Meet Anti-Racism Writer, Theresa M. Robinson
And learn how she’s using her unapologetic voice to bring about change
One of the great pleasures of the turbulent year that was 2020 was connecting with other Black people fighting anti-Black racism. One of these was Theresa M. Robinson, who electrified my LinkedIn feed with her powerful and uncompromising voice. Her perspectives came to fruition in her recently released book, Blaxhaustion, which I reviewed earlier this week. I am beyond delighted that she allowed me to interview her about her book and her perspectives on racism. Please meet Theresa:
1) What led you to write Blaxhaustion?
It’s revelatory for me to even respond to a question that asks “what led me to write Blaxhaustion” because in many ways I was the one who has been written by and written over by other people for so long.
I’m an avid journal-er and most of what I write is for me, and yet based on a singular “microaggression” event that happened over a year ago, I felt compelled to de-privatize my deepest feelings, my deepest thoughts in a way that was purely honest without worrying about anybody else.
Having been relegated to invisibility and to the margins, I wanted to unapologetically center my experiences and that of other Black women. Once I made the decision to publish this book, the floodgates of 50+ years fully opened up. It’s true what they say. Once you reach a certain age, that “I-don’t-give-a-damn-what-other-people-think” energy kicks in. It’s empowering and quite freeing!
2) What response have you had?
So far, the book has been holding steady despite the raging of whiteness over the book’s title and a bit of trolling on the contents. As of January 8, the book remains a #1 new release in its category on Amazon. I’m very proud of that and remain so grateful to the more than 60 voices of Black women who also lift their voices within the book’s pages.
The response from those who have read the book has been very supportive and largely positive. One of the biggest “shockers” for me and my general manager was when pre-orders ended on December 22, to coincide with the official launch of the book to everybody else. More than 90% of the pre-sales were from those who racially identify as white, not the primary audience for the book! That blew us away! At the same time, another part of me tried to not read too much into it, because as someone close to me reminded us, “You know us Black folks don’t pre-order shit. We wait and buy when it’s actually available.” LOL
3) What are your top three messages you want people to take away from the book, and why are they so important?
Here’s what I want each reader to take away from the book no matter what their racial identity.
1) It’s critical that we honor other people’s experiences, because until we can do that on a massive scale, we will never get close to “achieving” racial equity and justice.
2) Change can happen with the voice of just one person because each voice, like each vote, counts and has the power to make a difference.
3) Listen to Black women! Our leadership and our instincts are spot on. Plus, time and time again, Black women have shown up and fought for ourselves as well as for everyone else. Black women get shit done!
4) In relation to racism, what is your vision for the future?
I am very much a pragmatist and I am also a faith-based believer. Whether one believes that it’s due to inability or unwillingness, the fact remains that humanity still has NOT eradicated racism after all these years.
And in the U.S. specifically, the data from the 2020 presidential election speaks volumes that 70 million people did not feel that white supremacy was a dealbreaker. Make no mistake, white supremacy was on the ballot – literally.
As for the future, we will continue to be engaged in this fight against racism, and though I predict that we will make relative small gains, it’s unlikely that it will ever be “humanly” possible for us to achieve a “racism-free society.” In the book, I reference that no one “human” is coming to save us. So, I’ll just leave it at that.
5) Share one anti-racism article or book you've read written by someone else that resonated with you.
There are so many I could choose, and there are some great ones out there. But I would have to say that Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall strongly resonated with me. Not only did Kendall signal with her title that this would be a no-nonsense account of feminism for Black women and other women of color, but she also underscores that racism has historically belied feminism.
The book rightly identifies feminism as an ideal and a “movement” FOR white women BY white women ABOUT white women, who themselves choose white supremacy over gender equity and equality. I really connected with this book for the ways it honors intersectionalities of gender identity and affirms that the disregard for intersectionality within feminism is a form of racism itself.
Thank you, Theresa. Folks, this is someone you should be following if you want to learn more about how Black women see things. Catch up with Theresa on LinkedIn and Twitter, and learn more about her book, Blaxhaustion, on her website.
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Cover photo courtesy of Canva.
Heads-up: If you want to hear more of my experiences face to face, check out the anti-racism workshop I’m leading on January 23rd.