Monday, June 8, 2020

Anti-racism resources

Please take this in the spirit it's offered. I know many of you are doing your own work to educate yourselves and actively be involved. Some of you I know are out at the daily protests. So maybe much of what I've listed you're already familiar with (sorry for being redundant in my messaging).

The events of the past weeks have helped reinforce something I've known for a while. Structural racism is deeply embedded into the fabric of this country since its founding and we have treated Black folks in reprehensible, oppressive ways since the first slaves arrived over 400 years ago. Systematically disenfranchised. I (as a white person) simply cannot allow it to continue. No longer is it ok for me simply to be "not racist." I need to find ways to be actively antiracist. There really is no qualifying this.

Easy to state ... not easy to accomplish. And no shortcuts. I really like the message I received from an elearning colleague I follow (Dr. Katie Linder) as she pondered the question of what to do. She drew the distinction between antiracist work as a project vs. a life practice. Projects have defined goals, "deliverables," start and end points. Projects end, but a life practice is a commitment. We listen, we learn, we fail, we keep learning, keep incorporating until it becomes part of the very fabric of who we are and how we behave. Not easy. I am honestly daunted by how far I need to go. It feels like I won’t have enough years left in my life to adequately align my knowledge, feelings, and behaviors in consistently antiracist ways. Something Dr. Linder wrote resonated about the difficulty: "...I’m adding anti-racist work more explicitly, alongside a commitment to re-engage in a broad spectrum of social justice efforts. Again, let it not go unnoticed that it is my white privilege that allows this to be a choice for me. Turning away will always be a kind of default option, so I need to make an active choice not to do that." Right now the work feels immediately important, but what about in six months, a year, or five years? Project? Life practice?

So where to start? What do we do?

An obvious one is, as you feel comfortable in our pandemic days, show up at local demonstrations. I know that's not for everyone and no one should feel guilty about not choosing that particular action. Dr. Linder included a list of things she's planning to do, and I think they're a good starting place for me (or anyone), including:
  • reading a lot more broadly to further my own education and training on anti-racist and social justice-related topics
  • donating more consistently to organizations that do powerful social justice work
  • sharing what I’m learning along the way in the communities I have cultivated (such as my social media networks)
  • learning more about how to further embed social justice values and methodologies into my business practices
Educating ourselves - here are books, essays, articles, documentaries and podcasts I highly recommend (I have read, watched, listened to all of these). I have added NEW resources (6/13/20)

How To Be An Antiracist - by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi ... if you pick one book from this list, this one.
Between the World and Me - Ti-Nehisi Coates
Waking Up White - by Debbie Irving
The Warmth of Other Suns - by Isabel Wilkerson
The End of Policing - by Alex Vitale (eBook version is now free)

Articles and essays:
Being Antiracist (from the National Museum of African American History & Culture)
America, This Is Your Chance - by Michelle Alexander, civil rights lawyer and advocate, legal scholar and the author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” (NYT, June 8, 2020) -- lots of great resources linked in her essay
Who Gets to Be Afraid in America? - by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi (Atlantic, May 12, 2020) - dive deeper into more of his essays at his website
The Greatest White Privilege is Life Itself - by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi (Atlantic, Oct 24, 2019)
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack - by Peggy McIntosh
Qualified Immunity Explained (The Appeal, June 20, 1919)
Guidelines for being strong white allies
75 things white people can do for racial justice
NEW: America Begins to See More Clearly Now What Its Black Citizens Always Knew (The National Review, June 11, 2020)
NEW: A Major Obstacle to Police Reform: The Whiteness of Their Union Bosses (The Marshall Project , June 10, 2020)
NEW: Confessions of a Former Bastard Cop - (Medium, June 6, 2020)

Documentaries and video:
13th (directed by Ava DuVernay) - maybe the first thing to do! And if you don't have Netflix, you can watch it for free on YouTube
I Am Not Your Negro (James Baldwin doc) - available on Kanopy
NEW: Police: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) - available on YouTube
NEW: How to Build an Antiracist World (Dr. Ibram X Kendi, TED Talk, 2020)

Seeing White - season 2 (2017) of Scene on Radio from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke Univ
The Land That Never Has Been Yet - season 4 (current) of Scene on Radio
-- both of these series are incredibly well produced and thought provoking ... there's a lot of listening here, but work your way through - definitely worth it!
NEW: Throughline - American Police episode
NEW: On Being with Krista Tippett - Eula Biss - Talking About Whiteness
NEW: Good Ancestor - episode 11: Robin DiAngelo on White Fragility

Consider financially supporting these Portland organizations:

Black Lives Matter Portland /
Don’t Shoot Portland
SURJ PDX (Showing Up for Racial Justice) /
PDX Protest Bail Fund
Coalition of Communities of Color
Black United Fund
The Portland African American Leadership Forum
NAACP of Portland
The Urban League of Portland
The MRG Foundation
NEW: The Black Resilience Fund -

Other resources to check out
Anti-racism Resources for White People - excellent list of what to read, watch, hear ...
The Liberation Library (from Andy Newman, founder of, an esport gamer site)
Prison Abolition and Alternatives to Incarceration Starter Resources
NEW: Resources to Combat Structural Racism in America - Aspen Institute
NEW: Directory of Portland Black-owned Restaurants
NEW: A Criminal Justice Expert's Guide to Donating Effectively Right Now

Hope you find something useful here. Thanks for reading,


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