Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Readings For People Who Do Not Understand That Racism Still Impacts People

It is hard to know what would be helpful to post, in the darkness following so much tragedy.  I am already involved in trying to advocate for civil rights and hold our governments accountable at every turn.  I try to educate children and young people about equality. I push back when other white people spew their racist rhetoric.  If I were not doing those things, it would be time to start, but also well past time. Mostly at a time like this, I want to listen to people of color if they want to talk and I want to give them space to find what peace they can amidst the horror.  It is not my place to take any charge of a just response. I am here to be an ally.

That said, there is one thing that is my responsibility and the responsibility of other white people to take charge of at such a time - we need to push back harder at the racists around us.  I am deeply horrified at what I am hearing out of the mouths of other white people this past week. The disgusting #AllLivesMatter rhetoric and the excuses, excuses, excuses and more excuses they are willing to make for murder.  It is frankly bad enough when I hear it from uneducated white people who are struggling economically and whose experiences have not included enough sociology or breadth to really understand institutionalized racism.  I know a lot of people like that and I am frustrated by their ignorance and hatred and fear but I also kind of see where it comes from, not that it is an excuse, but beleaguered humans have always tended to tribe up and get all us against them whenever possible, to want to find someone they can stand on when they feel like others are standing on them. It's the impulse that makes progress towards more civil rights and human rights so hard.
When, however, I start hearing #AllLivesMatter junk and all the excuses as to why it was justifiable for innocent people to be murdered, from people in education or mental health fields, it is Just Completely Inexcusable.  Go do some reading.  A whole giant ton of reading.  Start with the selections below and don't come and spew your ignorance at me until you have finished, please.  Or at least get another job where you can do less harm.  I mean it.

  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander
  • Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  •  This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, by
  • Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools, by Monique W. Morris
  • For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood... and the Rest of Y'all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education, by Christopher Emdin

No comments: