It’s the last newsletter post of the month, which means it must be reading list time. Hope you find this month’s selection informative. Let’s dive in!
1. #BlackLove Feature: Black Breastmilk Fed The Nation by Gabrielle Dawn
Sometimes we forget just how much generational trauma there is in the history of the formerly enslaved. This article reminds us of one aspect of that. It is a gut-wrenching read.
“Can you imagine being forced to feed the seed of your oppressor before your own child? The bone of your bone, and flesh, of your flesh? Listening to your child cry out for you while you are being forced to nurse a child of a person that does not even acknowledge your humanity?”
2. Dear White Women by Devon J. Hall
This is a heartfelt call for white women allies to do the work, and not just cheer Black people on as they (we) confront more racism and trauma. It speaks for itself.
“Our ancestors have been dealing with racism, classism, homophobia, sexual abuse, and trauma for generations before we have books to record the histories.”
3. Why The ‘Calling Out’ Vs. ‘Calling In’ Debate Is A Dangerous Distraction From Actual Anti-Racism Work by Dana Brownlee
Should we call people in on racism, or call them out? There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, as Dana Brownlee points out.
“The inconvenient truth is that while “calling in” is enticingly convenient, it’s simply not sufficient for many situations. The complexities of racism often require “calling out,” and unapologetic “calling out” at that. Those who have the linguistic fortitude to speak out boldly against injustice don’t need sanctimonious judgment. They actually need help focusing on addressing the injustice.”
4. Ode To Ava DuVernay by Rebecca Stevens
I had planned to do an article just like this about Ava DuVernay, but when I saw Rebecca had already written it, I figured I’d just share it instead.
“She tells our stories, she tells Black and African-American stories from our perspective, as raw and painful as they may be. She doesn’t sugarcoat or compromise on the story to accommodate white comfort. She tells the story like it is, even if it generates white discomfort. Her courage is indomitable, it is exemplary.”
5. Americans Love Freedom, Unless It’s for Black Folks by Clay Rivers
The title of this Our Human Family editorial was a gut-punch, such was the ring of truth. And yes, this doesn’t just apply to the USA - as we’ve seen, plenty of Europeans are happy to leave melanated people at the back of the line AND shame us when we call out the hypocrisy, but that’s another story. As always, Clay tells it like it is:
“When Black, Indigenous, or People of Color stand up for their own autonomy or rights, many Americans are quick to exact retribution or look the other way because they can’t identify with “Blacks.” For some reason, they just can’t seem to see Black people as people.”
6. I’m a White Victim of Discrimination by Jeffrey Kass
One of the big gulfs in understanding that happens is when white people who’ve been treated unfairly cry “reverse racism”. Here Jeffrey Kass explains why that’s not a thing, and what it really is.
“Racism is far more than being hateful or prejudiced. Racism involves the unequal distribution of power based on race. Racism is when prejudice is rooted in a power structure that can inhibit more fundamental societal rights, opportunities and access.”
7. Access Limited: A Brief Examination of Black Health History, Modern Systems and Racial Inequalities by Padraic Mc Freen
Medical racism is rife. Black people are often the first to be exploited but the last to benefit from the results of that exploitation (what’s new, you may ask?) Here Padraic Mc Freen outlines some pivotal moments in Black health history.
“A Black medical patient, Mrs. Lacks, is singularly responsible for more than a half a century of medical advancements; however, Black medical patients and other patients of color are routinely last in line to receive the benefits. Though HELA cells are responsible for successful COVID-19 research, Black communities as well as other communities of color have been severely impacted by the pandemic, when compared to other communities.”
8. A WORD! - Celebrating Our Rhetorical Excellence (And Then Some!) by Dr. Sarah L. Webb
Molding the language we were handed by the colonizers into something beautiful, fluid, powerful, and liberating? That’s Black excellence, as Dr Sarah L Webb points out.
“Part of that linguistic legacy is tied to colonial violence that made it necessary for our ancestors to develop their own codes to communicate with each other in front of white folks without white folks knowing what we were talking about. Our own creative codes allowed us to survive. We could insult white folks and they didn’t have a clue—one of the many forms of subversion we used to help us get by. But we also used our own codes to warn each other of danger, alert each other to more favorable opportunities, to coordinate and organize and educate in plain sight.”
9. In Mexico, how erasing Black history fuels anti-Black racism by Marycarmen Lara Villanueva
This was an article I read for my own education, and there are a LOT of further resources linked within it. I encourage you to dive in and learn more about the history and experiences of Black people in Mexico.
“Anti-Black racism in Mexico has been historically perpetuated by the legacies of slavery and the existence of a racist colonial-era racial caste system, and a modern nationalist myth that has associated true Mexicanness with being mestizaje. That means “mixed race,” a racial and cultural mix of Indigenous and Spaniard.”
10. Not Another Race Talk by David McQueen
Here, David McQueen shares how he approaches talking about racism, unpacks some core concepts, and shows how individual acts fit into the wider framework of structural racism.
“Racism is so deeply interwoven into national identity and exceptionalism that challenging the fabric of that causes people to react violently. It is painful for some to reflect and reconcile how complicit they are in upholding racist ideologies and structures. Add to that, then realising it means dismantling your sense of identity.”
BONUS: Finding Our Starting Roles - Illustration by Danielle Coke
Thanks for reading this month’s collection. I’d love to hear what stood out for you.
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2022. All Rights Reserved.