It doesn’t seem appropriate to tell you about my stuff today. Y’all can find me on my webpage. Instead, I want to amplify and share resources–mostly geared towards non-Black people who want to be anti-racist allies. There are a ton of curated lists out there (several I’ll share below), so I don’t want to do that again. What I can offer here is a collection of tools that I’ve found particularly useful and eye-opening, and suggestions for how to use them. I’m pretty stern in my goal of making people think, even if that means discomfort (and it often does, because that’s where we learn), so I won’t coddle you. I’ll make sure you do something after you post a black square on your Instagram for #blackouttuesday. I’ll also share when I f*ck up. There is always more work to be done. I don’t have all the answers–in fact, usually what I have is more questions–but this is a long battle ahead so we need our support systems. I’ll be dedicating a section of this newsletter going forward specifically to actions and resources, and encourage dialogue. Please share your own toolkit.
This dialogue assumes that the work of dismantling structural racism needs to be done by white people. It is only the people in power who can give the power away. But I am not interested in making this fight about us, white people, and our guilt and being sorry. I am not interested in debating whether or not structural racism exists. I am not interested in “all lives matter.” I am not interested in color-blindness. I am not interested in intention being more important than impact. I am not interested in whataboutism. I am not interested in making Black people explain this to me. I am interested in amplifying BIPOC voices. I am interested in doing work. I am interested in hard conversations. I am interested in moving through together, not covering up or denying. I am interested in holding myself accountable. I am interested in understanding that everyone is at a different place in their own journey but that the fight is bigger than us as individuals.
I am interested in listening to BIPOC, so please read this if nothing else.
What have you been up to and thinking about? Send me a note, or come on over to my Facebook page and share.
This Google doc, “Anti-racism resources for white people,” is probably the list I go back to the most. It includes articles, books, movies/shows, social media accounts, so wherever you are on your journey, there will be something here for you.
This article, “75 Things White People Can Do For Racial Justice,” gives concrete action items for whatever amount of time and energy you have.
If you’re not out in the streets (remember Covid?), here are some alternative actions you can take.
Make it a goal to take recurring action, and check in with yourself in a month, two months, a year, after the headlines have disappeared, to see if you’re still working.
There are both fiction and non-fiction here. For me, fiction lets me into worlds that I wouldn’t normally be able to access. Of course, not in a detachment kind of a way, but in a research and understanding kind of a way. It also makes me reflect on what it would be like to read the usual American literature canon and never see yourself on the pages (I think women have some sense of this, and imagine that amplified).
Make a goal to read one book by a BIPOC author for every white author you read. Share the books you’ve read and what you’ve learned from them on social media. Talk about them with your friends and family. Start a book club.
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, Robin DiAngelo
So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo
The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander
These four books have completely changed my world view. They’re hard, they will make you feel terrible and guilty and shocked, and they will make you do better. You cannot unread them.
Others that have knocked my socks off:
Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Nickel Boys and The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston
Anything by Toni Morrison, Jesmyn Ward, James Baldwin
Good list for more here: https://www.greenapplebooks.com/combat-racism
I’ve scattered some articles in the intro paragraph. These are changing and coming out in a firehose right now, so I would encourage you to make finding and reading articles part of your routine.
Make it a goal to read one longer-form article each week, ideally written by a BIPOC author, from a trustworthy outlet. The Google doc link above has some good places to start. Share the articles you’ve read and what you’ve learned from them on social media. Talk about them with your friends and family.
I’m not providing too many links/ideas because a lot of these are hyper-local and personal. Google can tell you what is available in these categories in your area. Whatever you choose, make it part of your routine, not a one-off.
Support Black-owned local businesses
Support businesses with missions and actions that reflect these values
Find activist organizations to join (such as SURJ)
Vote in local, down-ballot elections (and, yes, for President)