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Anti-Racist Resources (For White People)

Much of my writing, including my forthcoming YA novel, is meant to prompt conversations with white people about race and racism. It is something that many white people are not comfortable talking about or view as a 'taboo topic.' I'm hopeful that I can help generate a discussion amongst white peers that allows us to push through that uncomfortability, recognize our own privilege and strive toward anti-racist practices. As Dr. Beverly Tatum describes it, we as white people are walking the equivalent of a motorized walkway at the airport: to engage in racism (a system of advantage based on race) we need only to allow ourselves to be moved forward on the current path. It does not require malicious thoughts or racial slurs, it only requires the status quo. To be truly anti-racist, to disrupt the status quo, we must actively walk against the current, against the moving walkway. 

If you're interested in taking those steps, I have found the following articles, books, and thinkers to be incredibly helpful in my own journey of understanding my white privilege, and offer them as potential resources below.

 

Definitions

"Racism, defined as a "system of advantage based on race" (see Wellman, 1977), is a pervasive aspect of U.S. socialization. It is virtually impossible to live in U.S. contemporary society and not be exposed to some aspect of the personal, cultural, and/or institutional manifestations of racism in our society. It is also assumed that, as a result, all of us have received some misinformation about those groups disadvantaged by racism." (Beverly Tatum)

"Prejudice, defined as a "preconceived judgment or opinion, often based on limited information," is clearly distinguished from racism (see Katz, 1978). I assume that all of us may have prejudices as a result of the various cultural stereotypes to which we have been exposed. Even when these preconceived ideas have positive associations (such as "Asian students are good in math"), they have negative effects because they deny a person's individuality. These attitudes may influence the individual behaviors of people of color as well as of Whites, and may affect intergroup as well as intragroup interaction. However, a distinction must be made between the negative racial attitudes held by individuals of color and White individuals, because it is only the attitudes of Whites that routinely carry with them the social power inherent in the systematic cultural reinforcement and institutionalization of those racial prejudices. To distinguish the prejudices of students of color from the racism of White students is not to say that the former is acceptable and the latter is not; both are clearly problematic. The distinction is important, however, to identify the power differential between members of dominant and subordinate groups."

White Privilege: "White skin privilege is not something that white people necessarily do, create or enjoy on purpose. Unlike the more overt individual and institutional manifestations of racism described above, white skin privilege is a transparent preference for whiteness that saturates our society. White skin privilege serves several functions. First, it provides white people with “perks” that we do not earn and that people of color do not enjoy. Second, it creates real advantages for us. White people are immune to a lot of challenges. Finally, white privilege shapes the world in which we live — the way that we navigate and interact with one another and with the world." - www.tolerance.org

 

Further Reading

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum

Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America by Jennifer Harvey  (Author), Tim Wise (Foreword)

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, by Peggy McIntosh
https://nationalseedproject.org/white-privilege-unpacking-the-invisible-knapsack

The Case for Reparations, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/06/the-case-for-reparations/361631/

Open Yale Courses (online):  AFAM 162: African American History: From Emancipation to the Present
https://oyc.yale.edu/african-american-studies/afam-162/lecture-1

White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged SonKindle Edition by Tim Wise (Author)