anastasia Reesa Tomkin
Sadly, the novel “1984” isn’t just a fiction. We see people pushing doublethink and “alternative facts” all the time. We need to pay attention and do better.
“We read that novel with the assumption that it pertains only to authoritarian regimes of a distant past. We fail to recognize how in modern society, particularly in social justice spaces, we are being taught to see only what elite politicians, activists, influencers and the HR department wants us to see.”
7. Proximity is not experience by Christen Flack Behzadi, MD
In this LinkedIn post, Dr Behzadi undermines the Black/Asian/Indigenous friend defense, pointing out that it means nothing, and suggesting another way forward:
“Be ready for the HARD stuff. Not just the "celebration month." Be ready when inequities happen. Learn how to speak up when you see inequities.”
8. We all have the capacity to be allies - 5 tips to ensure your allyship is genuine and not performative by Leanne Mair
I’m returning to the topic of performativity, this time in relation to allyship. As my sister Lisa often says “the work is the work”. You can’t get away from that if you’re serious about anti-racism.
“Performative allyship is easy, being loud about what you’ve done and making sure your face is seen, but genuine allyship takes time and effort to build relationships and trust in order to make an impact.”
9. What Can Racism Look Like In The Workplace? (Part 1) by Lea Jovy-Ford
If you want to be a true ally, one way is to pay attention to the real experiences Black and Brown colleagues and other often excluded colleagues are likely having in the workplace. Who gets the benefit of the doubt, and who doesn’t? This article highlights some of the ways bias and racism show up.
“An ongoing defence and protection of white colleagues with a unique ability to look the other way or simply appear to not see performance issues which are, for Black and Brown colleagues, almost immediately called into question and highlighted.”
10. The 5 Stages Of Coming To Terms With Being Racist by Becky, Anti-Racist Leaders
I don’t often share two articles from the same site, but I thought this was an interesting take on examining one’s own racism.
“The anger comes from us refusing to be accountable and take responsibility. For me this stage is often where white fragility (a form of weaponised defensiveness) is played out.
Blaming and feeling resentful at the Black and Brown people around us – whether internally or externally – for us having to do something about our own racism!”
Well, that’s it for this month, folx. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this month’s collection!
P.S. Full disclosure: I will be working on the anti-racism piece with Diverse Leaders Group.
Thanks for reading,
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2022. All Rights Reserved.