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My Fav Anti-racism Resources for Accountability and Self-Awareness




Here I am in my favorite coffee shop a mile or so away from San Quentin rehabilitation center where in the 1960s had a huge white supremacist group. Still remembering racist things my recently passed Grandmother sometimes said that always took me by surprise. Most of my closest friends are white, especially since I moved to Marin County and despite not being in a top socio-economic group, I realize the immense privilege I experience day-to-day and acknowledge how I benefit from the current structures of oppression.


Or as Sterling O'Grady says,

"White people are taught that people of color are disadvantaged. They are not taught to recognize that they have white privilege. Nor are they taught that it’s unconscious privilege that keeps racism going. As long as we are unconscious,

we are not accountable. We continue to be perpetrators."


Like most important things, the more I learn the more I realize I have to unlearn. In a time when critical race theory has been banned in many schools and reparations legislation continues to be blocked, educating ourselves becomes more important than ever.


Unlearning whiteness and its influence on me is a lifelong journey and my responsibility, not out of shame, but care.


In observance of Juneteenth, I wanted to share some of the resources that have been valuable to me. I hope that these resources are seen as a heartfelt offering as I continue on the path of dismantling my own white supremacy, rather than a virtue signal or trying to look good. Though I acknowledge the strangeness of this day with so many inequities still existing.


Author and anti-racist educator Britt Hawthorne--the bolded text are her words--has a few key points about this important day in United States history: 


1. The Emancipation Proclamation did not "free the slaves" as it only applied to states that had succeeded from the Union.

2. The 13th Amendment only partially abolished slavery as it still allowed slavery in cases of punishment of crime and created a system resembling slavery through convict leasing and chain gangs.

3. Black people freed themselves through escape, rebellion, economic disruption. 

4. Black people are still owed acknowledgement, compensation, restitution, and rehabilitation.



 

I used to be angry about people who didn't care as much as I did, now it's more of a gentle current that moves through me reminding me of my values and to continue exploring power personally and collectively. Anti-racism feels more integrated into my identity rather than righteous and finger pointing and a way to make others wrong. I am less attached now to doing things the "right way" and looking good and more concerned with separating out my own relational trauma from the larger systems of oppression.



No matter where you are on your anti-racism journey, here are my favorites to encourage accountability and self-awareness:


Group Education

Perhaps the most impactful part of my anti-racism education was a few years of classes I took with the UNTraining, an online and IRL group started by a white man and black woman to create an all-white space for cultivating self-awareness. I found the classes to have a better container than some therapy groups I have been in and appreciate the group work immensely.


Articles


Books

  • Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals by Alexis Pauline Gumbs

    • This is one of my favorite books of all time, it's poetic, poignant, and potent. I'm not even sure how to describe the subtle power of reading this book.

  • My Grandmother's Hands by Resmaa Menakem

  • Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria by Beverly Daniel Tatum

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