Anti-Racism Reading List June 2024

10+ articles and resources for learning and action

Don't make it about debt, make it about decency on a blue backround surrounded by raised fists. Underneath is reparationsrace.org

Hello friends,

If I had to pick out themes for this month's edition of the reading list they would be white centering, languaging, and the enduring perniciousness and impacts of racism. I guess that last one is an ongoing theme in this newsletter. Most of this month's writers are featured here for the first time, though there are a couple of regular tea-spillers making a return appearance. Ready to dive in?

As a past and current educator - it's kind of in my DNA - education is near and dear to my heart. In the last few years I've been working in companies determined to decolonise education, so this article really resonates.

“curriculum censorship stifles academic inquiry and hampers educators’ ability to provide a comprehensive and well-rounded education. The right’s attacks on history are particularly insidious, as they seek to rewrite or erase the past to fit a memory of America that no longer represents who we are or where we are going.”

Living in a place where - if you stop to think of it - everywhere we live is a former plantation containing the remnants of our ancestors, this article has particular resonance. It might get uncomfortable, but that's why you're here, right?

“how could the aesthetics of the land overshadow the fact that this is a place drenched in violence, dehumanization and white supremacy?”

File this one under useful resources. I've written about labelling myself, but it's always useful to have another take on it, and as always, Sadia provides lots of insights.

“we should not become overly fixated on finding terminology that perfectly captures someone else’s racial and ethnic identity. Instead, our focus should ultimately be identifying how people, by virtue of their skin colour, are put at a systemic disadvantage and shining a light on that.”

Sticking with the languaging theme, Britt Hawthorne offers a perspective on the term "people of the global majority" which was coined by Rosemary Campbell-Stephens MBE and which I use often. (Note that though this quote refers to the USA, in my experience it applies to many other places in the UK and Europe, for a start, and to all the countries that use a lot of the media products created by these countries.)

“US movies, books, films, history, pop culture, children’s magazines, toys, and podcasts almost exclusively center the experiences and lives of white people. This white-centering—plus often-used terms like “ethnic minorities”—gives children a distorted understanding of how many non-white people there are in the world. The term “People of the Global Majority” disrupts white supremacy culture and ideology.”

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5. ERGs are not segregation by Paul Ladipo on LinkedIn

Paul Ladipo is a fierce truth-teller, and I look forward to his posts in my feed. Of late, he's been countering some of the pushback against equality and equity work. Paul was on last year's SARN top voices list and is well worth following.

“ERGs aren't about segregation. They are about allowing employees to bond over shared experiences. This encourages marginalized folks to be their authentic selves because everyone else can relate to their experiences.”

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I'd been thinking about the pervasiveness of racism when I went down a rabbit-hole and landed on this article (among many, many others) looking at post-apartheid South Africa. It turns out that though there have been changes, especially legally, the legacy of inequality has proved pernicious. Of course, that won't be a surprise to those with enslaved ancestors.

“South Africa’s road to freedom was long and bloody – laden with the bodies of thousands of Black activists and students who dared to protest, both loudly and quietly.

The wounds of those times are still painful and visible. Black South Africans make up 81 percent of the 60 million population. But, burdened with the trauma and lingering inequalities of the past, Black communities continue to be disproportionately afflicted with poverty.”

I found both parts of this article instructive. In the introductory paragraphs, the author looks at how whiteness operates overall, and in the second, she outlines five common types of derailment in anti-racism discussions, and how they could be addressed or avoided.

“This “bubble of protection” has turned into the belief that white folks have the right to comfort, a core tenant of white supremacy culture: the belief that those with power have a right to emotional and psychological comfort."

There have been many ways to talk about the difficulties women face in the workplace - the glass ceiling, the glass cliff and so on. And those issues are compounded for those with intersectional identities, like Black women. Here, Ericka Hines talks about the "tightrope of excellence" which illustrates the tension many face, as the quote highlights:

“This interplay between the desire to excel, the fear of negative judgment for not meeting high standards, and the pressure of stereotypes creates a vicious cycle of perfectionism.”

We already know that racism has serious health impacts, from ignored pain and illness to high maternal mortality rates and other fatal consequences. This article reports on another such impact.

“Racism is trauma that can lead to increased stress, which can in turn cause health problems like inflammation, which is a risk factor for cognitive decline, said Dr. Carl V. Hill, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer of the Alzheimer’s Association.”

10. Too Many White People at the Cookout by Kirk Baltimore and Felicia Davenport

File this one under "getting a different perspective". This article deals with the issue of performative allyship, especially from "liberals" and gives Jane Elliott some side-eye. Since I've often cited her work, I wanted to read and assess the merit of these authors' viewpoint. I'll leave you to make up your own mind, but the article certainly gave me food for thought.

“this outspoken, unapologetic "anti-racist" professor is also against the distribution of reparations among Black people. Her reasoning isn't different than the typical white supremacist argument against reparations that attempts to muddy the water, spotlight a "more deserving" recipient, and justify that it would be too complicated.”

Of Note - Things Worth Highlighting

There certainly was a lot to think about this month. What action will you take as a result of what you've read today?

Let me know

Thanks for reading,

Sharon

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*Note: all articles linked here were free to read when I put together this edition. However, some may be paywalled by the time it is published, because capitalism. There’s not much I can do about that, but I hope the included quotes give you a flavour of the content.

© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2024. All Rights Reserved.

Cover photo courtesy of Canva.

I am an anti-racism educator and activist, Co-Founder of Mission Equality, the author of “I’m Tired of Racism”, and co-host of The Introvert Sisters podcast. This newsletter is published on beehiiv (affiliate link).

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