Readings on Anti-Racism

The resources are practically endless, and you should do your own research, find your own Black activists and white anti-racist organizers to follow on your social media, and never stop learning and having the hard conversations with an open heart. Here’s just a sample of recent articles that have been impactful to me.

I expect this list will continue to grow over time.

But also remember….
The False Promise of Anti-racism Books, by Saida Grundy
Raising awareness about racism is not a means in itself of correcting injustice. And while the crafters of anti-racist reading lists are mostly making an earnest effort to educate people, literature and dialogue cannot supplant restorative social policies and laws, organizational change, and structural redress.

What White People Can Do

First and foremost, read and listen more than you talk, and especially don’t give people of color any suggestions, advice or instructions on what they should be doing. That’s why, as a white woman, I’m talking specifically to my white neighbors and countrymen right now.

Dear White People, This is What We Want You to Do, by Kandise Le Blanc
Dos and Don’ts for white people from a Black woman’s perspective.

5 Ways White People Can Take Action in Response to White and State-Sanctioned Violence, from Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), an organization with chapters across the country that are helping white people understand their role in historic and present inequities, and how to fight for racial justice without silencing marginalized people.

some other great round-ups of resources:

Critical race theory is a lens. Here are 11 ways looking through it might refine your understanding of history, by Eliott C. McLaughlin
The driving forces of history — be they racism, sexism, classism or the like — need to be discussed in classrooms, where scholars can rigorously suss out fact and fiction. In reconsidering the role of race and racism in American history, that’s what students of critical race theory aim to do.

THE GAME IS CHANGING FOR HISTORIANS OF BLACK AMERICA, By William Sturkey: For centuries, stories of Black communities from the past have been limited by racism in the historical record. Now we can finally follow the trails they left behind.

This is simply a gold-mine:
21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge by Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr.
Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started. The good news is, there’s an abundance of resources (readings! podcasts! video! music! actions to take it to the next level!) just waiting to empower you to be a more effective player in the quest for equity and justice.

A Timeline of Events That Led to the 2020 ‘Fed Up’-rising, by Michael Harriot
Without the proper context, it is impossible to understand the mushroom cloud of uprisings that are exploding across the country in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others.

National Museum of African American History and Culture DIGITAL RESOURCES GUIDE
Explore, learn and engage through numerous digital resources.

Support the Fight Against Inequality: Resources and Ways to Act, by Destiny Kanno
How can you support your Black colleagues and friends? How can you support this movement? Understand that this movement is not history, nor will it soon be over. We need to fight for equality until life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are available for all.

Anti-Racist Resource Guide, by Victoria Alexander
This document was created to be used as a resource for anyone looking to broaden their understanding of anti-racism and get involved to combat racism, specifically as it relates to anti-Blackness and police violence.

Contemporary White Antiracism from The Cross Cultural Solidarity History Education Project. Organizations, resources, and extensive reading lists!

26 Ways to Be In the Struggle Beyond the Streets

An excellent explanation of who we don’t see, even when we’re looking for it

On Whiteness

My White Friend Asked Me on Facebook to Explain White Privilege. I Decided to Be Honest, by Lori Lakin Hutcherson
“I think the heart of what you’ve asked of your friends of color is extremely important and I think my response needs much more space than as a reply on your feed. I truly thank you for wanting to understand what you are having a hard time understanding. Coincidentally, over the last few days I have been thinking about sharing some of the incidents of prejudice/racism I’ve experienced in my lifetime….”

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, the classic essay by Peggy McIntosh
Presented here with a follow-up by McIntosh, “Some Notes for Facilitators on Presenting My White Privilege Papers”

Outrage Isn’t Allyship, by Holiday Phillips
Many of these actions stem from the very natural reaction you might be having to the fact that we live in a deeply racist world. This guide isn’t meant to make you feel guilty — instead, see it as a way to check yourself and learn how to do better.

White Debt, by Eula Biss
Reckoning with what is owed — and what can never be repaid — for racial privilege.
The word ‘‘privilege,’’ composed of the Latin words for private and law, describes a legal system in which not everyone is equally bound, a system in which the law that makes graffiti a felony does not apply to a white college student.
Eula Biss also appears in an interview on the radio show/podcast On Being with Krista Tippett called Let’s Talk About Whiteness.

The Empathy Crisis of White America, by Phillip Picardi
What we haven’t come to grips with is that racism also looks like us, our families, our friends, and our colleagues. Even with our supposed raising of consciousness, our hearts have yet to catch up to our minds. Everything we’ve been taught is so deeply ingrained not just in how we think — but in how and who we love. This is the crisis of empathy that has plagued white America.

The Price We Have Paid for Not Confronting Racism, by Mitch Landrieu
We will remain trapped in a cycle of anger and hopelessness until more white Americans come to grips with our past. Mitch Landrieu, the mayor of New Orleans from 2010 to 2018, is the author of “In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History.”

On Being Allies

For Our White Friends Desiring to be Allies, by Courtney Ariel
“I am not going to do much coddling here; I don’t know that I believe that love requires coddling. Here are six things you can do to be stronger allies.”

Black People Need Stronger White Allies — Here’s How You Can Be One; Stephanie Long interviews activist Leslie Mac
The recent events have brought allyship to the center of discussion as many white people explore how to be better advocates for the Black community. How can white people approach allyship in a way that’s productive and incites change? What hard truths do they need to sit with? And what self exploration is required before one can begin doing the work? 

Authoritarian State or Inclusive Democracy? 21 Things We Can Do Right Now, by Eric K. Ward
From my work with Western States Center and Southern Poverty Law Center, responding to the rise of white nationalism and a far-right authoritarian state … this is what I can point towards, 21 things those committed to inclusive democracy can do right now.

Performative Allyship Is Deadly (Here’s What to Do Instead), by Holiday Phillips
Activism can’t begin and end with a hashtag.

Reading “Anti-Racist” Books Won’t Help You (if): the necessity of self-awareness to guide your efforts towards allyship, by Carroll Von
“In order for non-violence to work, your opponent must have a conscious.” — Kwame Ture

How to support NYC’s black-owned restaurants and businesses, by Melkorka Licea
The movement to support black businesses — which has gained serious momentum in major cities across the country — has folks compiling resources like spreadsheets, Twitter threads and Instagram posts to direct New York consumers to order from, and educate themselves about, black-owned businesses.

10 Ways You Can Support The Black Lives Matter Movement In NYC Right Now, by Claire Leaden
Despite the title, this list includes lots of things you can do if you’re outside of NYC, too!

some particular topics that I find very enlightening.

On Rioting and Looting

The Double Standard of the American Riot, by Kellie Carter Jackson
“The philosophy of force and violence to obtain freedom has long been employed by white people and explicitly denied to black Americans.”

How Violent Protests Change Politics, by Isaac Chotiner
How do you advance racial equality, and capture the attention of often indifferent or hostile white moderates…? … it isn’t just nonviolence that is effective, but nonviolence met with state and vigilante brutality that is effective.

Why People Loot, by Olga Khazan
On who looters are, what they want, and why some protests are more likely to include them. As Christian Davenport, a political-science professor at the University of Michigan, put it to me, “the best way to prevent looting is to provide individuals with a living wage, provide for their basic needs, treat them with human dignity, and facilitate a life that is about thriving.”

The Psychology of Rioting: The Language of the Unheard, by Dr. Joe Pierre
Denouncing symptoms of disease without treating the root cause is bad medicine.

On Segregation and Red-Lining

A ‘Forgotten History’ Of How The U.S. Government Segregated America, with Terry Gross
The Federal Housing Administration furthered segregation efforts by refusing to insure mortgages in and near African-American neighborhoods — a policy known as “redlining.” At the same time, the FHA was subsidizing builders who were mass-producing entire subdivisions for whites — with the requirement that none of the homes be sold to African-Americans.

Historian Says Don’t ‘Sanitize’ How Our Government Created Ghettos, with Terry Gross
“It was not the unintended effect of benign policies,” he says. “It was an explicit, racially purposeful policy that was pursued at all levels of government, and that’s the reason we have these ghettos today and we are reaping the fruits of those policies.”

Where Banks Don’t Lend, by Linda Lutton; Andrew Fan; Alden Loury
In case you thought redlining was just a historical period that ended…. From 2012 to 2018, lenders invested more money in majority-white Lincoln Park than they did in all of Chicago’s majority-black neighborhoods combined. The same was true for three additional majority-white community areas. 

On Reparations

Reparations for slavery could have reduced Covid-19 transmission and deaths in the US, Harvard study says, CNN; The group of researchers, from Harvard Medical School and the Lancet Commission on Reparations and Redistributive Justice, examined how reparation payments made before the pandemic would have affected Louisiana, a state that remains segregated in parts, and found that the payments could have reduced coronavirus transmission in the state anywhere between 31% to 68%.

The Case for Reparations, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.

Ta-Nehisi Coates Revisits the Case for Reparations, with David Remnick
It’s not often that an article comes along that changes the world, but that’s exactly what happened with Ta-Nehisi Coates, five years ago, when he wrote “The Case for Reparations,” in The Atlantic. Reparations have been discussed since the end of the Civil War — in fact, there is a bill about reparations that’s been sitting in Congress for thirty years — but now reparations for slavery and legalized discrimination are a subject of major discussion among the Democratic Presidential candidates.

Want to Pass Guaranteed Income Policy in the U.S? Start With Black Women, by Jhumpa Bhattacharya
Rooted in racial justice, these innovative programs act as important narrative and policy disruptors around the idea of unrestricted cash benefits by targeting the population that has been harmed most severely by our restrictive, paternalistic and dignity-stripping welfare programs: Black women.