When you’re asking yourself, “What can I DO about racism?”
Does the question, “What can I do about racism?” sound familiar? You may have found yourself asking this question. Maybe you asked it to yourself. Maybe you asked it of an author during the Q&A following a book reading. Perhaps you asked a person of color online.
Well, my friend, you are in the right place. Here is your answer. This is what you can do.
Please be reminded, as Mariame Kaba constantly points out, hope is a discipline. Unlearning white supremacy is a lifelong commitment, not something you master after a month, or a year, or 10,000 hours. You will never not be in recovery. It’s saying no to a substance that not only enhances your life, but diminishes the lives of people around you. If you are reading this and you hold white privilege, you likely don’t see the people whose lives are diminished. If you are a Millennial or Gen X, it’s likely your parents unintentionally chose to raise you in a segregated manner, so you don’t actually see those who are harmed.
You are here, I hope, because you desire to change. First yourself, then your circle. All are welcome, and there is no reward. I will hand out “White Moderate” stickers to the whiners, though.
This is a good starting point for really unpacking white supremacy and critically examining the ways it plays out in our lives. How it protects white people and harms people of color, religious minorities, and others who have been racialized. It is a nonnegotiable in terms of getting started on your path to discovery. If you’d like to do the workbook with an online group, let me know and we’ll work something out.
If you aspire to be a co-conspirator with people of color in pursuit of racial and economic justice, Hope & Hard Pills is the perfect place to jump in. With creativity, bravery, and compassion, Andre Henry’s daily work is a fierce commitment to racial justice and social change. He reminds us daily that it doesn’t have to be this way. Please join his vibrant, diverse community by signing up for his newsletter by clicking “Learn More” below and support his work on Patreon.
Mariame Kaba is an activist and educator whose work focuses on ending violence, dismantling the prison system, and supporting youth. The work she does is practically endless. She has created multiple resources for people to educate themselves on injustice in the prison system. She’s a relentless advocate for black women and girls who have been imprisoned following acts of self-defense. On her website you can find her writing, work, and workshops. You can also follow her on Twitter, @prisonculture
Everyone learns differently, so I will be sharing lots of resources in many formats so that you can find what works best for your learning style.
A discussion of representation of Indigenous people in present day. Matika Wilbur and Dr. Adrienne Keene discuss life, relationships, and power dynamics while living under several centuries of Western and American occupation, as well as the ways dominant culture represents Indigenous voices, culture, and work. I frequently find myself pausing, rewinding, and copying the wisdom Matika and Dr. Keene pass on. Along with their guests, they discuss cultural appropriation, sexuality, art, and how to survive a culture which actively tried (and is trying) to erase you.
Layla Saad discusses the role of ancestorship, how black women and femmes connect to their shared past, and what we are doing to pave the way for the generations that will follow us. I think it’s really important for non-black people and men to listen in to the conversations black cis and trans women are having. As a society, we are unable to escape the conversations of white people, especially white men, and in a society built on exclusion and segregation, turning tables is holy work. Speaking through the lens of the black female/femme experience in a white supremacist era, Saad and her brilliant guests drop gems like they are grains of sand. I listen to every episode multiples times, and I gain new wisdom for how to more safely navigate the world which each listen.
A show discussing all facets of the Native experience in present day America, BDWW has challenged my thinking more than just about any other source of information. Host Gyasi Ross is charismatic, charming, and brilliant, and his cohosts Minty LongEarth and Wesley Roach discuss current events, politics, relationships, power dynamics, and every other topic through the lens of the Indigenous experience. Even though this show isn’t as far left as I am politically, (a fact to which Gyasi will absolutely attest) I appreciate that this isn’t my lane and my pushback is always met with a smile from my favorite friendly giant.
This brilliantly produced show unearths the buried stories from the Civil War — those experienced by Black Americans. Faulkner’s quote “The past is never dead” has rarely rung more true than when listening to Uncivil. There is not much like being able to find new American heroes for whom to cheer. And to hear directly from their descendants is an absolute honor. The show is often gut-wrenching, jaw-dropping, tear-jerking, but in the best way. There is nothing like knowing the names of those on the right side of our collective history, as they were few and far between.
The term “intersectionality” has become such a buzzword in politicized debate that it hardly has any meaning, which I suspect is what those who carelessly toss it around intended. Brilliant professor, lawyer, and activist, Dr. Kimberle Williams Crenshaw, hosts a show which works to put the term — her creation — back into the context in which it was created: explaining the multiple marginalizations black cis and trans women, WoC, and others experience.