assembled by Pat McNees. Updated 7-24-22.
Hit the "refresh" button (on my computer a backward-circling arrow symbol) to get updated version of page.
• Recommended reading about racism and antiracism (books for adults)
• Reading lists on racism and anti-racism
• Anti-racist resources for children, including children's books
• Resources about race and social justice
• Learning about black history
• Black lives matter
• Diversity and anti-racism resources
• Policing, police brutality, and racism
• For and about white people
• Native American and immigrants' lives matters
• Big tech's role in perpetuating systems of oppression"
Let me know if important items are missing or if you disagree with anything listed--and if so, tell me why. ~ Pat McNees
Important books about racism and anti-racismBooks for adults
Asterisks indicate books that had a surge in sales (for example, made the New York Times bestseller list). 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. I get a small commission for Amazon sales from these links, which doesn't increase the cost of the book.
• Students fight back against a book ban that has a Pennsylvania community divided (Evan McMorris-Santoro, Linh Tran, Sahar Akbarzai and Mirna Alsharif, CNN, 9-16-21) Students are protesting a southern Pennsylvania school district's ban of books by black authors--the latest example of panic spreading over how history and race are taught in schools across the US. The all-White school board unanimously banned a list of educational resources that included a children's book about Rosa Parks, Malala Yousafzai's autobiography and CNN's Sesame Street town hall on racism.
• 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.
Recommended reading (books):
• Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man by Henry Louis Gates Jr. See also How Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Helped Remake the Literary Canon (David Remnick, New Yorker, 2-19-22) The scholar has changed the way Black authors get read and the way Black history gets told. As a literary critic, Gates made an impact on the field by helping to establish a canon of African American literature—one that was neither separatist nor a mere appendage to the traditional, white canon. Toward end of long article is his reading list of 10 fiction and 10 nonfiction must-reads.
• 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
• Corregidora and Eva's Man (among other novels) by Gayl Jones. “Corregidora is the most brutally honest and painful revelation of what has occurred, and is occurring, in the souls of Black men and women.” ~ James Baldwin. See She Changed Black Literature Forever. Then She Disappeared. (Imani Perry, NY Times Magazine, 9-17-21) "In search of Gayl Jones, whose new novel breaks 22 years of silence." The new novel: Palmares ("a mesmerizing epic of late seventeenth-century Brazil").
• Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King
• A Different Drummer by William Melvin Kelley. The story of Tucker Caliban, a black Southerner who one day salts his fields, burns down his house, kills his livestock and, with his wife and child, sets off a mass exodus of his mythical state's entire black population. The Lost Giant of American Literature (Kathryn Schulz, New Yorker, 1-29-18) A major black novelist made a remarkable début. How did he disappear?
• 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
• His Name Is George Floyd: One Man's Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice by Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa
• 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
• Jackie Robinson: My Own Story
• 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
• Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet A. Washington. "The infamous Tuskegee experiment, in which black syphilitic men were studied but not treated, was simply the most publicized in a long, and continuing, history of the American medical establishment using African Americans as unwitting or unwilling human guinea pigs... compulsively readable.”~Publishers Weekly
• My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by trauma specialist Resmaa Menakem.His book examines how racial trauma is deeply embedded in the body. Listen to A Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies (Goop podcast, 12-23-2020) With Elise Loehnen he discusses his work as a somatic healer, what he believes will happen nine generations from now, and why it’s not possible to “think” your way out of White supremacy. “To develop an individual response to a communal horror is inadequate,” he says. “Niceness is inadequate.”
• 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. And read this New Yorker story about her A Society of One (2-17-1997).
• 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
• A Promised Land by Barack Obama. Read excerpt from New Yorker. ***
• 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
• Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man by Henry Louis Gates Jr. See also How Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Helped Remake the Literary Canon (David Remnick, New Yorker, 2-19-22) The scholar has changed the way Black authors get read and the way Black history gets told. As a literary critic, Gates made an impact on the field by helping to establish a canon of African American literature—one that was neither separatist nor a mere appendage to the traditional, white canon. Toward end of long article is his reading list of 10 fiction and 10 nonfiction must-reads.
• Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho (book version of Acho's web series opening a dialogue about racism)
• 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."
• Who Gets to Be a Writer? (Claire Grossman, Stephanie Young, & Juliana Spahr, Public Books, 4-15-21) “The notable difference between black excellence and white excellence is white excellence is achieved without having to battle racism.”~Claudia Rankine’s incisive observation about the career of Serena Williams.
• Who Cares about Literary Prizes? (Alexander Manshel, Laura B. McGrath, & J. D. Porter, Public Books, 9-3-19) And who gets to win all the prizes? "Literary prizes perform a winnowing function for contemporary readers, narrowing the hundreds of thousands down to a select stack of six. This necessary reduction may be all the more significant to teachers of contemporary literature who, in place of a more or less stable canon, can draw annually on the prize lists for new and potentially teachable fiction... Since the turn of the 21st century, even as there have been more racially diverse winners, there have also been more white winners."
• American Democracy Is Only 55 Years Old—And Hanging by a Thread (Vann R. Newkirk II, The Atlantic, 2-11-21) Black civil-rights activists—and especially Black women—delivered on the promise of the Founding. Their victories are in peril. This article is part of “Inheritance,” a project about American history, Black life, and the resilience of memory.
• The Experiment, stories/podcasts from an unfinished country. From The Atlantic and WNYC Studios. WNYC.
• 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)
• Why We're Polarized by Ezra Klein. This “superbly researched” book shows us that America’s political system isn’t broken. The truth is scarier: it’s working exactly as designed. journalist Ezra Klein reveals how that system is polarizing us—and how we are polarizing it—with disastrous results.
Big tech's role in perpetuating systems of oppression
• RACISM: Overcoming science’s toxic legacy Nature's special issue, 10-20-22) For centuries, science has built a legacy of excluding people of colour and those from other historically marginalized groups from the scientific enterprise. Institutions and scientists have used research to underpin discriminatory thinking, and have prioritized research outputs that ignore and further disadvantage marginalized people. Nature has played a part in creating this racist legacy. After the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 2020, Nature committed to becoming an agent of change, and helping to end discriminatory practices and systemic racism. This special issue is part of that commitment.
• Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya Noble. (H/T Sarah Sophie Flicker, Alyssa Klein, whose "Save the Tears" reading list listed below contains a sidebar on three of these books)
• 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
Reading lists and resources on racism and 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."
• All In: The Fight for Democracy (video, 1 hr, 42 minutes, Amazon) This documentary delves into the centuries-long construction of voter suppression in the United States through the lens of Stacey Abrams’ 2018 bid for Georgia governor. An insider's look into the barriers to voting.
• ‘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)
• Black Life Matters: Anti-Racism Resources for Social Workers and Therapists This one has a list of live webinars, on-demand webinars, self-care for People of Color, suggested books, articles, videos, TED talks, movies for self-education, tools to speak with your children about racism, and anti-racism resources/guides/toolkits. It also has organizations doing similar work.
"Prejudice, not being founded on reason, cannot be removed by argument." ~ Samuel Johnson
Anti-racist resources for children, including children's books
• 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) Accessible to AG members only. 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) 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
• Books for and about children of color (Writers and Editors blog)
• 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
• Black Creators for Children (Dianne Johnson-Feelings, The Horn Book, 6-11-19)
• Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors (Rudine Sims Bishop, Reading Is Fundamental, 8-17)
• The Brown Bookshelf's Call to Action (Kelly Starling Lyons, The Brown Bookshelf, 8-24-20)
• Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books? (Walter Dean Myers, Opinion, NY Times, 3-16-14) Of 3,200 children’s books published in 2013, just 93 were about black people, according to a study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin.
• Why 'The Talk' about race isn't limited to Black families (NBC News) Cheryl Willis Hudson and Wade Hudson on their latest anthology, "The Talk," which documents real families' discussions about race and identity.
• Our Modern Minstrelsy (Kekla Magoon, The Horn Book, 6-17-20) Can one compare the entire body of children’s literature written by white people about Black people to the paradigm of minstrelsy, or literary blackface? See also
• Minstrelsy Is the New Black (Book Smugglers, 4-17)Fantasy author Zetta Elliott (A Wish After Midnight, Ship of Souls, The Door at the Crossroads) takes on the issue of minstrelsy in kidlit.
• Kwame Alexander on Children’s Books and the Color of Characters (NY Times, 8-28-16)
• The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games by Ebony Elizabeth Thomas (NYU Press)
• The Brown Bookshelf is designed to push awareness of the myriad Black voices writing for young readers. Their 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
Articles, video, speeches, and websites about racism and anti-racism
TALKING ABOUT RACE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
• With Ads, Imagery and Words, Republicans Inject Race Into Campaigns (Jonathan Weisman, NY Times, 10-25-22) Seizing on crime as a leading issue, Republicans have been deploying attack lines and imagery that have injected race into contests across the country. Running ads portraying Black candidates as soft on crime — or as “different” or “dangerous” — Republicans have shed quiet defenses of such tactics for unabashed defiance. Recent ads have prompted Democrats and their allies to accuse Republicans of resorting to racist fear tactics to scare Americans into voting Republican.
• A Reckoning Over Objectivity, Led by Black Journalists (Wesley Lowery, Opinion, NY Timres, 6-23-2020) What’s different, in this moment, is that the editors of our country’s most esteemed outlets no longer hold a monopoly on publishing power. Black journalists are publicly airing years of accumulated grievances, demanding an overdue reckoning for a profession whose mainstream repeatedly brushes off their concerns; in many newsrooms, writers and editors are now also openly pushing for a paradigm shift in how our outlets define their operations and ideals.
• Tom Cotton: Send In the Troops (Tom Cotton, Opinion, NY Times, 6-3-2020) The nation must restore order. The military stands ready. [After publication, this essay met strong criticism from many readers (and many Times colleagues), prompting editors to review the piece and the editing process. Based on that review, we have concluded that the essay fell short of our standards and should not have been published.--Editors' Note, 6-5-2020.}
• Promised land: how South Africa’s black farmers were set up to fail (Eve Fairbanks, The Guardian, 7-5-22) After apartheid, when black people were given back their land, many felt driven to prove they could farm as well as white South Africans. But even before they had begun, the system was stacked against them. As segregation deepened throughout the 20th century, much of the fertile, rain-washed land had been given to white people, while the barren peaks and hot, dry, malaria-ridden lowlands were given to black tribal leaders....The second, crueller problem was that the descendants of those deprived of rural land were also the least likely to have received the kind of education necessary to run a hi-tech farm in a globalised marketplace. Some couldn’t read; many hadn’t finished high school. The end of apartheid opened the cities to black people, but it didn’t create many new roles in them,
• Jury Convicts Arbery Killers of Hate Crimes ( NY Times, 2-22-22) The jurors decided that the three men previously convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery were motivated by racism.The federal convictions ensure that the defendants will receive significant prison time even if their state convictions are overturned or their sentences reduced on appeal. The victory is also important, symbolically and emotionally, for Mr. Arbery’s family, because the event amounted to what the Rev. Al Sharpton called “a lynching in the 21st Century.”
• Meet the Black Women Who turned Georgia Blue (Erin Feher, RepCo, Yep, it was Stacey. But don’t forget about Nsé, Helen, Tamieka, Melanie, LaTosha and Deborah. )
• Heather Cox Richardson on school choice (8-20-21) A concise history of the conflict between support for "school choice" (defunding public schools and providing tax support of private schools, chiefly for white children) vs. the fight for Black Americans to have equal access to education. With links to important articles on the subject.
• 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.
• They Say This Isn’t America. For Most Of Us, It Is. (Kaitlyn Greenidge, Harper's Bazaar, 1-7-2021) This coup deeply echoes the end of Reconstruction, the defining political realignment of our age that the vast majority of us knows nothing about. Whiteness reacts with rage and violence whenever it feels Blackness has encroached on its space.
• Your Kids Aren't Too Young to Talk About Race: Resource Roundup (Katrina Michie, Pretty Good Design) Excellent links to resources for parents.
• When Culture Really Began to Reckon With White Privilege (Salamishah Tillet, NY Times, 12-9-2020) Black artists didn’t wait around for institutional change. They are making it happen.
• 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."
• Living With Karens: The Karen Next Door (Allison P. Davis, The Cut, 12-21-2020) A white woman calls the police on her Black neighbors. Six months later, they still share a property line.
• Surviving a Lynching (video, New Yorker) In the film “Ashes to Ashes,” avid “Star Wars” fan and master leatherwork artist Winfred Rembert connects with his dear friend Shirley Jackson Whitaker, who is on a mission to memorialize the four thousand forgotten African-Americans lynched during the Jim Crow era.
• Dave Chappelle Shares His Thoughts with Dave Letterman (bearded) About George Floyd (on My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, 10-19-2020)
• 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
“The most magnificent drama in the last thousand years of human history is the transportation of ten million human beings out of the dark beauty of their mother continent into the new-found Eldorado of the West. They descended into Hell; and in the third century they arose from the dead, in the finest effort to achieve democracy for the working millions which this world had ever seen. It was a tragedy that beggared the Greek; it was an upheaval of humanity like the Reformation and the French Revolution.” ~ W. E. B. Du Bois capturing the wonder of the Black experience in the New World (H/T Henry Louis Gates Jr.)
• A new look at a Watts uprising report shows what we haven’t learned about racism in America (Andrew Lewis, Los Angeles Times, 7-29-21) "On the evening of Aug. 11, 1965, five days after then-President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, police in Los Angeles pulled over 21-year-old Marquette Frye on suspicion of reckless driving. In the ensuing argument, the white police struck Frye in view of residents, who responded by throwing things at the officers. The confrontation metastasized into six days of civil unrest that left 34 people dead and large swaths of South L.A. in ruins. In response to what happened in Watts and dozens of other disturbances between 1964 and 1967, LBJ formed the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders — popularly known as the Kerner Commission after its chairman, Illinois Gov. Otto Kerner Jr. — to examine what happened and why and to figure out how to prevent it from recurring....
The opening sentence has endured: “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white — separate and unequal.” But the 440-page report is hard to digest; what’s always been missing is a concise version....In a brisk introduction, the pair make the case for the report as a landmark document in American history, placing it alongside the more widely read findings of the Warren and 9/11 commissions. What distinguishes Kerner — and in their minds makes it so important — is that it’s more than a postmortem on a single tragedy like President John F. Kennedy’s assassination or Al Qaeda’s atrocity; it tackles the root causes of a persistent social ill....positioning it as the apex of an evolving racial liberalism that began with Gunnar Myrdal‘s seminal study, “An American Dilemma,” which strongly influenced its thinking. Myrdal brought into the mainstream the idea that the “Negro problem” was really a problem of white racism, while contrasting it with the “American Creed,” a set of values like democracy, opportunity and fairness.
In a broad sense, the civil-rights movement was an attempt to resolve Myrdal’s “dilemma” by highlighting the gap between the creed and racial reality. "The editors make the case that the Kerner report should stand alongside the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the War on Poverty and the Fair Housing Act as “cornerstones” of 1960s liberalism. In many ways, as they note, the last half-century has been a long retreat from those ideas. But their key point is that police abuses like Floyd’s murder are the inevitable result of failing to act on the commission’s recommendations
• 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).
• The HistoryMakers: Documenting untold stories of African American achievement (60 Minutes, 13 min. video, 2-19-23) The achievements of historically significant Black Americans are at risk of going unpreserved, as important figures die without documenting their stories for future generations. 60 MINUTES’ Bill Whitaker explores how one organization is trying to prevent that by creating an expansive digital archive of first-person accounts of the Black experience. An interesting story of how this project came about and what they did differently.
Sign up here as an individual or an institution. The ScienceMakers Digital Archive provides access to over 900 hours of video interviews, including 3,300 influential African Americans across a wide variety of professions, including 211 of the nation’s top African American scientists.
The HistoryMakers Digital Archive provides access to over 10,000 hours of video interviews, r from more than 3,300 influential African Americans across a wide variety of professions.
• Heather Cox Richardson (Letters from an American, 5-2-21) on Republican attitudes toward multiculturalism. 'On Friday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and 36 Republicans sent a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona accusing him of trying to advance a “politicized and divisive agenda” in the teaching of American history. This is a full embrace of the latest Republican attempt to turn teaching history into a culture war....The prime object of Republican anger is the 1619 Project, called out in McConnell’s letter by name. The project launched in the New York Times Magazine in August 2019 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the first landing of 20 to 30 enslaved Africans at the English colony of Virginia....
'The 1619 Project argued that the landing of the Black slaves marked “the country’s very origin” since it “inaugurated a barbaric system of chattel slavery that would last for the next 250 years.” ...The Pulitzer Center, which supports journalism but is not associated with Columbia University’s Pulitzer Prizes, produced a school curriculum based on the 1619 Project; Republican legislators in five states—Arkansas, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, and South Dakota—filed virtually identical bills to cut funding to any school or college that used the material.'
• The painful, cutting and brilliant letters Black people wrote to their former enslavers (Gillian Brockell, Washington Post, 3-13-22) These letters from Black Americans to the people who once controlled their lives show a desire for freedom and a desperate longing to be reunited with their families.
• On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed. “It is staggering that there is no date commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.” ~ Annette Gordon-Reed. See NY Times review by Jennifer Szalai.
• Marcus Garvey: Pan-Africanist (Throughline, excellent 59-minute radio bio, 2-17-22). Marcus Garvey's speeches on Pan-Africanism — the vision of a world where all people of African origin, on every continent, were united, self-sufficient, and proud — made him a powerful Black voice in the 20th century. His steamship company, the Black Star Line, was supposed to take his followers to Africa, where he said they would find true liberation. This episode examines Marcus Garvey's life and legacy, and how he became the towering, often-misunderstood figure that he is. One part of a series.
• Bayard Rustin: The Man Behind the March on Washington (Throughline, NPR, 1-13-22) The man behind the March on Washington was one of the most consequential architects of the civil rights movement you may never have heard of. Rustin imagined how nonviolent civil resistance could be used to dismantle segregation in the U.S. He organized around the idea for years and eventually introduced it to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But his identity as a gay man made him a target, obscured his rightful status and made him feel forced to choose, again and again, which aspect of his identity was most important.
• 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.
• A Poet Reflects On How We Reckon — Or Fail To Reckon — With the Legacy of Slavery (Clint Smith on Fresh Air, 12-28-2020) Atlantic writer Clint Smith grew up surrounded by Confederate iconography, being told that the Civil War wasn't about slavery. He shares a poem from his forthcoming book, How the Word Is Passed.
• 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)
• Tim Scott often talks about his grandfather and cotton. There’s more to that tale. (Glenn Kessler, Fact Checker, Washington Post, 4-23-21) For Scott, the only Black Republican in the Senate, his origin story is "the story of his grandfather, Artis Ware, who left school at an early age to pick cotton and, according to Scott, never learned to read and write....Scott’s family history in South Carolina offers a fascinating window into a little-known aspect of history in the racist South following the Civil War and in the immediate aftermath of slavery — that some enterprising Black families purchased property as a way to avoid sharecropping and achieve a measure of independence from White-dominated society....
"Our research reveals a more complex story than what Scott tells audiences....Scott’s family history in South Carolina offers a fascinating window into a little-known aspect of history in the racist South following the Civil War and in the immediate aftermath of slavery — that some enterprising Black families purchased property as a way to avoid sharecropping and achieve a measure of independence from White-dominated society."
• 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.
• Comrades, We’ve Been Screwed! (Jack El-Hai, Sunday Long Reads, 12-6-2020) In 1932, 22 young Black Americans traveled to the USSR to appear in a movie intended to strike a blow at US white supremacy. The journey would change their lives.
• 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.
• History’s soundtrack: America’s swinging musical diplomacy (Maria Golia, Engelsberg Ideas, 3-11-22) During the Cold War, the US's poor record on civil rights was a useful propaganda point for the Soviet Union. The solution, devised by a jazz-loving congressman, was to send out "jazz ambassadors" like Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong to show that Uncle Sam wasn't so bad. When Ellington played in Moscow in 1971, he was welcomed as "the second coming" by young Russians. H/T The Browser
• ‘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.
• How Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Helped Remake the Literary Canon (David Remnick, Interview, New Yorker, 2-19-22) The scholar has changed the way Black authors get read and the way Black history gets told. "The rise and fall of Reconstruction is the key to understanding how we could have our first Black Presidency and then have it be followed by an alt-right rollback and the clown of clowns, Donald Trump....It never was a cakewalk to the voting booth, of course. With the rise in rights came the rise in white-supremacist terrorist tactics...What those Reconstruction amendments granted was stripped away through sharecropping, vagrancy laws, peonage, and disenfranchisement, which is why what we’re seeing happening in so many Republican legislatures today should terrify anyone who loves the principles upon which our great country was founded....If “the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice,” the arc of the economic universe in America has bent toward inequality. You can’t call the people of West Virginia a bunch of bigoted racists. That just makes them more right-wing. You can’t engage in name calling. You have to speak to their fears.”
• 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."
• 4 ideas to replace traditional police officers (Roge Karma, Vox, 6-24-2020, with links to several stories) "One of the most promising alternatives to a police-centric model of social work is a program called Cahoots, a collaboration between local police and a community service called the White Bird Clinic that operates in Eugene and Springfield, Oregon. In these cities, police officers aren’t dispatched to handle every single 9-11 call. Instead, about 20 percent of calls — often those involving the homeless, addicted, intoxicated, or mentally ill — are routed to a separate team of specialists extensively trained in mental health counseling, social work, and crisis de-escalation.
"Cahoots responders don’t brandish weapons of any kind. They dress in black sweatshirts, listen to their police radios via earbuds, and purposefully speak in calm tones with inviting body language. Their role is closer to that of an EMT for social issues than a traditional police officer: They assess the situation, assist the individual as best they can, and then direct that individual to a higher level of care or service if needed. If the situation escalates, they can also call police in for backup, but that’s rare. In 2019, Cahoots received around 24,000 calls and had to call in police backup less than 1 percent of the time."
• '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.")
• My Mother’s Dreams for Her Son, and All Black Children (Hilton Als, New Yorker, 6-28-2020) She longed for black people in America not to be forever refugees—confined by borders that they did not create and by a penal system that killed them before they died.
• Systemic Racial Bias in the Criminal Justice System Is Not a Myth (Brandon Vaidyanathan, Public Discourse, 6-29-2020) "Writing for Public Discourse, a conservative-leaning publication, Vaidyanathan is rebutting conservative writers who argued there is no such thing as systemic racism. The core point he makes may not shock too many readers of this newspaper, but the way he does it is a glowing example of how to construct an argument. He is calm and methodical. He works up no outrage nor does he spread aspersion. He simply gathers a massive amount of data to carefully describe the contours of systemic racism, while dismantling the studies that supposedly deny it." ~David Brooks, The Sidney Awards (for long-form essays)
• The Spectacular Life of Octavia Butler (E. Alex Jung, Vulture, 11-21-22) The girl who grew up in Pasadena, took the bus, loved her mom, and wrote herself into the world. The first time she remembered someone calling her “ugly” was in the first grade — bullying that continued through her adolescence. “I wanted to disappear,” she said. “Instead, I grew six feet tall.”
• 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."
• 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."
• Heather Cox Richardson on why we have the 14th Amendment "The Fourteenth Amendment provides that "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."...In 1987, President Ronald Reagan nominated Robert Bork, an originalist who had called for the rollback of the Supreme Court’s civil rights decisions, for a seat on that court... While a bipartisan group of senators rejected Bork’s nomination in 1987, in 2021 the Supreme Court is dominated by originalists, and the principles of the Fourteenth Amendment seem terribly current."
• ProPublica on Racial Justice Links to many ProPublica articles, series.
• A Class Divided (YouTube, video, a 1985 episode of the PBS series Frontline). The day after Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed, Jane Elliott, a teacher in a small, all-white Iowa town, divided her third-grade class into blue-eyed and brown-eyed groups and gave them a daring lesson in discrimination. 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 30 years later to recall the experience.
• To understand what is happening with #abortionrights , #Immigration and racism, listen to Jane Elliott. She started it all by telling her third grade students in 1968 that children with a certain color of eyes were inferior to the others. This was her first time using an exercise to show children how easy it is to persuade people to hate. Listen to her talk (parts 1 and 2) and then watch as she conducts the same exercise with adults in a special segment of the Oprah Winfrey show: Jane Elliott's "Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes" Anti-Racism Exercise (video, The Oprah Winfrey Show, 6-5-2020) The studio audience does not know it has walked into an exercise in racism.
• Road to Social Justice: A Candid Conversation With Jane Elliott on Race and Power (YouTube video, 2 hours, 3-19-21, part of a series of online programs provided by the UCLA Alumni Association)
• 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.
• The Black Nerds Redefining the Culture(Adam Bradley, NY Times, 3-24-21) By pushing back against centuries-old stereotypes, a historically overlooked community is claiming space it was long denied. “Illustrating superheroes requires imagination, but drawing a Black nerd merely requires a mirror,” says the Atlanta-based comic book artist Brian Stelfreeze. “I remember organizing Dungeons & Dragons campaigns as if they were late-night Prohibition speakeasies, but now it’s a badge you can wear proudly.”
• 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.
• 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.
• She Warned the Grain Elevator Would Disrupt Sacred Black History. They Deleted Her Findings. (Seth Freed Wessler, ProPublica, 5-20-22) A whistleblower says a plan to build a grain elevator on an old plantation along the Mississippi River in Louisiana would disrupt important historic sites, including possibly unmarked graves of enslaved people, and that her cultural resource management firm tried to bury her findings.
• Black Lives Matter: A playlist of powerful StoryCorps interviews (Dave Isay, TED blog, 8-26-15)
POLICING, POLICE BRUTALITY, AND RACISM
• Telling George Floyd’s story gave us a deeper understanding of racism (Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa, Washington Post, 5-20-22) Two reporters reflect on the pain and hope they encountered as Black men while reporting their new book, His Name Is George Floyd: One Man's Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice. Living our own American journeys as Black men helped us understand Floyd — his insecurities over his size and skin, his nervousness during police encounters, his feeling that, as he once articulated, “people quick to count you out, man, but just so strict on counting you in.” That comment encapsulates the operating principle of systemic racism, which Floyd experienced in housing, education, policing, criminal justice and health care.
• 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 We Save Ourselves (Roxane Gay, Opinion, NY Times, 6-20-20) "A great many things that were supposedly impossible have suddenly become priorities. It’s a bittersweet moment because we always knew change was possible. The world just didn’t want to do the work....I want this time to be different and there are moments when I think it might be."
• You have the right to film police. Here’s how to do it effectively — and safely. (Geoffrey A. Fowler, Washington Post, 4-22-21) Smartphone video was critical in convicting Derek Chauvin of murdering George Floyd. Here are five practical and technical lessons for using your camera to bear witness.
• 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
• The Cost of White Discomfort (Brittany Packnett Cunningham, The Cut, 5-23) "If only white America were as disquieted by the evil on which its comfort is built as it is by our demands to be treated humanely. If only your comfort were not so damn expensive for the rest of us."
"Disabled people are disproportionately likely to be victims of violent crime, and Time reports that studies show people with disabilities or who are experiencing a mental health crisis make up one-third to one-half of total police killings."
• White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack (PDF, Peggy McIntosh, Peace and Freedom, July/August 1989)
• ‘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)
• How ‘Karen’ went from a popular baby name to a stand-in for white entitlement (Robin Queen, The Conversation, 6-12-2020) So how, exactly, does a name like Karen become such a powerful form of social commentary? It’s the repeated use of the name on social media and on the street that reinforced its status.
• 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
• When Tribal Nations Expel Their Black Members (Philip Deloria, New Yorker, 7-25-22. Read or listen.) A complex story from American history well worth reading. 'The Muscogee people, also referred to as Creeks, were among the tribes that once enslaved people of African descent and that were required, in the wake of the Civil War, to accept them as tribal citizens. A tribal-enrollment census around the start of the twentieth century split the Muscogee citizenry into groups that were separate but by no means equal. One roll—the “by blood” roster—listed people of Creek heritage, while a second, “freedmen,” roll named Black Creek citizens, the formerly enslaved and their descendants.'...In the terse summary of Buddy Cox, a twenty-first-century Creek (and the nephew of an influential chief), “We owned some, we were some, and we slept with some.” Black people could be chattel, socially integrated kin, marriage partners, or participants in emerging Native groups such as the Seminole"...in 1979, with the memory of the civil-rights movement still fresh, Indian tribes began to restrict citizenship on the basis of racial difference.... From the book We Refuse to Forget: A True Story of Black Creeks, American Identity, and Power by Caleb Gayle. See We cannot repair what we refuse to remember, Nia Evans' Q&A with Caleb Gayle (Boston Globe, 6-13-22)
• 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