Anti-Racism Reading List October 2022
10 enlightening articles worth discussing and sharing
This month, there’s mixed bag of Black experiences, anti-racism education and, importantly, Black joy. Ready to dive in?
1. My Five-Year-Old Biracial Grandson Was Suspended for Stealing Art Supplies from School by Marley K.
Existing in Black or Brown skin in spaces predominantly populated by what Jane Elliott calls “melanemic” people comes with its own set of dangers. And those dangers can be exacerbated when white parents don’t prepare their Black or Brown kids for the racism they will face. Stigmatising Black folks starts young, and so must the talk, as this piece shows.
“White ignorance endangers Black children. Often without realizing it, biracial parents often do their children a huge disservice by attempting to extend the white carpet their children without the skin connection for the white protection.”
2. No organization needs nice people by Lauren Castle
This article looks at some of the work of Shereen Daniels, author of The Anti-Racist Organisation. It calls out the pervasive idea that being nice is enough to counter racism. It has never been, as this quote suggests:
“Niceness, according to Shereen, is performative. It’s often used as an excuse, a reason to not call people out on their behaviour because they’re nice. Kindness on the other hand is active, conscious and deliberate, it’s about holding yourself and others accountable, showing compassion and taking action.”
3. Daniel Smith, Believed to Be the Last Child of Enslaved People, Dies at 90 by the Equal Justice Initiative
File this one under “it wasn’t that long ago”. Some people have a vested interest in ignoring the history of enslavement. That’s not good enough, and it must be considered because WE ARE STILL LIVING WITH THE CONSEQUENCES. (Yes, the caps are deliberate.). This article shows how close to that history we still are.
“Mr. Smith’s story is “a reminder that slavery was not that long ago,” Ms. Butler told the Post. “You talk about the transatlantic slave trade, you talk about Reconstruction, and people really think that it’s history,” something that happened in the distant past with little relevance today.”
4. Black Women Leaders Are More Ambitious But Less Supported At Work, McKinsey And Lean In Study Finds by Dana Brownlee
Another day, another report telling us what we already know about how Black people are treated in the workplace. Dana Brownlee covers the data, but tellingly says:
“The truth is that we don’t need another report detailing what we already know. Workplace experience and professional success in many ways remain stubbornly tethered to both gender and race leaving Black women relegated to the bottom of the corporate caste system.”
5. Anti-Racism: Why Your DEI Agenda Will Never Be A Success Without It by Carmen Morris
I may well have shared this before, but it came to my attention again recently, and I thought it was worth sharing with those who haven’t seen it. In part, that’s because I also believe that anti-racism has to be the foundation of equality - it’s why our anti-racism policy was the first one we created at Diverse Leaders Group. Here’s what Carmen Morris says:
“Racism, based as it is upon color, identity, and homogeneous dominance, is integral to the systemically driven processes that support reinforced cultural, organizational, and managerial aspects of marginalization.”
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6. Being Pro-Black Is Hard. When You're Black. by Shereen Daniels
The title of this article blew me away with the force of its truth. Because as a Black woman posting about anti-racism on LinkedIn, and seeing other Black women doing the same, I know that this is our experience: that we will be gaslit, suppressed and silenced. And this happens in the workplace, too, as Shereen highlights:
“We punish Black people in the world of work for seeking to favour their own, even if it is only to improve the conditions of colleagues who are most impacted by racism and discrimination. By marginalisation, bullying, and harassment. By intimidation and retaliation.”
7. Racism Is Not Just an American Problem by Robert Livingston
Ok, if you’re reading this newsletter, this probably isn’t news to you, since I tend to highlight experiences of racism from around the world. But I’m interested in this series by Robert Livingston which promises to dig deeper. Here’s his introduction to the first article. I’m already looking forward to part two:
“This month’s newsletter attempts to describe nuances in the manifestation of racism around the world—keeping in mind that what I’m describing are subtle variations on a common theme. In other words, international racism shares far more similarities than differences.”
8. Netflix's VP of inclusion strategy by Verna Myers
Related to my earlier point, here’s an article by Verna Myers (the aforenamed VP of inclusion strategy at Netflix) about how they are specifically using anti-racist language, and why. The quote is from the deck head:
“Companies are using words like "diversity" and "inclusion" without putting in the work, she says, as marginalized groups have "bent over backward to take care of white people's feelings as a way of surviving beside them."”
9. 15 African Female Historians Shaping Our Understanding of Africa’s Past by Immaculata Abba
I went to see The Woman King earlier this month. I’m a huge Viola Davis fan, and I love seeing powerful women. I was bothered by some of the white centring in it, but that’s not unexpected in Hollywood. What bothered me more is that I couldn’t always tell what was historically accurate (which is something I’d know for the places I’ve lived in), so this article was the result of my search to find the histories of African countries told by African historians. I think that’s important: not just telling the stories, but WHO is telling the stories. As the intro to the piece says:
“Studying African history comes with challenges of representation, both in knowledge and ways of thinking, with most professional historians of Africa being either white, male or both. Reading the work of an African female historian always becomes a watershed moment, illuminating the world with greater nuance. African women in the field deserve to be widely read and celebrated.”
10. We need more 'trauma-free Blackness.' Here's a start by John Blake
I’ve often talked about the importance of Black joy and the need to avoid being always steeped in trauma. This link was shared by one of my subscribers (thank you, JF) and I thought it deserved a wider audience.
“There are vast regions of Black life that have nothing to do with suffering or oppression. We lead lives that are also filled with joy, romance, laughter and astonishing beauty, but those stories don't tend to grab the headlines. It's time to change that.”
Bonus: Are You Anti-Racist by Ashani Mfuko
Ashani is worth following everywhere - and if you have the funds to join her community, please do. This video is just one example of her excellent work.
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Doing the Work
You can also join me and Lea Jovy-Ford in the Anti-Racist Leaders Association (you’ll need to join our Mighty Networks community first) for weekly discussion prompts to help you learn and grow.
Well, that’s it for this month. I’d love to hear what resonates with you most. And if you’re new, remember you can catch up on past reading lists in the archive.
Thanks for reading,
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2022. All Rights Reserved.
I am an anti-racism writer, educator and activist, Co-Founder of Diverse Leaders Group, the author of “I’m Tired of Racism”, and co-host of The Introvert Sisters podcast. If you value my perspective, please consider upgrading to a paid subscription.