by Pat McNees. Updated 8-30-2020.
Hit the "refresh" buttom (on my computer a backward-circling arrow symbol) to get updated page.
There has not been a better time for book clubs and classes and families to read books about racism and anti-racism. One book club notice came to me with the headline "Donald Trump brandishes a Bible, and 10 books about race see a surge in sales." (*** below indicates one of the titles that saw the surge.) Maybe this time there will be real change.
Following is a list of recommended books for adults, followed by links to booklists for children and by articles, video, and websites about racism and anti-racism. Asterisks indicate books that had a recent surge in sales (indeed, often made the New York Times bestseller). Let me know if important items are missing or if you disagree with anything listed--and if so, tell me why. ~ Pat McNees
You can buy books from Bookshop or Indie Bound (paths to independent bookstores) or from any of these (AALBC) or these black-owned bookstores (LitHub, 6-3-2020). I've provided Amazon links because they are so helpful and because I get a small commission for Amazon sales from these links. In June 2020 there's a delay in shipping books because this topic has become so hot!
• Black bookstores are overwhelmed by orders for anti-racism titles (Karen Ho, Quartz, 6-23-2020)
• Reading as resistance? The rise of the anti-racist book list (NBC News) Ibram X. Kendi's "How to Be An Antiracist," Ijeoma Oluo's "So You Want to Talk About Race" and other anti-racist texts are selling out at major bookstores.
• People Are Marching Against Racism. They’re Also Reading About It. (Elizabeth A. Harris, NY Times, 6-5-2020) Books on the subject have soared up best-seller lists as protests continue across the country.
• An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. Indigenous peoples from the North Pole to the South, have been here since before the world was known as round. Our past of colonialism and genocide stripped them of natural rights.
• A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn. "Howard Zinn's work literally changed the conscience of a generation." ~Noam Chomsky
• ***Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (a long letter to his son)
• Black Boy by Richard Wright. Wright's account of growing up black in the South in the 1910s and 1920s is as compelling today as it was when it came out.
• Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment by Patricia Hill Collins
• Black Stats: African Americans by the Numbers in the Twenty-first Century by Monique W. Morris
• Chokehold: Policing Black Men by Paul Butler
• Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King
• Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America's Heartland by Jonathan M. Metzl
• Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision by Barbara Ransby
• Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight
• Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon
• Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. “Thanks to Ms. Gyasi’s instinctive storytelling gifts, the book leaves the reader with a visceral understanding of both the savage realities of slavery and the emotional damage that is handed down, over the centuries. . ." ~ NY Times
• Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall. Calls out privilege.
• How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America by Moustafa Bayoum
• ***How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. "As a society, we need to start treating antiracism as action, not emotion—and Kendi is helping us do that.”—Ijeoma Olu
• I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
• Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs
• Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color by Andrea Ritchie
• Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
• Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin (2003) by John D'Emilio. An outwardly gay black man before that was common, he helped organize the first Freedom Rides, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and a boycott of segregated New York City public schools, and he introduced Gandhian tactics of nonviolent protest to Dr. King, says novelist Gabriel Bump.
• ***Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad
• No Ashes in the Fire by Darnell L. Moore
• Overturning Brown: The Segregationist Legacy of the Modern School Choice Movement by Steve Suitts. See Jo Freeman's review.
• Please Stop Helping Us by Jason L. Riley. Subtitled "How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed."
• Raising Our Hands: How White Women Can Stop Avoiding Hard Conversations, Start Accepting Responsibility, and Find Our Place on the New Frontlines by Jenna Arnold
• Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock
• Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde
• Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A. Blackmon. A Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the “Age of Neoslavery,” the American period following the Emancipation Proclamation in which convicts, mostly black men, were “leased” through forced labor camps operated by state and federal governments.
• ***So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
• ***Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi. A National Book Award winner.
• ***Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. "More than merely a young reader's adaptation of Kendi's landmark work, Stamped does a remarkable job of tying together disparate threads while briskly moving through its historical narrative."―Bookpage
• Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson, author of Death in Black and White (NY Times, 7-7-16)
• The Autobiography of Malcolm X As Told to Alex Haley
• The Blacker the Berry by Wallace Thurman
• The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
• The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein. How segregated public housing, racial zoning, the destruction of integrated neighborhoods became the foundation of the racial unrest facing black neighborhoods.
• The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother ***
• The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale. The problem is not overpolicing, it is policing itself.
• The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
• The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (an award-winning novel). “Though Thomas’s story is heartbreakingly topical, its greatest strength is in its authentic depiction of a teenage girl, her loving family, and her attempts to reconcile what she knows to be true about their lives with the way those lives are depicted—and completely undervalued—by society at large.”~ Publishers Weekly. You can also watch the film on Amazon Prime.
• The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter. Explores the social construct of whiteness as a sign of power, control, wealth, beauty, and dominance.
• The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano by Olaudah Equiano
• The Invention of the White Race: Racial Oppression and Social Control (vol. 1 of 2) by Theodore W. Allen and The Invention of the White Race: The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America (vol. 2) Allen’s provocative thesis: that the ‘white race’ was a category constructed to suppress class conflict.
• Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
• The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. "Among today’s born-again bestsellers, at least one is universally acknowledged to have had profound influence." ~ Mark Whitaker
• The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century by Grace Lee Boggs
• The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics***
• The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
• They Can't Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America's Racial Justice Movement by Wesley Lowery
• They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South by Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers
• The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom
• This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa
• To Be a Slave by Julius Lester. The cruelty of slavery, as told by the slaves themselves.
• Unexampled Courage: The Blinding of Sgt. Isaac Woodard and the Awakening of President Harry S. Truman and Judge J. Waties Waring by Richard Gerg. "A revealing window into both the hideous racial violence and humiliation of segregation . . . and the heroic origin of the legal crusade to destroy Jim Crow....Would that Chief Justice John Roberts and his fellow conservative justices might read this riveting legal history and rethink the decision in Shelby v. Holder of 2013, which eviscerated federal oversight of voting rights in the Deep South. But while we wait for that unlikelihood, we should remember that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 passed because of the history Gergel recounts."
• When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America by Ira Katznelson. How New Deal legislation in the 1930s created programs that became economic bedrock for millions of White Americans but excluded maids or farmworkers, including millions of Black Americans, from having access to social programs that set the minimum wage, regulated work hours, and created labor unions and Social Security, says poet Clint Smith.
• Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do by Claude M. Steele
• ***White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo. "Whiteness rests upon a foundational premise: The definition of whites as the norm or standard for human, and people of color as a deviation from that norm." "It is white people's responsibility to be less fragile; people of color don't need to twist themselves into knots trying to navigate us as painlessly as possible." It's the fastest-selling book in Beacon's 166-year history. But see What’s Missing from “White Fragility” (Lauren Michele Jackson, Slate, 9-4-19) "Robin DiAngelo’s idea changed how white progressives talk about themselves—and little else." And, writes Carlos Lozada (Washington Post, 6-18-2020), "Even as it introduces a memorable concept, 'White Fragility' presents oversimplified arguments that are self-fulfilling, even self-serving. The book flattens people of any ancestry into two-dimensional beings fitting predetermined narratives. And reading DiAngelo offers little insight into how a national reckoning such as the one we’re experiencing today could have come about." Or as Cedrick-Michael Simmons puts it (The Bellows, 6-22-2020), DiAngelo, a diversity trainer, "views racism as a problem to be combated with sensitivity training," adding "If I were an employer, why wouldn’t I want to hire a specialist to train workers to believe that their own identities and unconscious biases are the main sources of inequality, instead of exploitative workplace practices?" The book "offers nothing to address the structures undergirding systemic racism within political and economic institutions or the dramatic decline in state funding for social programs in recent decades."
• The city of Seattle is making white employees do insane "internalized racial superiority" training (YouTube)
• How White Women Can Be Better Black Lives Matter Allies (Jennifer Palmieri, Vanity Fair, 6-16-2020) Forget posting a black square to Instagram—white women must acknowledge that they, too, have benefited from the white male patriarchy, and that racism is entwined in their historic push for equal rights.
• White Rage by Carol Anderson. "An unflinching look at America's long history of structural and institutionalized racism."
• Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum (get updated edition)
A few books on big tech's role in perpetuating systems of oppression (H/T Sarah Sophie Flicker, Alyssa Klein, whose "Save the Tears" reading list listed below contains a sidebar on three of these books)
• Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya Noble
• Rage Inside the Machine: The Prejudice of Algorithms, and How to Stop the Internet Making Bigots of Us All by Robert Elliott Smith. "Incomprehensibly complex data driven systems are not easily corrected, and can make major mistakes.”
• Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech by Sara Wachter-Boettcher. “Recommended for all readers interested in the intersection of technology and social justice.” ~ Library Journal
• Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O'Neil
• You can order books through any of these black-owned independent bookstores.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." ~ George Santayana
Recommended reading lists on anti-racism:
• The black women who launched the original anti-racist reading list (Ashley Dennis, Washington Post, 6-18-2020) In the 1940s, Charlemae Rollins, the children's librarian at the George Cleveland Hall Branch of the Chicago Public Library, and Augusta Baker, the children's librarian at the 135th Street Branch of the New York Public Library, began recommending books that presented "an unbiased, accurate, well-rounded picture of Negro life in all parts of the world." Rollins encouraged Pulitzer Prize winner Gwendolyn Brooks to write poetry for children and advised Langston Hughes on "The First Book of Negroes." Rollins said "the crowning delight of [her] whole career" was Ezra Jack Keats's "The Snowy Day." Rollins and Baker also discredited classics such as "The Story of Little Black Sambo" and "persuaded at least one publishing company to cease its publication. books that depicted black life truthfully, called out books that contained stereotypes and established criteria for evaluating children's books about black people."
• Amplifying Black Writers: Our reading list (Sharmaine Lovegrove, @dialoguebooks, May 2020)
• Antiracism Resources (GoodGoodGood, "Not all news is cynicism and flames.") Adapted from the antiracism resources Google Doc compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker & Alyssa Klein.
• Antiracism resources (The Septima Project)
• An Antiracist Reading List (New York Times, 5-29-19) Ibram X. Kendi on books to help America transcend its racist heritage.
• Anti-Racist Resource Guide (Victoria Alexander, Google doc.) Includes articles and books to read; TV shows and movies to watch; videos to watch; podcasts to listen to; children's books to read; resources on various aspects of policing; organizations to connect with and stay informed; black businesses to support; how to find protests and rallies; where to donate, sign petitions, contact reps; black trans lives matter; prepare for election day this November.
• Black Lives Matter! A Reading List for Change (Papercuts, Bookshop, Boston.com
• *** Books about race and racism are dominating bestseller lists (Stephanie Merry and Ron Charles, Washington Post, 6-4-2020) The books asterisked above were on a list of audiobook bestsellers from Libro.fm, an audiobook seller many indie bookstores use. "On the biggest sales day in the company's history...every title on its top 10 list addressed race and racism."
• ‘Every Work of American Literature Is About Race’: Writers on How We Got Here (NY Times, 6-30-2020) Amid the most profound social upheaval since the 1960s, several novelists, historians, poets, comedians and activists recommend books that illuminate a long struggle for social justice.
• For publishers, books on race and racism have been a surprising success (Mark Whitaker, WashingtonPost, 6-12-2020)
• Save the Tears: White Woman's Guide compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein.
• 17 Books On Race Every White Person Needs To Read (Sadie Trombetta and K.W. Colyard, Bustle, 5-29-2020)
• Several Antiracist Books Are Selling Out. Here's What Else Black Booksellers and Publishers Say You Should Read (Suyin Haynes, Time, 6-2-2020)
• This List of Books, Films and Podcasts About Racism Is a Start, Not a Panacea (Isabella Rosario, Code Switch, NPR, 6-6-2020)
• 21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge (syllabus of the American Bar Association)
• What to read, listen to and watch to learn about institutional racism (Isabella Isaacs-Thomas, Nation, PBS News Hour, 6-5-2020)
"Prejudice, not being founded on reason, cannot be removed by argument." ~ Samuel Johnson
• Books for and about children of color (Writers and Editors round-up of recommendations)
• Black Voices: Pushing for Change in Children’s Book Publishing (Vimeo webinar, 75 minutes, Authors Guild, 6-22-2020) From agenting to editing, from sales to marketing, less than five percent of publishing professionals are Black, according to the results of the most recent Lee & Low diversity graphic on Black representation in the publishing industry. How does institutional exclusion and racism impact the success of books by Black authors and the trajectory of Black creators? In this panel, industry experts offer insights, share experiences and concerns, and suggest ways to create change. Participants: Cheryl Davis (AG), Kelly Starling Lyons, Judy Allen Dodson, Vanessa Lloyd-Sgambati, Christopher Myers, Cheryl Wills Hudson, Wade Hudson, Queressa Robinson, Jalissa Marcelle Corrie. Worth a listen for the big picture.
• Centering Black Authors, Part 2 (7-20-2020) Video accessible to AG members only explores the journeys of Black authors and illustrators. What are institutional barriers to success? How can the industry disrupt racism and support Black creators? How can Black creators advocate and advance? Followed by part 3.
• Vanesse Lloyd-Sgambati on the African American Children’s Book Fair African American Literature Book Club (AALBC)
• A Children's Booklist for Anti-racist Activism (Embrace Race) 31 Children's books to support conversations on race, racism and resistance
• Anti-Racist Resources for Children, Families, and Educators (Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, KidLit Rally 4 Black Lives, Brownbookshelf, 6-4-2020)
• Teacher’s Reading List of Antiracist Books for Kids Goes Viral (Melissa Locker, Time, 6-5-2020)
• Coretta Scott King Book Award Winners (recommendations by age group)
• 8 tips for choosing “good” picture books featuring diverse, BIPOC characters (Dr. Krista Aronson, Anne Sibley O'Brien and Dr. Andrea Breau of Diverse BookFinder, Embrace Race)
• Top 154 Recommended African-American Children’s Books (African American Literature Book Club)
• Black Books Matter: Children's Books Celebrating Black Boys (the conscious kid)
• Black Boy Joy: 30 Picture Books Featuring Black Male Protagonists (Read Brightly)
• Young, Black and Lit
• The Brown Bookshelf is designed to push awareness of the myriad Black voices writing for young readers. Our flagship initiative is 28 Days Later, a month-long showcase of the best in Picture Books, Middle Grade, and Young Adult novels written and illustrated by Black creators. See also Generations Book Club: Life Lessons
"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced."
"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor" ~ Desmond Tutu
"It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have."
~ James Baldwin
TALKING ABOUT RACE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
• Talking Race With Young Children (20-minutes, National Public Radio, 4-26-19) Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president for Social Impact at Sesame Workshop, and Beverly Daniel Tatum, author of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race.
• Your Kids Aren't Too Young to Talk About Race: Resource Roundup (Katrina Michie, Pretty Good Design) Excellent links to resources for parents.
•; Talking About Race (National Museum of African American History & Culture) Wonderful exhibits; helpful website. "The first step they suggest is to consider personal reflections on race."
• The '3.5% rule': How a small minority can change the world (David Robson, BBC, 5-13-19) "Nonviolent protests are twice as likely to succeed as armed conflicts – and those engaging a threshold of 3.5% of the population have never failed to bring about change."
• Toni Morrison’s 1993 interview about Jazz with Charlie Rose (YouTube video, and it's about more than that novel).
• Showing Up for Social Justice (Political education toolkits and other resources)
• Social Justice Resources: “They’re Not Too Young to Talk about Race” (Children's Community School) Resources from around the Internet. ) "They're not too young to talk about race."
• Becoming a Parent in the Age of Black Lives Matter by Clint Smith (The Atlantic, 6-1-2020) Listen also to The Fragility of Progress: Clint Smith and Robert Reich Beyond Silence and Inaction. (YouTube video, 6-16-2020) Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich sits down with writer, author, and poet Clint Smith, who puts the ongoing protests against centuries of systemic racism and police killings into historical context. They discuss America's failure to reckon with our history of slavery and how this movement for Black lives — and the emergent demands — must finally force it to do so. They also explore how racism continues to permeate our rigged system, from the modern segregation of housing and education to the institutions of prisons and police that have always existed to terrorize Black people.
• Black Life Matters: Anti-Racism Resources for Social Workers and Therapists (Social Work. Career, June 2020) Interesting graphic, with arrow moving from Fear Zone, through Learning Zone, to Growth Zone.
LEARNING ABOUT BLACK HISTORY
• Teaching Your Child About Black History (PBS for Parents)
• ***The 1619 Project (an important New York Times series by Nikole Hannah-Jones, 8-14-19) In August of 1619, a ship carrying more than 20 enslaved Africans landed in the English colony of Virginia, where the Africans were sold to the colonists. No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the years of slavery that followed. On the 400th anniversary of this fateful moment, it is time to tell our story truthfully. This series aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative. Important for classrooms and as background for any discussions of race in America. Follow-up story by the author: What Is Owed (New York Times Magazine, 6-24-2020). She won the Pulitzer on commentary for her Times essay about black Americans and democracy (8-14-19).
• Why We Need an Antiracist Education System ( Rachael Rifkin, The Progressive, 9-18-2020) In the wake of Black Lives Matter protests this summer, there’s a growing movement for antiracist education across all subjects—especially history.“Activism and advocacy can look so many different ways, the issue is that people are not doing it as much as they could. They’re just accepting any old curriculum from publishing companies,” says Muhammad. “The goal is to interrupt these things so they’re more excellent.”
• Descendants (WashPost series, 2-25-2020) For Americans descended from enslaved Africans, the roots of their ancestry are often a mystery. Family trees go dark after five or six generations, a reminder that 150 years ago, black people weren’t considered people. Genealogists refer to this as “the brick wall,” an obstruction in African American lineage that dates to 1870 when the federal Census began recording African descendants — 250 years after they were first hauled in chains to what would become the United States.
• GirlTrek's Black History Boot Camp Get outside and walk 30 minutes, listening to this podcast--here: Audre Lord, "who argued that our very survival is political - that we were never meant to survive." As you walk, meditate on her idea of "radical self-care."
• Understanding racism and inequality in America (excellent Washington Post series, 6-8-2020) Stories, videos, photo essays, audio and graphics on black history, progress, inequality and injustice.
• ‘What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?’: Descendants Read Frederick Douglass' 'Fourth Of July' Speech (video, NPR, 7-3-2020)
• History of Juneteenth (National Registry of Juneteenth Organizations and Supporters)
• The Truth About the Confederacy in the United States (video of one of the best speeches ever) Jeffery Robinson, the ACLU’s top racial justice expert, discusses the dark history of Confederate symbols across the country and outlines what we can do to learn from our past and combat systemic racism. https://youtu.be/QOPGpE-sXh0.
• The Flag and the Fury (Shima Oliaee, RadioLab, 7-12-2020) For 126 years, Mississippi has had the Confederate battle flag on their state flag, and they were the last state in the nation where that emblem remained “officially” flying. Listen to this story about how that flag came down--a story involving a clash of histories, designs, families, and even cheerleading.
• Human Zoos: America's Forgotten History of Scientific Racism (YouTube video, Discovery Science) Human Zoos tells the shocking story of how thousands of indigenous peoples were put on public display in America in the early decades of the twentieth century. Darwin was worried by the misuse of his theories of evolution for racism.
• The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre: Research reveals long-term financial fallout (Clark Merrefield, Journalist’s Resource, 6-18-2020) In 1921 a white mob destroyed an affluent Black community known as Black Wall Street. "They estimate direct property damage from the massacre north of $200 million in today’s dollars; they associate the massacre with stifling black innovation; and they show that challenges persist when it comes to reconciling the past with the economic imperatives of today," he writes. Merrefield highlights three peer-reviewed studies on the long-term economic effects of the Tulsa Race Massacre.
• A life stolen: The Joseph Hardy story (Allison Peacock , Family Scrybe, 7-2-2020) John Hardy was seven years old when he witnessed his uncle kill a prominent white plantation owner in self-defense in 1925 Louisiana. This is a chilling story about the kind of radical bigotry black families in Louisiana still endured every day in the 1920s, more than 50 years after the end of slavery. Decades later, as the last family member with firsthand knowledge, he was interviewed to memorialize his account.
• Unequal Impact: The Deep Links Between Racism and Climate Change (Beth Gardiner interview with activist Elizabeth Yeampierre, co-chair of the Climate Justice Alliance, on Yale Environment 360, 6-9-2020) "Climate change is the result of a legacy of extraction, of colonialism, of slavery....I think about people who got the worst food, the worst health care, the worst treatment, and then when freed, were given lands that were eventually surrounded by things like petrochemical industries. The idea of killing black people or indigenous people, all of that has a long, long history that is centered on capitalism and the extraction of our land and our labor in this country."
• A Time for Burning (1966 documentary, YouTube, 56 minutes. Read the Revisiting “A Time for Burning” and the Spiritual Crisis of Racism (Richard Brody, New Yorker, 7-15-2020) In William Jersey’s 1966 documentary about the efforts of a Lutheran minister to break the racial barrier, church is “a hospital for sinners,” a place where the scourge of white supremacism must be addressed.
• ‘The Condition of Black Life Is One of Mourning’ (Claudia Rankine, On Racial Violence, NY Times Magazine, 6-22-15) "In 1955, when Emmett Till’s mutilated and bloated body was recovered from the Tallahatchie River and placed for burial in a nailed-shut pine box, his mother, Mamie Till Mobley, demanded his body be transported from Mississippi, where Till had been visiting relatives, to his home in Chicago. Once the Chicago funeral home received the body, she made a decision that would create a new pathway for how to think about a lynched body. She requested an open coffin and allowed photographs to be taken and published of her dead son’s disfigured body. Mobley’s refusal to keep private grief private allowed a body that meant nothing to the criminal-justice system to stand as evidence." Rankine wrote this essay after the Charleston church massacre.
• Know your history: Understanding racism in the US (A'Lelia Bundles, AlJazeera, 8-15-15) "And then you might understand how the death of Michael Brown became a tipping point in the US."
• Why we need Black filmmakers to tell the story of 2020 (Stanley Nelson, Los Angeles Times, 7-12-2020) Nelson is the founder of the Firelight Media Documentary Lab, which mentors and supports filmmakers of color. Racism isn't getting worse, it's just getting filmed"~ Will Smith
• See America’s First Memorial to its 4,400 Lynching Victims (Becky Little, History.com, 4-20-18) A new memorial and museum in Montgomery, Alabama, challenges the nation to acknowledge its crimes. The National Memorial for Peace and Justice is an outdoor structure that includes 800 monuments, each representing a U.S. county where lynchings occurred and listing the names of people killed in that county.
• An open letter from American military veterans in support of Colin Kaepernick (Rhiannon Walker, The Undefeated, 9-2-16) There are veterans who not only agree with Kaepernick’s right to protest, but also with how he did it (taking a knee). "Kaepernick has been sitting during the singing of The Star Spangled Banner the entire preseason, although it was only noticed last Friday when he was dressed to play. What he said: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.” Trump criticized him for taking the knee and Kaepernick was frozen out of football by NFL teams. U.S. Army veteran Richard Allen Smith says "politicians and corporations often use the military and its servicemen and women for promotion. That leaves some veterans, like Smith, feeling like props for people who haven’t made the sacrifice, but want to cloak themselves in their credibility." Scroll forward to June 1, 2020: What Do You Think of Colin Kaepernick Now? (Sports Illustrated, 6-1-2020) "It shouldn't have taken this, but a weekend of violence has forced a new perspective on his peaceful protest of four years ago. Now: Imagine if he first knelt today, after George Floyd's killing by a police officer. And try to imagine what happens next."
• 'I Can Breathe Now': After Days of Nationwide Protests, George Floyd Is Eulogized (Listen to Al Sharpton's powerful eulogy, NPR, WAMU-FM, 6-4-2020). Here's transcript (Thanks, Rev.com)
• Aviation history is full of black pilot heroes, if only we would tell their stories (Craig Marckwardt, Dallas News, 6-13-2020) No need to rewrite history, we only need to bring more stories to light.
BLACK LIVES MATTER
• #BlackLivesMatter Want to do something about it? See Current protests in your area, Petitions that need signatures (Disclaimer: Do not donate after signing a Change.org petition. It doesn't go to the creator of the petition, only the website itself.")
• Call It What It Is: Anti-Blackness (kihana miraya ross, NY Times, 6-4-2020)
• Silence Is Not an Option (Jack Lemon, CNN) CNN's new podcast is "going to dig deep into the reality of being Black and Brown in America, and explore what you can do to help find a path forward. We’ll have tough conversations with activists, artists, and thinkers about our nation’s deep racial divide."
• Call It What It Is: Anti-Blackness (kihana miraya ross, NY Times, 6-4-2020)
• Washington's new Black Lives Matter street mural is captured in satellite image (CNN, 6-6-2020) A wonderful in-your-face image leading up to the White House. H/T DC Mayor Muriel Bowser.
• A Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Explains Why This Time Is Different (Isaac Chotiner, New Yorker, 6-3-2020) "People are absolutely lifting up names like Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, but I think they are very clearly in the streets for themselves and their family members because they don’t know who is next, and they are also concerned about the economic realities that they are faced with....And people understand that this system is filled with all sorts of inequality and injustice, and that implicit bias and just outright racism is embedded in the way that policing is done in this nation—and when you think about it historically, it was founded as a slave patrol."
• An interview with the Founders of Black Lives Matter (TEDWomen 2016) Mia Birdsong interviews founders of the Black Lives Matter movement Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi.
• #PublishingPaidMe and a Day of Action Reveal an Industry Reckoning (Concepción de León and Elizabeth A. Harris, NY Times, 6-8-2020) A viral hashtag encouraged black and nonblack book authors to compare their pay. Publishers pledged to improve their diversity efforts. Here's Grace Fong’s Google spread sheet listing advances of 1200 authors. See also Black authors knew they were being paid less. This hashtag revealed how large the gap really is (Joshua Barajas and Jeffrey Brown, Arts blog, PBS News Hour, 6-11-2020) A thoughtful follow-up column in response to the #PublishingPaidMe conversation.
• Angela Davis on Abolition, Calls to Defund Police, Toppled Racist Statues & Voting in 2020 Election (Democracy Now, 6-12-2020)
• A Guide to Allyship: Black Lives Matter & Why “All Cops are Bastards” (Grassroots Law Project: Justice for George Floyd) H/T Kim Mee Joo
• Why ‘All Lives Matter’ Is Such a Perilous Phrase (Daniel Victor, NY Times, 7-16-16) and Why You Need to Stop Saying "All Lives Matter" (Rachel Elizabeth Cargle, Harper's Bazaar, 4-16-19) Stating that black lives matter doesn’t insinuate that other lives don’t.
• Where is the outrage for Breonna Taylor? (Renee Nishawn Scott, Medium, 5-30-2020)
• Is This the Beginning of the End of American Racism? (Ibram X. Kendi, The Atlantic, Sept 2020) Donald Trump has revealed the depths of the country’s prejudice—and has inadvertently forced a reckoning. "The United States has often been called a land of contradictions, and to be sure, its failings sit alongside some notable achievements—a New Deal for many Americans in the 1930s, the defeat of fascism abroad in the 1940s. But on racial matters, the U.S. could just as accurately be described as a land in denial. It has been a massacring nation that said it cherished life, a slaveholding nation that claimed it valued liberty, a hierarchal nation that declared it valued equality, a disenfranchising nation that branded itself a democracy, a segregated nation that styled itself separate but equal, an excluding nation that boasted of opportunity for all. A nation is what it does, not what it originally claimed it would be. Often, a nation is precisely what it denies itself to be."
• Spell Black with a Capital “B” (Ann Price, Insight Center for Community Economic Development, on Medium, 10-1-19) Perhaps the most controversial writing practice is capitalizing Black and leaving white lowercase, a practice that the Insight Center also embraces. Capitalizing Black is about claiming power.
DIVERSITY AND ANTI-RACISM RESOURCES
• Anti-Racism Resources (Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein in May 2020). Excellent links to resources, including books and articles, podcasts, films and TV series, and organizations to follow on social media. H/T Cheryl Svensson's son.
• I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free (Cameron Awkward-Rich, Paris Review, 6-11-2020) "Whether a stretched-out moment of insisting that black trans life matters will, in the end, matter....In the meanwhile, the Okra Project has begun and funded an enormously ambitious project to connect struggling black trans people with life-sustaining care."
• A Class Divided (YouTube, video, a 1985 episode of the PBS series Frontline). Directed by William Peters, the episode profiles the Iowa schoolteacher Jane Elliott and her class of third graders, who took part in a class exercise about discrimination and prejudice in 1970 and reunited in the present day to recall the experience. (H/T Cheryl Svensson)
• PEN America’s Guide for Combating Protest Disinformation (PEN America Tip Sheet, 6-5-2020)
• Black Scientists Face a Big Disadvantage in Winning NIH Grants, Study Finds (Nell Gluckman, Chronicle of Higher Education, 6-3-2020) "When the NIH receives grant applications, they’re read and scored by reviewers on five criteria: significance, innovation, approach, environment, and how well suited the investigators are to the project.... black applicants are more likely to propose studying health disparities, which are less likely to be funded by the agency....often propose topics such as how environmental factors contribute to health risks in black communities...Black Americans have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic." These problems don't score highly, aren't funded, and the problems persist.
• Finding diverse sources for science stories (Christina Selby, The Open Notebook) Recognizing biases and tracking source diversity. Includes a case study from one newsroom already tracking sources, databases to find diverse sources, a host of Twitter accounts and lists to help get you acquainted, affinity groups and field-specific resources, and much more.
• Diverse voices in science writing Includes resources for finding experts in underrepresented and minority groups.
• The Black American Amputation Epidemic (Lizzie Presser, ProPublica, 5-19-2020) By one measure, diabetic amputations are the most preventable surgery in the country. "But black patients were losing limbs at triple the rate of others. The doctor put up billboards in the Mississippi Delta. Amputation Prevention Institute, they read. He could save their limbs, if it wasn’t too late." Underlying message of this investigative story: the importance of policies to support access to clinically appropriate PAD screening and treatment for America’s most at-risk patient populations. < br />• The Coronavirus Was an Emergency Until Trump Found Out Who Was Dying (Adam Serwer, The Atlantic, 5-8-2020) "America's Racial Contract Is Killing Us." The pandemic has exposed the bitter terms of our racial contract, which deems certain lives of greater value than others.
• Black Lives Matter: A playlist of powerful StoryCorps interviews (Dave Isay, TED blog, 8-26-15)
POLICING, POLICE BRUTALITY, AND RACISM
• What the George Floyd Protests Reveal About Policing in the U.S. (Brittany Knotts, Adam Waller, and Meghna Chakrabarti, On Point, WBUR, 6-2-2020) With excellent links to related news stories and opinion pieces, including these:
---There’s One Big Reason Why Police Brutality Is So Common in the US. And That’s The Police Unions. (Melissa Segura, Buzzfeed, 6-1-2020) Police unions have become increasingly rightwing as a backlash to the Obama administration and Black Lives Matter — and that’s bad news for the cities they police.
---Before George Floyd’s Death, Minneapolis Police Failed to Adopt Reforms, Remove Bad Officers (Jamiles Lartey and Simone Weichselbaum, The Marshall Project, 6-1-2020) The department allows officers to use choke holds barred in other cities.
---The sisters had always been inseparable. Then, in a matter of minutes, Breonna Taylor was gone. (Caitlin Gibson. WaPo, 8-8-2020) For Ju’Niyah Palmer, the police killing of Breonna Taylor in their shared apartment was not only a public outrage but a personal tragedy.
---Protesters Dispersed With Tear Gas So Trump Could Pose at Church (Katie Rogers, NY Times, 6-1-2020) “He did not pray,” said Mariann E. Budde, the Episcopal bishop of Washington. “He did not mention George Floyd, he did not mention the agony of people who have been subjected to this kind of horrific expression of racism and white supremacy for hundreds of years.”
--- As rage over killings of black Americans sweeps nation, DOJ has all but abandoned broad police investigations" (Casey Tolan and Ashley Fantz, CNN, 6-1-2020)— "During the Obama administration, high-profile police shootings of black men like Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Laquan McDonald in Chicago helped spark sweeping federal investigations and reforms of biased policing practices."
---Mapping US police killings of Black Americans (Mohammed Haddad, Al Jazeera, 5-31-2020) "Between 2013 and 2019, police in the United States killed 7,666 people, according to data compiled by Mapping Police Violence, a research and advocacy group. On May 25, 2020 at 9:25pm (02:25 GMT, May 26), George Floyd, a 46-year-old resident of Minnesota, became yet another victim of police brutality as he was killed in police custody while unarmed."
• How to Actually Fix America’s Police (Seth W. Stoughton, Jeffrey J. Noble, and Geoffrey P. Alpert, The Atlantic, 6-3-2020) Elected officials need to do more than throw good reform dollars at bad agencies. At the federal level, Congress should focus on three objectives: Modify or eliminate qualified immunity, pass legislation to further encourage better data collection about what police do and how they do it, and dedicate significantly more resources to supporting police training, local policy initiatives, and administrative reviews. See also:The Police Can Still Choose Nonviolence (David A. Graham, The Atlantic, 5-31-2020) The use of force by police can’t pacify protests responding to the use of force by police.
• Racial Justice, Policing, and Protest (Annual Reviews) Serious discussions of topics such as How Subtle Bias Infects the Law and Police Are Our Government: Politics, Political Science, and the Policing of Race–Class Subjugated Communities.
• A Moral Blind Spot (PDF, Phi Kappa Phi) Nature essayist Kathleen Dean Moore reﬂects on our frequent refusal to see what’s ethically inconvenient.
RESOURCES FOR or ABOUT WHITE PEOPLE
• ‘Mom, Why Don’t You Have Any Black Friends?’ (Michelle Silverthorn, Forge/Medium, 6-1-2020) Before you talk to your kids about race, answer this question.
• Nice White Parents (NY Times, 7-30-2020) This new podcast from Serial Productions, a New York Times Company, is about the 60-year relationship between white parents and the public school down the block. Read the comments. See The Reading List Behind ‘Nice White Parents’.See also “Nice White Parents,” “Fiasco,” and America’s Public-School Problem (Sarah Larson, New Yorker, 8-31-2020) Two new podcasts aim to upend listeners’ understanding of school reform and desegregation. ' At one point, Joffe-Walt notes that her goal is to forge a “shared sense of reality” to counterbalance the innocence, or the naïveté, among white parents that she believes stands in the way of progress. Together, these two podcasts offer ample evidence of that reality, for those who choose to listen.'
• Answering White People’s Most Commonly Asked Questions about the Black Lives Matter Movement (Courtney Martin, The Bold Italic, 6-1-2020)
• 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice (Corinne Shutack, Medium, 8-13-17)
• Writing with an anti-racist lens (Lila Tublin, Big Duck, 7-7-2020)
• Ways to Take Action: Reading Lists, Articles, and Online Content (Portland Institute for Contemporary Art)
• Truth and Reconciliation (Liz Cox, 5-minute YouTube video, 9-11-2020) Clips from the last 4 years of her many protest videos. The fast paced interview ties her filming to growing up in Birmingham, becoming an activist, and wanting a just and safe planet for the next generations.
• Five Racist Anti-Racism Responses “Good” White Women Give to Viral Posts (KatyKatiKate, 5-26-2020)
• Do You Know About Your Hidden Bias? The IAT Can Help. (Quality Interactions, Conversations in Cultural Competency, 2-21-18)
• Seeing White (Scene On Radio, a 14-part documentary series, released in February-August 2017) Just what is going on with white people? Police shootings of unarmed African Americans. Acts of domestic terrorism by white supremacists. The renewed embrace of raw, undisguised white-identity politics. Unending racial inequity in schools, housing, criminal justice, and hiring. Some of this feels new, but in truth it’s an old story. Why? Where did the notion of “whiteness” come from? What does it mean? What is whiteness for? Host/producer John Biewen took a deep dive into these questions, along with an array of leading scholars and regular guest Dr. Chenjerai Kumanyika.
• Black Man Gets KKK Members To Disavow By Befriending Them (Elyse Wanshel, Black Voices, Huffpost, 12-22-16) “How can you hate me if you don’t even know me?” Daryl Davis asks in the new documentary Accidental Courtesy.
• Resources for White People to Learn and Talk About Race and Racism (Nicola Carpenter, Fractured Atlas, 5-17-18) See also Working Apart So We Can Work Together (Courtney Harge, Fractured Atlas, 10-27-17) As part of their commitment to anti-racism and anti-oppression, Fractured Atlas has been hosting race-based caucuses since late 2016.
• Listen to Eula Biss,Talking About Whiteness (On Being with Krista Tippett, 6-11-2020) 'You can’t think about something if you can’t talk about it, says Eula Biss. The writer helpfully opens up lived words and ideas like complacence, guilt, and opportunity hoarding for an urgent reckoning with whiteness. This conversation was inspired by her 2015 essay in The New York Times, White Debt (12-2-15)"Reckoning with what is owed — and what can never be repaid — for racial privilege."
• 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge (Food Solutions New England) and 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge (Michigan League for Public Policy) adapted from Food Solutions version to highlight racial inequity and Michigan policy priorities.
• The Privilege of Rage (Tangerine Jones, Rage Baking, 2-14-2020) She started posting publicly on her Facebook page about her Rage baking (#ragebaking) and encouraged others to join her in rage baking as a way to cope, connect and channel their fury into meaningful connection and community. Then two white women began marketing a cookbook that “encourages women to use sugar and sass as a way to defend, resist, and protest.”
NATIVE AMERICAN AND IMMIGRANTS’ LIVES MATTER
• The Police Are Killing One Group at a Staggering Rate, and Nobody Is Talking About It (Zak Cheney Rice, Mic.com, 2-5-15) From 1999 to 2013, Native Americans were killed by law enforcement at nearly identical rates as black Americans.
• The Private Georgia Immigration-Detention Facility at the Center of a Whistle-Blower’s Complaint (Jonathan Blitzer, New Yorker, 9-19-2020) "Roughly seventy per cent of all immigration jails in this country are run by private corporations. In these instances, ICE contracts with an individual county to house detainees, and hires a private company to run the facility.... Not only are these private facilities much harder to regulate or monitor than government-run facilities but the principle of their operation calls on them to maximize profits, usually at the expense of the people they’re detaining....Of all the immigrants who pass through the facility, seventy-five per cent are deported upon release. So the incentives to provide good medical care are virtually nonexistent."
• The Importance of Asian Americans? It’s Not What You Think: Future Directions in the Racial Justice Movement (ChangeLab. Download the PDF) "And they call this a riot? Nah, I call it a uprising."
• Deep Water: An Encounter with Whiteness (Deepa Iyer, Medium, 10-30-18) See also her Solidarity Is This podcast, about different aspects of the effects of white supremacist culture (brief descriptions of all podcasts and links to a relevant syllabus). See also From Silos to Solidarity: Learning from 2017’s Resistance Movements (Deepa Iyer, Medium, 12-31-17)
• Seeing White podcast sesries (Scene on Radio, host John Biewen) Just what is going on with white people? Police shootings of unarmed African Americans. Acts of domestic terrorism by white supremacists. The renewed embrace of raw, undisguised white-identity politics. Unending racial inequity in schools, housing, criminal justice, and hiring. Some of this feels new, but in truth it’s an old story.
• Tribal Equity Toolkit 2.0: Tribal Resolutions and Codes to Support Two-Spirit and LGBT Justice in Indian Country (2013)
• My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant (Jose Antonio Vargas, NY Times Magazine, 6-22-2011)
• The danger of a single story (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, TED Talk, YouTube video, 10-7-09) The novelist tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.
• The BIPOC Project A Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Movement. “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”~ Audre Lorde
• Where Did BIPOC Come From? (Sandra E. Garcia, NY Times, 6-17-2020) The acronym, which stands for "black, indigenous and people of color", is suddenly everywhere. Is it doing its job? (But the Times capitalized "indigenous"while lower-casing "black". These decisions sometimes seem capricious.)
• Drop the Hyphen in Asian American (Conscious Style Guide) On the historical divisiveness of an unnecessary punctuation mark.
• Young Asians and Latinos push their parents to acknowledge racism amid protests (Sydney Trent, Washington Post, 6-22-2020) The children and grandchildren of immigrants have joined the Black Lives Matter movement, but they often have to explain to their parents why change is necessary. “I think what you are seeing is a decades-long transformation....We have arrived at a real cultural shift,” said Jose Antonio Vargas, founder of Define American, an immigration advocacy organization, and a former Washington Post reporter. While the dynamics between black and white Americans get most of the media attention, Vargas said, the makeup of this
Thanks to Betsy Hague, Cheryl Svensson, Kim Mee Joo, Jack El-Hai, Abigail Rasminsky, Kristie Miller, Guided Autobiography Group, Lynne Lamberg, Flora Morris Brown, and many others for suggestions.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world: Indeed it's the only thing that ever has." ~ Margaret Mead
"We must be the change we wish to see in the world." ~ Mahatma Gandhi