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Anti-Racism Reading List September 2022
10 intriguing articles worth discussing and sharing
I didn’t know it when I started collecting these pieces, but there are a couple of common threads: persistent inequities, interrogating the systems that support them, and unmasking a few more systems where the Global Majority lose out to the dominating culture. (Not my phrase, but it says what it is, don’t you think?) Have a read…
1. Making Noise About “Quiet Quitting” by Lisa Hurley
I wanted to write about this, but Lisa did it first, and said most of the things I wanted to say in her inimitable style. This quote highlights one of the key issues for Black and Global Majority people - that were we to quietly quit, we’d be stigmatised.
“The truth is that for a lot of Black people, “quiet quitting” is not an option. Epigenetics is a real phenomenon, and the overseer gene is still strong in certain people. 👀 #IYKYK. We are always being watched. We are always being whipped into producing more, while others coast on by and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Black folks tend to be simultaneously invisible and hyper-visible; ignored and over-surveilled; last hired and first fired.”
2. Why I Have Given Up On Friendship With White Women? by Rebecca Stevens A.
Some of you might find this hard to read, but it’s nonetheless worth it. Two truths can exist at once: I have white women friends AND I know white women who have been racist and harmful towards me. This article is about Rebecca’s experiences with that second kind.
“White women pass judgment on me before even knowing who I am. For them, my only objective in life is to steal their partner. I am the jezebel, the hyper sexual, sexually insatiable Black woman. In their minds, I could be nothing else.”
3. Here's Why We're Tired of White Folks Playing Dumb About Racism by Allison Gaines
Black people are tired, y’all - tired of a lot of things. And one of those things is the white people who are in denial about aspects of racism. It’s way past time to end the denial and move to action, as this article points out.
“Simply put, the idea of "teaching" White people gives them the space to grow, which leads to progress. But there's a downside as well — it also gives them the space to embrace denialism. It's time for us to do a cost-benefit analysis of this strategy because too many White people keep embracing selective ignorance.”
4. The Violence of Academia’s “White Voice” by an anonymous author
Some time in 2020, I started following the #BlackInTheIvory hashtag on Twitter, which highlights experiences of racism in academia. It was eye-opening even for me as a former academic. So, I was intrigued to read this account of the use of the “white voice” as a kind of academic codeswitching, and the cost to the person who uses it.
“It is a voice that does not quite take a side, it just looks around — sees both sides — and asks a question (a question tempered from deep within the heat of my skin) that might sway the interlocutor in a certain direction, without ever losing the intonation that assures them, “yes, we are all unaffected by this.””
5. No, you are not ‘over-indexing on Black’ by Amira Barger
As the impetus for more diversity and belonging seems to wane, Amira Barger urges us to reconsider our thought processes:
“The idea of “over-indexing Black” is a relic and direct consequence of the systemic racism and exclusion that are at the core of U.S. culture, which was built on the backs of Black Americans but continues to disenfranchise us at every opportunity.
We need a slight reframe applied to our thinking — one that centers those experiencing a multitude of harms and exclusion brought on by the perceptions applied to their being and identities.”
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6. White People: I Don’t Want You To Understand Me Better, I Want You To Understand Yourselves by Ijeoma Uluo
File this one under oldies but goodies. It came to my attention again this year, and I was struck again by the many truths it contains. See what resonates with you most.
“Why do I know white culture so well? Because I’m a black woman. And while I, and just about any person of color who has spent their lives in a white supremacist society, know enough about white culture to write a book or two on whiteness and option the bestseller movie rights, y’all know almost nothing about us and even less about yourselves.”
7. Hiring a DEI Consultant? Here’s How to Avoid Exacerbating Inequity in the Process by Aparna Rae and Kendall Guthrie
It’s an awful irony that DEI consultants, especially the Global Majority ones, are often discriminated against in the RFP process, and they often lose out to white led firms with deep pockets. Here, the authors offer an alternative to this inequity.
“After losing the contract, you sometimes learn through your network that the organization shared your creative ideas or training materials with the firm they did hire; it is often a larger firm with whom they had pre-existing relationships. The firm is often larger, white-dominant or white-led — because “it felt like a better culture fit” or “they would need less time to get up to speed.” In some cases, the organization that drew you into the long RFP process ghosts, never even offers a reply.”
8. We Need to Retire the Term “Microaggressions” by Ruchika Tulshyan
While I know the origin of the term “microaggressions”, I’ve long been unhappy by the subtle suggestion that those forms of racism are somehow lesser. They aren’t, as this author points out.
“The term microaggression doesn’t fully capture the actions’ emotional and material effects or how they impact women and people of color’s career progressions. In fact, researchers found that experiencing what we know as microaggressions can be just as harmful, if not more, than more overt forms of racism.”
Note: if you have trouble accessing the article above on HBR, Julie Kratz uses it as the jumping off point for this article which covers the same ground: Microaggressions: Is the Term Inclusive or Outdated?
9. It Shouldn’t Take 500 Years to Say, “I’m Sorry” by Marley K.
Reparations and apologies seem like the kind of thing everyone could get behind, but yet, not everyone does. And it’s long overdue, as Marley K points out.
“Black Americans have spent the last 145 years, since the end of the Reconstruction Era back in 1877, experiencing a slow, cold, methodical, and calculated silent genocide. It’s so normalized, so quiet, and so American even Black people don’t realize they are constantly under the gun. Black Americans have learned to live enduring this quiet, slow genocide under duress.”
10. Autistic While Black in the UK: Masking, Codeswitching, and Other (Non)fictions by Tré Ventour-Griffiths
Be warned; this is a long read, and it’s all about intersectionality. Autism in Black people is something I’ve been looking into recently, and this article combines research and personal experiences to share some of what it’s like - and how autism in Black people can be misread by society and authority figures.
“So, autistic while Black, you may see how masking is necessary to survive in this world. And growing up in Britain, I find myself having to learn the codes of both white and Black neurotypicals which are very different.
Yet, ultimately, failing at both.”
Finally, here are a couple of resources you might find useful.
First, Joe Cardillo is maintaining an open source list of Anti-Racism Communities, Memberships, Groups, and Forums.
Second, here’s a guide to responding to microaggressions from Women in Engineering.
Which articles resonated with you this month? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
If you’re a new subscriber this month, you can catch up on past reading lists here.
P.S. Diverse Leaders Group is running an IndieGoGo campaign to support the work Lea Jovy-Ford and I are doing with would-be allies, advocates and accomplices in anti-racism. Please check it out here, and share with anyone who might be willing to contribute. Thank you!
Thanks for reading,
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2022. All Rights Reserved.
I am an anti-racism writer, educator and activist, Head of Anti-Racism at Diverse Leaders Group, and co-host of The Introvert Sisters podcast. If you value my perspective, please consider upgrading to a paid subscription.