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What can *I* do? How do I talk about race? S/o from BlsdMom’s post


Quill
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I very much apologize if a) POC are thinking, “we already told you ad nauseam” and b) this is already answered in other threads. I have not been able to read every post or follow every link. Please, please, please know that I am coming from a place of humility and I just want to do the right thing.

A friend of mine posted FB,

Quote

“Being taught to avoid talking about politics and religion has led to a lack of understanding about politics and religion. What we should have been taught was how to have a civil conversation about a difficult topic.”

Yes; I absolutely agree, and let’s add, “...talk about race.” It’s such a landmine many of us know - we know - not to bring it up. When racial issues come up amongst groups of some people I know, I am filled with dread. I don’t know how to have this conversation. 

Some people think the marching and protesting going on all over the world is about, specifically, George Floyd’s murder. Those who think that do not understand that it’s not about that one man! Just as @BlsdMama said in her thread, there are white folks - probably many of them - who do not understand “why it has to be about race.” They do not see that it IS ABOUT RACE! 

How do I help? How do I have this conversation, whether that means on SM or IRL? Is there a way to help someone “see” their blindspots? Questions, maybe. Questions do reduce the inflammatory response. But what else? 

I grew up in a family that avoided conflict and confrontation like it was the plague. I have gotten *better* about dealing with difficult subjects with people but those grooves are deep in my neurology - “Don’t rock the boat! Be a nice girl! Don’t be upset! Blessed are the meek!” Change is hard. 

I used to have many of the same blindspots as some of my friends and family have - and I’m sure I still have many! I know I have a long way still to go! - but a lot of my mindset shifted over time because I sought it out. The Diversity class I was required to take in college, which was mocked by friends and family, was instrumental in helping me see many things differently, not just racial issues but also things about sexual orientation, immigration status, religious beliefs, economic class. (Please don’t read that as self-congratulatory, “I’m so woke now.”) I know I still have far to go in my personal journey, but a big part of that, I think, is that I need to learn how to have these conversations in a way that can help others come to this place. (Is that possible?) WTM also greatly helped. 

When the kneeling football players happened, some friends and family were furious about it (you know how that went!), but I almost always avoided the topic entirely, in part because I don’t care about football one iota so I could ignore it with relative ease, but also because I didn’t want to have the conflict about it. If a friend said, “Well, I’m boycotting football!” I just shrugged. Internally, I felt like those players had every right to kneel as a peaceful protest but I did not want to have a conflict with a friend/family about it. (I hate football anyway and think the NFL is inherently racist.) 

I’m looking for guidance. I feel very useless as a white middle class, middle aged woman. I am married to someone who really likes our current administration. I don’t know how to help someone see their own lens when they don’t know it is there. I don’t want to simply have unproductive arguments at the dinner table. How do I help that happen? Additionally, how do I help with the larger narrative in our society? 

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I don't know that you can help someone see the light unless they want to.  On anything.     I think you can be the change.  The one who stands up.  The one that says that isn't right or funny.   You can donate and support.   You can educate yourself.   And make sure your life is diverse.   That is hard to do right now.  But you can't 100 percent know, feel, live that person's life.  I will never know really what it is to be a black man in America.  I know about it, but I will never have that experience.     I am a mixed race woman.   I have experienced racism lots over my life directed at me.  Funnily by almost all the time by the 2 races I am mixed with.   I was never enough of one thing to be accepted.   It was a really hard childhood because of it.  I also had no help or talk of it from my family.  I also new that some of my family had problems with my mixed race. 

So with my kids I try to do better.   We have all colors of dolls.  We read, watch documentaries, travel, and talk a lot. The pre covid life was diverse.   I chose a small town 100 percent because it is diverse, over other ones that are not.  My kids will never know what it feels like  to be a minority, as they do not look anything but one race, but I want them to have open minds.

I think my childhood and experience helped me be open and not care about the color of someone's skin.  I was and still am asked What Are You?  As a child it was hurtful, I didn't get why someone had to know what race I was to talk to me.  I was a human, just like them.  And that is the thing that I know to be true.  We are all the same, humans.  I see the color of someone's skin, but it doesn't matter to me.  The person inside does.   

But I also realize that my childhood formed that thought.  I see that a lot of people are the products of their parents, so I don't know that a person brought up like that can be blamed or can get to another side.  If they can it is not an easy road.   Not that I want to excuse people for their behavior, but I can see how it can be passed on.

I think it already shows who you are to be asking these questions.  

And I just realized what a gift my childhood experience was, by writing this.  

 

 

Edited by mommyoffive
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My own main focus, in addition to reading and listening, which I’ve been doing and continue to do, is getting more comfortable with speaking up among friends and relatives.  It is SO much easier to deal with people you’re less personally invested in! I’ve always not wanted loved ones to be upset with me, but it’s moved more toward me being so afraid of what I’ll uncover about the people who mean the most to me. Because it IS hard to deal with some of the things that come out!

I don’t have any real answers other than working on getting comfortable with that discomfort.  I started more than 15 years ago (that’s how long ago my grandfather died, and I worked up the guts to prohibit any and all bigoted language around my kids a few years earlier) and I’m still a work in progress. It went well with Grandpa, but you won’t be catching my kids around my stepbrother because we uncovered an impenetrable heart.

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Can I recommend a book? The title isn’t my favorite, but the content is good. White Fragility. I found I needed to build up some vocabulary to even begin to talk about race outside of some of the specific aspects of systemic racism like redlining. I also found it helpful that the first chapter talks about the predictable reactions white people have when racism is brought up.

I don’t know that you can help the willfully obtuse. I say this because about half my friends and family also happily watch Faux News and refuse to believe the fact checkers who point out the lies. At that point, when you choose to disbelieve what you see and what you hear, I am not sure what the semantics are of what to call such a person...the kindest I could come up with was willfully obtuse. The iteration of this last night I dealt with was someone who said Trump didn’t gas the people at Lafayette square (even when it was pointed out they admitted to using pepper balls, which are classified as a form of tear gas by the cdc, and which form a gaseous irritant). 

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6 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

Can I recommend a book? The title isn’t my favorite, but the content is good. White Fragility. I found I needed to build up some vocabulary to even begin to talk about race outside of some of the specific aspects of systemic racism like redlining. I also found it helpful that the first chapter talks about the predictable reactions white people have when racism is brought up.

I don’t know that you can help the willfully obtuse. I say this because about half my friends and family also happily watch Faux News and refuse to believe the fact checkers who point out the lies. At that point, when you choose to disbelieve what you see and what you hear, I am not sure what the semantics are of what to call such a person...the kindest I could come up with was willfully obtuse. The iteration of this last night I dealt with was someone who said Trump didn’t gas the people at Lafayette square (even when it was pointed out they admitted to using pepper balls, which are classified as a form of tear gas by the cdc, and which form a gaseous irritant). 

I will look up the book. I am reading the book Biased right now, but I’m going to dedicate my reading solely to this subject for the indefinite future, aside from stuff I need to read for my class. 

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re feeling

3 hours ago, Quill said:

very useless as a white middle class, middle aged woman. 

Well, we largely ARE, aren't we. This is not a subject on which we know much. An unaccustomed and unpleasant experience.

For me the first barrier to even engaging on the subject, that took literally decades to get past, was to accept that Trying Entails Faltering. If we try we will stumble. We will irritate white people (for tiresome/sanctimonious hectoring, for implicit or explicit treason to the tribe). We will exasperate black people (for our astonished discovery of things they've known since childhood, for our animated regurgitation of ideas long/better expressed by black people, by the different reception of such ideas coming from a white person).  We will look back a year later (sometimes just an hour later) and cringe in hindsight at what stoopid thoughtless things we said or wrote now.

That's what we get for leaving our front door.  Nothing worth doing just happens without significant stumbles along the way.  So go out and try, already.

 

You've already keyed in to what was for me a second barrier:

3 hours ago, Quill said:

...I grew up in a family that avoided conflict and confrontation like it was the plague. I have gotten *better* about dealing with difficult subjects with people but those grooves are deep in my neurology - “Don’t rock the boat! Be a nice girl! Don’t be upset! Blessed are the meek!” Change is hard...  It’s such a landmine many of us know - we know - not to bring it up. When racial issues come up amongst groups of some people I know, I am filled with dread. I don’t know how to have this conversation. 

...When the kneeling football players happened, some friends and family were furious about it (you know how that went!), but I almost always avoided the topic entirely

Many families do. Women are especially socialized to be exquisitely sensitive to conflict; and perhaps white middle class women most of all.  Just being conscious of the tendency for conflict avoidance, to go to great lengths to soothe/paper over/re-direct from conflict, is a start.

We are not doing anyone any favors by avoiding discussion of race / politics / religion, and even less so by teaching our children to do so. That only perpetuates our current problems. No problem has ever been solved by refusal to acknowledge it. What we need is the courage, and tools, to go to the hard places. Otherwise we are (obviously) only sustaining and ratifying the brokenness.

 

Which brings you to what was for me the third insight:

3 hours ago, Quill said:

...Some people think the marching and protesting going on all over the world is about, specifically, George Floyd’s murder. Those who think that do not understand that it’s not about that one man! Just as @BlsdMama said in her thread, there are white folks - probably many of them - who do not understand “why it has to be about race.” They do not see that it IS ABOUT RACE! 

... the idea of comparative advantage.

I walk around America white. I do not know what it is to walk around America black. I cannot speak for that experience, and there are plenty of other Americans who can.  Who know THAT experience far better than I.

This is what I DO experience: white America. And you know what? That is an experience. Whiteness: it is a thing. It is a thing which -- because it is normative to those of us who walk around white -- is mostly invisible to us, mostly un-thought of, mostly unspoken. (Indeed, because the currently favorite ideology that sustains racism, the Colorblind Doctrine, is rooted in a premise that color doesn't matter, it is jarring/irritating even to use the word "white."  Why should we even mention race?  It's not relevant! is a very powerful way to shut all analysis down before it even starts.)

I don't have particular access to racism from the black perspective. There are others, better situated, who do that part.  I can only listen and read and do my best to construct a sort of received understanding based on the reports of people actually walking that walk. 

But I do have access to white people: how we talk, and deflect from talking, how we shut down talking, about race. The language we use/ constructs we raise explicitly; and even more importantly the omissions, the bits we glide over, the places where we abruptly change the subject, the sore spots where hackles go up.  Not because I'm looking to press hard on to sore spots with any particular white person -- I am not, both because I was trained too long to be a nice girl to forego the habit, and also more to the point because is usually not constructive.  There are plenty of other folks IRL/on social media/even on this board who relish in the outrage/calling out game; that's not my lane, nor do I expect it will ever be yours.

But listening carefully to white language and noting carefully where white hackles go up is instructive; it enables me to construct an understanding of how racism works from the white perspective. Which has morphed considerably since Bull Connor days.  Some of the directions in which it has morphed were foreseen by black people, as in the MLK remarks about moderates referenced in the other thread (and more so in The Fire Next Time).  But not all.

And that's what I figure is my lane. Listening to other white people, noticing our patterns, what we're talking about when we're talking or avoiding talking about race, and trying to connect what I hear (and the gaps between the words, and the shushed-over places, and the dramatically flounced Agree to Disagree places) to the deeper analytical work being done by black people who actually walk the walk.

 

There are other important, more tactical roles that white middle class women can take: providing money, serving as human shields in various circumstances, and what I think of as Making Space for Righteous Anger. All of those are valuable too, But your post, with its focus on the white people in your life and your emphasis on "narrative," brings me particularly to the Sociologist Reporting from the White Field role.

The main thing is just to try. Try anything really. There's plenty to do, just pick up any corner that seems vaguely plausible to you and give it a go. And when you stumble, be mortified for a minute or five, do your best to rectify if you can, then shrug it off and move on to the next thing. We are not expected to complete the work, but neither may we refrain from picking it up and beginning.

 

 

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So this thread just became totally relevant in my life. DS’s class is studying The Marrow Thieves and their final project is worth 20%. There are several choices, some of which are not in his wheelhouse (he won’t be composing and performing a song, for example). It is meant to be a visual presentation, and one suggestion is to research an aspect of First Nations’ culture, and an example given is Residential Schools. I had the thought that since several are within driving distance, he could take some pictures that might provide powerful images for his project. But then I started thinking, how would he approach that respectfully? I feel like a white mom and son driving onto reserve land and taking pictures of a closed residential school would be poorly received. Would he ask the chief? How would he approach that conversation? Should he ask someone else, for example our First Nation liaisons at work, how to ask, or if he should ask at all? The whole idea is fraught with potential missteps, and my impulse is to just not even go there. 

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I asked a similar question on Facebook and got a couple reading lists in response. I don't personally know very many POC (I live in the rural Midwest), but the POC I do know didn't respond, so the lists were from other white women. Which may or may not be helpful, I don't even know enough to know. I'm not terribly interested in changing anyone else's mind because I rarely see that being successful, but I do want to be able to change my own mind and heart to be more compassionate and supportive. So I will be reading this thread with interest!

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Most people seem not to understand the difference between individual and systemic problems. I don't think conversation can progress too far until that distinction is understood and *believed in.*

Also, while intersectionality seems to complicate discussions further, I think conversations are actually more difficult without it. 

Race is not the issue at our house but we've talked about intergeneration trauma a lot. Dd can understand it in one context, so she can understand it in others. 

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Just to kind of make you not feel alone, as a half-minority (is that even a thing?) I don't really know what to do either.

I liked another commenter's idea from another thread to become more aware of my police force and involved with that, via social media or whatever way you can. But in my current small town this isn't a real issue/possibility.

So, I figure that I can find ways to make sure that my already-charitable areas are not gate-kept away from minorities (eg child abuse help). 

I don't really know what this looks like yet: do I support specific charities that work with disadvantaged minority children? Do I make sure that dolls of different colors are bought for toy drives? Do I make sure books are donated that are mostly race-neutral characters or at least with better representation?

Don't know yet exactly, but at least I have a starting point.

edit: taking out basically half my post because I am too longwinded 🙂 

Edited by Moonhawk
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14 hours ago, Quill said:

 George Floyd’s murder @BlsdMama I’m looking for guidance. I feel very useless as a white middle class, middle aged woman. I am married to someone who really likes our current administration. I don’t know how to help someone see their own lens when they don’t know it is there. I don’t want to simply have unproductive arguments at the dinner table. How do I help that happen? Additionally, how do I help with the larger narrative in our society? 

1.  George Floyd’s murder was one of many caused by police brutality. Make a difference by paying attention to laws and practices of your local police force. Donate money to groups working to make national change—they have reach and expertise you do not have, but you can help fund them.  As a white mom who has consistently done my part to educate my children about race, diversity, etc., I feel like the only way to make this bad stuff fully go away is to make policy changes addressing, in this case, police brutality.  It is clear to me that, while they will change our future generation for the better,  our efforts at good parenting in this area are not a fast enough solution.

2.  Do not seek to have influence over the opinions of people you don’t have influence over already. That includes family who ignore you.  Focus on people who actually listen to you.   Think of yourself as lighting the next candle.  We can’t all be the type of person that engages in debates with people, psychoanalyzes others and behaves like ideological college students.  You don’t have to do that stuff to make a change.  

3.  Just do the right thing day to day in the life you lead.  If you live in a diverse community try meeting a wider variety of people.  If you know people exist, then you are available to help them personally when they have needs.  Like a community member.  Don’t worry about people looking down on you for either “being liberal” or “acting like a white savior.”  Those perceptions do not matter—You know you are just trying to do the right thing by those in your sphere.  Brainstorm ways you realistically can do that, then leave other stuff to other people. You can only do what -you- can do. If you read the idea of “home” as “sense of safety, security or agency,” this quote from Bilbo in the Hobbit movie describes a way to think about helping from your place (with your own “books, arm chair and garden”) in our world:

”I know you doubt me, I know you always have, and you’re right.  I often think of Bag End.  I miss my books, and my arm chair, and my garden.  See, that’s where I belong; that’s home, and that’s why I came because you don’t have one...a home. It was taken from you, but I will help you take it back if I can.”

 

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9 hours ago, Rosie_0801 said:

Most people seem not to understand the difference between individual and systemic problems. I don't think conversation can progress too far until that distinction is understood and *believed in.*

Also, while intersectionality seems to complicate discussions further, I think conversations are actually more difficult without it. 

Race is not the issue at our house but we've talked about intergeneration trauma a lot. Dd can understand it in one context, so she can understand it in others. 

I've heard the word "intersectionality" a lot on these types of threads, but I don't know what it means. 

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20 minutes ago, Momto6inIN said:

I've heard the word "intersectionality" a lot on these types of threads, but I don't know what it means. 


"the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage."

The more minorities you are part of, the more shit you've got to push uphill, basically.

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Can anyone recommend some good black authors, speakers, podcasters?   Who am I missing out on because I just don’t know what I don’t know? Scrolling through Amazon’s movie suggestions it occurred to me that all of the suggestions were either set in the civil war or were about MLK.  MLK was when my own parents where small children.  Who are the newer voices or how would I find that?  

I’m admitting my own blind spot here because it feels like a safe place to do that. I should already know a few great black thinkers of my own generation, but I don’t.  

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re reading lists

12 hours ago, Momto6inIN said:

I asked a similar question on Facebook and got a couple reading lists in response. I don't personally know very many POC (I live in the rural Midwest), but the POC I do know didn't respond, so the lists were from other white women. Which may or may not be helpful, I don't even know enough to know. I'm not terribly interested in changing anyone else's mind because I rarely see that being successful, but I do want to be able to change my own mind and heart to be more compassionate and supportive. So I will be reading this thread with interest!

 

37 minutes ago, Cnew02 said:

Can anyone recommend some good black authors, speakers, podcasters?   Who am I missing out on because I just don’t know what I don’t know? Scrolling through Amazon’s movie suggestions it occurred to me that all of the suggestions were either set in the civil war or were about MLK.  MLK was when my own parents where small children.  Who are the newer voices or how would I find that?  

I’m admitting my own blind spot here because it feels like a safe place to do that. I should already know a few great black thinkers of my own generation, but I don’t.  

 

There's a very good pinned thread over on the Politics board (open to all) where folks add on as we read. It is a reconstruction of a prior list Before the BoardApocalype, sadly lost, that @bibiche originally built (maybe you still have that?).  Many of whose titles overlapped with this copy-pasted post of @Stacia :

Quote

I'm new to this group so I don't know how/what the old list was exactly. But, I'll post some books (various topics) I've read that I would recommend, both non-fiction & fiction. I will try to generally put them in categories, though some cross categories. I loved &/or liked a great many of these books (some less so), but I think they all have something important or interesting to add to the general conversation & thoughts on these topics.

Prison:
The Story Within Us: Women Prisoners Reflect on Reading by Megan Sweeney (Editor), non-fiction
Panthers in the Hole by Bruno Cenou (script), David Cenou (illustrations), trans. from the French by Olivia Taylor Smith, non-fiction graphic novel; this could also be under the "Race" category of this reading list

Race:
Fire in a Canebrake: The Last Mass Lynching in America by Laura Wexler, non-fiction
Murder at Broad River Bridge: The Slaying of Lemuel Penn by the Ku Klux Klan by Bill Shipp, non-fiction
The Blood of Emmett Till by Timothy B. Tyson, non-fiction
Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge, non-fiction
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin, non-fiction
The Fire This Time by Randall Kenan, non-fiction
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, non-fiction
No Cause For Indictment: An Autopsy of Newark by Ronald Porambo, non-fiction
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah, non-fiction
Hidden Witness: African-American Images from the Birth of Photography to the Civil War by Jackie Napolean Wilson, non-fiction
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, non-fiction
Augustown by Kei Miller, fiction
The Ways of White Folks by Langston Hughes, fiction
Darktown and Lightning Men, both by Thomas Mullen, fiction
A Different Drummer by William Melvin Kelley, fiction
White Tears by Hari Kunzru, fiction
Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters, fiction
Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi, fiction

Immigration:
The Beast: Riding the Rails and Dodging Narcos on the Migrant Trail by Óscar Martínez, non-fiction (recommended to me by Pam & it's an excellent book)
Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera, fiction
Head in Flames by Lance Olsen, fiction
Broken Glass Park by Alina Bronsky, fiction
Goat Days by Benyamin, fiction

Tyranny or War:
Rue Du Retour by Abdellatif Laâbi, non-fiction
Draw Your Weapons by Sarah Sentilles, non-fiction
A Kim Jong-Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator's Rise to Power by Paul Fischer, non-fiction
Good Morning Comrades by Ondjaki, fiction
A General Theory of Oblivion by José Eduardo Agualusa, fiction
Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade by Kurt Vonnegut, fiction
Taduno's Song by Odafe Atogun, fiction
A Funny Dirty Little War and Winter Quarters: A Novel of Argentina, both by Osvaldo Soriano, fiction
Ways of Going Home by Alejandro Zambra, fiction
The Palace of Dreams by Ismail Kadare, fiction
The Three Trials of Manirema by José J. Veiga, fiction
The Blue Line by Ingrid Betancourt, fiction

Terrorism:
Guantánamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Slahi, non-fiction
Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche by Haruki Murakami, non-fiction

Sexuality:
Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin, non-fiction
Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology by Amy Sonnie (Editor/Contributor), non-fiction
Lieutenant Nun: Memoir of a Basque Transvestite in the New World by Catalina de Erauso, non-fiction
Sergio Y. by Alexandre Vidal Porto, fiction
Smile As They Bow by Nu Nu Yi, fiction

Drug Trade:
Narconomics: How to Run a Drug Cartel by Tom Wainwright, non-fiction
The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez, fiction
Down the Rabbit Hole by Juan Pablo Villalobos, fiction

Other:
The Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad, fiction
The Book of Embraces by Eduardo Galeano, mix of fiction & non-fiction

 

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1 hour ago, Pam in CT said:

re reading lists

 

 

There's a very good pinned thread over on the Politics board (open to all) where folks add on as we read. It is a reconstruction of a prior list Before the BoardApocalype, sadly lost, that @bibiche originally built (maybe you still have that?).  Many of whose titles overlapped with this copy-pasted post of @Stacia :

 


Some additional seminal works: 

Up from Slavery, non-fiction

The Mis-education of the Negro, non-fiction

The Souls of Black Folks, non-fiction

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, non-fiction

The Color of Law, non-fiction

 

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2 hours ago, Cnew02 said:

Can anyone recommend some good black authors, speakers, podcasters?   Who am I missing out on because I just don’t know what I don’t know? Scrolling through Amazon’s movie suggestions it occurred to me that all of the suggestions were either set in the civil war or were about MLK.  MLK was when my own parents where small children.  Who are the newer voices or how would I find that?  

I’m admitting my own blind spot here because it feels like a safe place to do that. I should already know a few great black thinkers of my own generation, but I don’t.  

Some newer voices. I've read most of these; the rest are on my to-read list.  I'm sure I've missed some, but it's a start!

Non-fiction:

Ta Nehisi-Coates - We Were Eight Years in Power; The Beautiful Struggle; Between the World and Me

Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Anti-Racist; Stamped from the Beginning

Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy

Isabel Wilkerson, The Warmth of Other Suns: the Epic Story of America's Great Migration; Caste: the Origins of our Discontent

Austin Channing Brown, I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

Sarah Broom, The Yellow House

Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow

Melba Patilla Beals, Warriors Don't Cry

Carol Anderson: White Rage, the Unspoken Truth about Our Racial Divide; One Person, No Vote

Karine Jean-Pierre, Moving On

Reni Eddo-Lodge: Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race

Darnell Moore, No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America

Brittney Cooper, Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower

Patrisse Khan-Cullors: When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir

Not quite as contemporary, but timeless:

James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time and lots of other things

Malcolm X: Autobiography

Anne Moody: Coming of Age in Mississippi

About South Africa:

Trevor Noah, Born a Crime

Nelson Mandela, Autobiography

 

Fiction (not all of these are American)

Tayari Jones

Jesmyn Ward

Bernadine Evaristo 

Kei Miller

Lauren Wilkinson

Cadwell Turnbull

Jacqueline Woodson

Namwali Serpell

N.K. Jemisin

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Nafissa Thompson-Spires

Yaa Gyasi

Iweala Uzodinma

Margo Jefferson

Maisy Card

Brit Bennett

Imbolo Mbue

Ayobami Adebayo

Nnedi Okorafor

Esi Edugyan

Not quite as contemporary, but timeless:

Toni Morrison

Maya Angelou

Zora Neale Hurston

Alice Walker

James Baldwin belongs here too...

Edited by Matryoshka
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I just want to mention that, to his enduring credit, my pastor spoke today about racism (online church). The message was so great! There was one commenter who said something like, “you cannot imagine how much I appreciate someone not of my race discussing this.” Believe it or not, though, another commenter said he was disappointed at the “liberal bs” being spoken about. I did ask some questions of that commenter, which he did not answer. But maybe it plants a seed. 

I have started a small, private group on FB with people I know who, like me, want to make this better, both individually and societally. These are ways I am doing what I can. 

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4 hours ago, Rosie_0801 said:


"the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage."

The more minorities you are part of, the more shit you've got to push uphill, basically.

Here's an example @Momto6inIN.  I am a bi-racial (Black and Korean) woman who converted and (was it feels like now) a part of an Orthodox Jewish community.  I have to deal with racism on several fronts (Black and Asian/Korean), sexism (being a woman), and anti-Semitism due to being Jewish.  Sometimes those come at me one at a time, but often times they come as several ganged up together.  Or they come at me from different parts of my life.  For example right now I am feeling othered by my Orthodox Jewish community (and even some friends, sadly) because of racist comments from them about the BLM movement (they are seen as being anti-Semitic) and Black folk in general due to the protesting/rioting. It's basically a case of Whack-A-Mole gone really unpleasant.  Hope that helps.

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14 hours ago, Moonhawk said:

Just to kind of make you not feel alone, as a half-minority (is that even a thing?) I don't really know what to do either.

I liked another commenter's idea from another thread to become more aware of my police force and involved with that, via social media or whatever way you can. But in my current small town this isn't a real issue/possibility.

So, I figure that I can find ways to make sure that my already-charitable areas are not gate-kept away from minorities (eg child abuse help). 

I don't really know what this looks like yet: do I support specific charities that work with disadvantaged minority children? Do I make sure that dolls of different colors are bought for toy drives? Do I make sure books are donated that are mostly race-neutral characters or at least with better representation?

Don't know yet exactly, but at least I have a starting point.

edit: taking out basically half my post because I am too longwinded 🙂 

One of my sons and I have decided to volunteer along with my oldest daughter when schools will allow it again. We chose the school she volunteers at years ago because it has (had at the time, I've no clue now) 21 languages represented in FOOs and a fair number of kids come to school without much English. It won't solve the world's problems, but it is something concrete we can do.

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3 hours ago, Cnew02 said:

Can anyone recommend some good black authors, speakers, podcasters?   Who am I missing out on because I just don’t know what I don’t know? Scrolling through Amazon’s movie suggestions it occurred to me that all of the suggestions were either set in the civil war or were about MLK.  MLK was when my own parents where small children.  Who are the newer voices or how would I find that?  

I’m admitting my own blind spot here because it feels like a safe place to do that. I should already know a few great black thinkers of my own generation, but I don’t.  

I recently read We Were Eight Years in Power and it explained some of what was going on during Obama's presidency and the results which we are seeing today from it.

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1 hour ago, Quill said:

I just want to mention that, to his enduring credit, my pastor spoke today about racism (online church). The message was so great! There was one commenter who said something like, “you cannot imagine how much I appreciate someone not of my race discussing this.” Believe it or not, though, another commenter said he was disappointed at the “liberal bs” being spoken about. I did ask some questions of that commenter, which he did not answer. But maybe it plants a seed. 

I have started a small, private group on FB with people I know who, like me, want to make this better, both individually and societally. These are ways I am doing what I can. 

My teeny tiny ultra conservative Anabaptist church included a message from the elder body (national group of elders from each church in the denomination across the country - basically our governing body) at the end of the service today that reminded us of the inherent worth and value of each human soul and that God is not a respecter of persons and that we should be careful not to let our political opinions blind us to injustice or lead us to support a system of racism. I was so thankful to hear that from the pulpit that I almost cried. We're just a bunch of hick farmers and white people without much diversity, so to hear this from our elder body made me feel a lot of hope.

38 minutes ago, YaelAldrich said:

Here's an example @Momto6inIN.  I am a bi-racial (Black and Korean) woman who converted and (was it feels like now) a part of an Orthodox Jewish community.  I have to deal with racism on several fronts (Black and Asian/Korean), sexism (being a woman), and anti-Semitism due to being Jewish.  Sometimes those come at me one at a time, but often times they come as several ganged up together.  Or they come at me from different parts of my life.  For example right now I am feeling othered by my Orthodox Jewish community (and even some friends, sadly) because of racist comments from them about the BLM movement (they are seen as being anti-Semitic) and Black folk in general due to the protesting/rioting. It's basically a case of Whack-A-Mole gone really unpleasant.  Hope that helps.

That does help, thank you. I wanted to like your post but it felt weird to like something so troubling.

Edited by Momto6inIN
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As white middle class, middled-aged women we're not accustomed to having our voices heard. Society may routinely ignore our voices but there is one thing we have that they do respect, control over our families' spending. 

One thing we can easily do is stop financially supporting reactionary media. If you are a white middle class, middled-aged woman Christian woman (I fall into this category myself) then many of commentators you've watched on TV, clicked "live" on their FB posts, bought their books, etc. have really bad takes on this issue. Don't give them clicks. Don't buy their books, listen to their podcasts, etc. 

Vote with your pocketbook when possible. For far too long, we've tolerated racist voices in our world because we don't want to rock the boat. Here's an example of enough is enough. A Catholic high school in Fresno just fired a theology teacher who has had a very offensive online presence for a long time. He was fired last week because a group of parents signed a petition calling for him to be fired in response to his tweets (under his own name) about the protests. I realize that this is problematic. However, if I was paying tuition to this school I would feel I had every right to object to his public comments. Diocese of Fresno speaks out on Garces teacher's social media posts

Sharing this video because I just watched it and was moved by it. She shares some very disturbing clips of police brutality from the recent protests. Young people of all races are participating in the protests and being attacked by the police. They're beating the crap out our kids now. Her message here is very good. They know that people like us (white middle class, middled-aged women) are starting to feel sympathy for the protestors and hostility towards the police. They are trying to speak to us with the police taking the knee videos. She's right - don't fall for it. 

 

Besides voting with our pocketbook, we should be fighting hard against the *othering* going on in our communities. Share the videos of young people protesting and being attacked by the police. White middle class mothers need to know that white middle class college kids and other young people are getting the crap beat out of them too.  It's not just *other* people's kids; it's our kids too. I know that this advice is based on a lot of racist assumptions and the unfortunate reality that people like us don't care when minority kids are brutalized by the police. 

Certain parts of social media are now trying very hard to attack that elderly man from Buffalo who was pushed to the ground by the police. Why is that so important? Because he's an elderly white man who walked up to the police to give them back their helmet and was brutally pushed to the ground and left bleeding. They don't want us to think that could be our fathers or grandfathers too. They have to make him an other so we don't connect him to us. He's obviously white and elderly so it's hard to smear him so they must go in another direction. 

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WRT to voting with your pocketbook, I always remember a discussion from one of my college classes. I can't remember why this came up but we discussed a movement in the 1980s (I'm old so this was 1992 when I was a senior in college) to boycott coke or something like that to encourage more minority owned coco-cola distributors. This was organized by Jesse Jackson. 

About 90% of my class was very offended by this. It was more offense; they were very angry. I remember arguing with my classmates about this. I asked if they objected to boycotts of Proctor and Gamble because its logo was supposed to be demonic. (remember that 1980s GenX ladies?) No one had a problem with that one. I remember arguing that it wasn't any different. In a capitalist society no one is forced to buy a product so anyone can refuse to buy a product for any reason. I was pretty much ignored by the rest of the class. I still remember the discussion because they were so angry at Jesse Jackson and African American people refusing to buy a product. 

Speaking to the other middled-aged, white, middle class women here - how many times have you heard people in your life complaining about Jesse Jackson? That should tell you so much about the propaganda that we've exposed to and the racism in our circles. 

I'll hope that the younger women here might not get the Jesse Jackson reference. You probably know who he is but haven't been exposed to the resentment of him. 

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My mother is the hardest one for me. She is extremely kind and thinks she isn’t racist at all but she says things here and there that aren’t ok. I try to gently point them out but it never goes over well.

Dh grew up one of six kids but he’s the only white kid in the bunch. He grew up seeing his siblings picked on and treated different just because of color of their skin. He also has one brother who was sent off to prison for a small drug offense. It’s ruined his life. Dh started a conversation about race with his employees last week and he said it actually went really well. He thinks it might have opened some eyes of his white employees to hear their coworkers stories.

Today, I was about to purchase a couple of books on Amazon but instead looked up a list of black owned bookstores. There were sadly none listed in my area but I was still able to order online. They were more expensive and shipping will take longer but I feel it was worth it and will try to give more of my monetary support to those businesses. I’m just trying to listen more and be more aware.

Edited by Joker
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@Joker f you want to share a link to the black-owned bookstores, I will use them to order some books. I don’t care if it takes longer; don’t even care if it costs more. I’m not in a hurry anyway. 

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13 minutes ago, Quill said:

@Joker f you want to share a link to the black-owned bookstores, I will use them to order some books. I don’t care if it takes longer; don’t even care if it costs more. I’m not in a hurry anyway. 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.popsugar.com/entertainment/black-owned-bookstores-47527156/amp

https://lithub.com/you-can-order-today-from-these-black-owned-independent-bookstores/

These are the first two that came up when I searched.

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As homeschooling parents, another thing we can do is educate our children using more diverse texts. A *lot* of the books typically recommended for homeschoolers are bad and we put up with it. We should not use history textbooks written in the early 1900s that call Native Americans "savages." Full stop. I think we should also challenge the idea that is so commonly found in the "Christian classical education" movement that western culture is superior. I found this article while planning our booklist for next year. 

Quote

The unified Christian approach to classical Christian education is supposed to subsume mortal subjectivity into a singular divine identity, but the introduction of Western cultural chauvinism undermines this aim. Christians are called to be defenders of the faith, but one god can quickly replace another; the loyalty of some proponents of classical Christian education to a hazy conception of Western culture dilutes an otherwise noble goal.

Defenders of the Faith?

A group of teachers on Tweeter post using the hashtag #disrupttexts to discuss children's literature. I've been following them for about a year and have learned so much. 

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18 minutes ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

As homeschooling parents, another thing we can do is educate our children using more diverse texts. A *lot* of the books typically recommended for homeschoolers are bad and we put up with it. We should not use history textbooks written in the early 1900s that call Native Americans "savages." Full stop. I think we should also challenge the idea that is so commonly found in the "Christian classical education" movement that western culture is superior. I found this article while planning our booklist for next year. 

Defenders of the Faith?

A group of teachers on Tweeter post using the hashtag #disrupttexts to discuss children's literature. I've been following them for about a year and have learned so much. 

 

We used a lot of Howard Zinn People’s History and James Loewen Lies My Teachers Told Me type books.  I don’t know if it helped, but I guess at least helped not to have a blind faith acceptance.  One problem though was not having had the standard history curriculum first to know what books like that were challenging.

 

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3 hours ago, YaelAldrich said:

Here's an example @Momto6inIN.  I am a bi-racial (Black and Korean) woman who converted and (was it feels like now) a part of an Orthodox Jewish community.  I have to deal with racism on several fronts (Black and Asian/Korean), sexism (being a woman), and anti-Semitism due to being Jewish.  Sometimes those come at me one at a time, but often times they come as several ganged up together.  Or they come at me from different parts of my life.  For example right now I am feeling othered by my Orthodox Jewish community (and even some friends, sadly) because of racist comments from them about the BLM movement (they are seen as being anti-Semitic) and Black folk in general due to the protesting/rioting. It's basically a case of Whack-A-Mole gone really unpleasant.  Hope that helps.

 

My family is also multi racial, multi ethnic, and multi religious (or lack of), and has been so since 1960s.  It also feels like everything is wrong, and othered.  

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Since this started heating up, I've joined the conservative/borderline racist Facebook groups for my local area. As a white woman, they accept my request to join their group. 🙂 I'm also a member of our local BLM group. So I use my boring whiteness to do reconnaissance, essentially: let the BLM leaders know if there is any planning/threatening talk or if any videos/pictures have been posted they need to be aware of (like someone in the conservative group posted a video from a small protest last week where they were there 'protecting' the confederate statue 🙄, filming the BLM group talking peacefully with a cop while they talked about wanting to "kill them all"). I also use those groups as a chance to practice diffusing racial speech. So like you said, asking questions, finding short but non-inflammatory statements that help diffuse things. I try to plant seeds and keep an eye out for people who might be willing to dialogue further. Best case scenario, I change the mind of a stranger on the internet (unlikely). Worst case scenario, I practice and get comfortable so I feel ready to address it in the real world.

Also, if you'd like a break from the more heavy reading, I've been enjoying watching The Grapevine shows on Youtube. They talk about serious issues in the black community, but it's a very laid back, chill format. 

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4 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

As homeschooling parents, another thing we can do is educate our children using more diverse texts.

For parents of younger kids, you might want to check out the Ana & Andrew series of books by Christine Platt. (I haven't read them b/c my dc are grown.)

Teaching Tolerance (from the Southern Poverty Law Center) also has many resources on their site. 

Edited by Stacia
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3 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

Just read with your critical thinking cap on, some of those listed are more thoughtful than others, and some are more ideological or persuasive.  Like anything, just because someone claims it as their belief or experience it doesn’t make it automatically about rational discourse 🙂

It is ALWAYS good to get additional viewpoints, but without singling out any particular text that’s my advice.

Are you claiming this after reading these recommendations, or going by titles/blurbs?  How's your reading on these topics going? I find reading broadly is a good way to get a variety of viewpoints rather than just one point of view.

I also try to read books from other countries, immigrants, and indigenous voices.

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On 6/7/2020 at 10:40 AM, Pam in CT said:

a prior list Before the BoardApocalype, sadly lost, that @bibiche originally built (maybe you still have that?). 

I think I found it, or at least one iteration of it. I haven't checked links. There's also a link to another thread that had some good resources.

 

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10 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

I missed this.  My opinion is based on reading a handful of them over the years and familiarity with others. So.....? I don’t feel compelled personally to go any deeper with those on the list I haven’t read yet, and gave the caution from personal experience. 

Curious - which ones have you read?  Why did you choose those over others on this topic?  Which would you recommend, rather than cautioning against?  What makes you give caution on the ones that you do?

I also think some books are much better than others.  I'm happy to share my opinions on any of the books I've read, good and bad.  Happy to hear yours!

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8 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

No.  I don’t think it is appropriate or right for me to give my feedback on which books I found unbalanced, unreliable, myopic or pushing an ideology in a source pool like this.  Those opinions are and shall remain private, because I think people can come to their own conclusions and one should always be careful when judging an argument vs judging a lived experience or narrative. 
 

My opinion is irrelevant to what someone else might resonate with, for a number of reasons. And as I said way up thread, I’m really not interested in naming names or getting into specifics.

Then why the caution?  I think we are all intelligent women who read with our thinking caps on and don't need to be warned about potentially 'ideological' books (are you worried about brainwashing? delicate sensibilities? what?), especially by someone who has read but a handful of unnamed books and has declared themselves uninterested in reading any further on the topic.  We can all read and form our own opinions.

I'm also unclear what ideology you think is being promoted.  Maybe you could clarify.

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42 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

I’m facing down death, lady, go argue with someone else.  I have way bigger problems to deal with in my immediate life and health than systemic racism, or arguing with an aggressive anonymous internet person about it.  But sure, make every worst assumption about me and my motivations in this discussion that you want.  

Lol, I am not sure what I said that was agressive, I only asked questions, which were specifically to clarify your meaning,  so I *don't* make assumptions. 

But why come in to a thread literally entitled "How do I talk about race?" only to share that you have no interest in talking about it, or even reading about it, and where you wished for your only contribution to be a warning to others about books on the subject?

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1 hour ago, Matryoshka said:

Then why the caution?  I think we are all intelligent women who read with our thinking caps on and don't need to be warned about potentially 'ideological' books (are you worried about brainwashing? delicate sensibilities? what?), especially by someone who has read but a handful of unnamed books and has declared themselves uninterested in reading any further on the topic.  We can all read and form our own opinions.

I'm also unclear what ideology you think is being promoted.  Maybe you could clarify.

The books recommended seem to be mostly wrapped up in and founded on assumptions of critical race theory and intersectionality. It would probably take days to delve into all of that, but if you're looking for a genuine critique of the ideas, or of one specific book, here are a couple articles.

https://newdiscourses.com/2020/06/flaws-white-fragility-theory-primer/

https://newdiscourses.com/2020/06/do-better-than-critical-race-theory/

https://medium.com/@annekathrynbailey/5-reasons-the-book-white-fragility-is-shallow-and-destructive-7d8512616aab

Edited by EmseB
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The articles EmseB linked seem to deny the possibility of systemic racism. I think the individual feeling of “yes I harbor or no, I do not harbor conscious feelings against people of color” is very different from living in a society in which things have been structured so that people of color do not have equal footing. Look at the redlining maps for any city. Look at how schools is most states have differing levels of funding. Look at how rarely the % ethnicities of people in power reflect the the same % of ethnicities of people in population. Regardless of how we feel personally we are all still operating in a society where the playing field is not level.

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re original list

1 hour ago, bibiche said:

I think I found it, or at least one iteration of it. I haven't checked links. There's also a link to another thread that had some good resources.

 

Thanks -- I'm glad you found it. If it's OK with you I'll repost over on the pinned thread.  As your resource list include a lot of articles and @Stacia 's is all books, the two are very complementary.

Reading, reading styles, and what type of authorial voice resonates are all super personal... so I think of recommended resource lists as maps, not step-by-step GPS directions.  It's not as if, presented with a good reading list, I start at the top and work my way down... more like a bunny trail hop of footnote-following and book-group-vetting and Amazon's "readers who choose this also consider" suggestions.  But.  When I set out to learn about some subject new to me (like, to pick a less-volatile example, the health care systems in different nations around the world) I *really* appreciate lists that others who know the issues offer up. While OTOH we each have to climb our own learning curve and construct our own understanding, there's no advantage in setting out on the journey blind, without instruments. I appreciate the map, I appreciate what others who've traveled before me offer up as the greatest hits along the way.

As a meta-reader (Stacia and I once did a good deal of in-tandem reading, and have "talked" about this), I've come to understand that I get the most out of authors I *know* the most... whose worldview I have come to understand pretty deeply through multiple works across time and over multiple subjects (and sometimes spanning genres).  I've never met Karen Armstrong but I definitely count her as among my life teachers (on another subject matter).

Two currently-producing voices that I have learned a great deal from about race are Ta-Nehisi Coates and Trevor Noah.  Both of them genre-spanning. Most of Coates's work -- including several titles above-- is non-fiction; but he also collaborated on a Black Panther series and his new work of fiction, The Water Dancer, is stunning (and, Stacia, if you haven't read it yet, heavy does of magical realism!).  I'd start with his reparations article, which manages to pack a short history of America into one very dense overview, but really anything will do.  Trevor Noah is known for his dead-serious comedy, and his memoir is obviously set in South Africa rather than the US, but his race- and society-spanning roots give him a quite unusual and invaluable vantage point from which he sees the US.  (Coates actually makes a similar observation in We Were Eight Years in Power about President Obama's race- and society-spanning background.)

Other authors (several of whom, also genre-spanning) whose aggregate body of work -- not so much any one title (though I've linked where I'd start), but the whole of the work -- that I've found helpful are Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes.

And a one-off -- I haven't read anything else by Nell Irvin and don't know that she's written anything else on the subject, that I recommend for early-journey mapping of the region, is The History of White People.

But it is, and should be, personal. You like movies, there are good movies, both drama and documentary. You like poetry, there is acutely insightful and searing poetry. (Oh, Claudia Rankin.)  You like TED talks, there are TED talks. Start by picking up whatever corner, or recommendation, seems plausible and just bunny-hop from there based on whatever resonates.  It's the journey that matters, not any particular GPS directions.

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On 6/7/2020 at 3:45 PM, Joker said:

My mother is the hardest one for me. She is extremely kind and thinks she isn’t racist at all but she says things here and there that aren’t ok. I try to gently point them out but it never goes over well.

Dh grew up one of six kids but he’s the only white kid in the bunch. He grew up seeing his siblings picked on and treated different just because of color of their skin. He also has one brother who was sent off to prison for a small drug offense. It’s ruined his life. Dh started a conversation about race with his employees last week and he said it actually went really well. He thinks it might have opened some eyes of his white employees to hear their coworkers stories.

Today, I was about to purchase a couple of books on Amazon but instead looked up a list of black owned bookstores. There were sadly none listed in my area but I was still able to order online. They were more expensive and shipping will take longer but I feel it was worth it and will try to give more of my monetary support to those businesses. I’m just trying to listen more and be more aware.

Not picking on you but I hear this sentiment so often - people getting upset with friends / family / others when they say things that are not OK. For awhile now I have been having debates in my head re: words vs actions and not just in relations to this topic, but in general. People say all kinds of things - good, bad and ugly. But are their actions matter more or less? Should they matter more or less?

Would you still be upset with whatever your mom says if you saw being consistently kind to POC and treating them with respect? Would her actions cancel out her words?

My family and I have been discriminated against plenty, that's why parents left their country and came to US. But *I* have always been a fan of people feeling free to say what they really think so I can know where I stand -if that makes sense

@Sneezyone- I would be interested to hear your thoughts.

 

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16 minutes ago, SereneHome said:

Not picking on you but I hear this sentiment so often - people getting upset with friends / family / others when they say things that are not OK. For awhile now I have been having debates in my head re: words vs actions and not just in relations to this topic, but in general. People say all kinds of things - good, bad and ugly. But are their actions matter more or less? Should they matter more or less?

Would you still be upset with whatever your mom says if you saw being consistently kind to POC and treating them with respect? Would her actions cancel out her words?

My family and I have been discriminated against plenty, that's why parents left their country and came to US. But *I* have always been a fan of people feeling free to say what they really think so I can know where I stand -if that makes sense

@Sneezyone- I would be interested to hear your thoughts.

 

 

For myself, I tend to weight actions over words but that only goes so far. Sometimes, there's a general cluelessness that shows itself in actions that *I* cannot leave unexposed. A liberal acquaintance of mine published that photo of the repairman wishing for (to paraphrase) 'peace among all people'. I could not let that stand alone despite it's feel-good nature because of the obvious power differential between the worker and the client. It's like a wife asking a husband if she looks OK. The answer is fraught with peril. You're not going to get an accurate answer without a longstanding relationship of trust, one that doesn't depend upon financial transactions. And then sometimes, relatively or seemingly benign actions can hide malevolent intent like the USNA alumni association trustee. He managed to hide his nasty nature for YEARS, likely coming up with multiple plausible excuses for his preference for X over Y in promotion rankings. Actions alone aren't enough. Any wonder why I have trust issues? LOL. Every situation is different. The only thing I trust is my gut instinct and my DH by extension. It's always been the voice of the divine in my life.

Edited by Sneezyone
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3 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

 

For myself, I tend to weight actions over words but that only goes so far. Sometimes, there's a general cluelessness that shows itself in actions that *I* cannot leave unexposed. A liberal acquaintance of mine published that photo of the repairman wishing for (to paraphrase) 'peace among all people'. I could not let that stand alone despite it's feel-good nature because of the obvious power differential between the worker and the client. It's like a wife asking a husband if she looks OK. The answer is fraught with peril. You're not going to get an accurate answer without a longstanding relationship of trust, one that doesn't depend upon financial transactions. And then sometimes, relatively or seemingly benign actions can hide malevolent intent, like the USNA alumni association trustee. He managed to hide his nasty nature for YEARS, likely coming up with plausible excuses for his preference for X over Y. Any wonder why I have trust issues? LOL. Every situation is different. The only thing I trust is my gut instinct and my DH by extension. It's always been the voice of the divine in my life.

I am the same

I just see so many people trying "to understand" and make sure they say all the right things and read all the books- and it makes me shake my head bc I keep thinking - what exactly have you been doing all this time?

I don't know.....may be I am missing something....or just not understanding something....

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1 hour ago, SereneHome said:

I am the same

I just see so many people trying "to understand" and make sure they say all the right things and read all the books- and it makes me shake my head bc I keep thinking - what exactly have you been doing all this time?

I don't know.....may be I am missing something....or just not understanding something....

 

There's no such thing as the "right thing" all the time. I say the wrong thing ALL THE TIME. LOL. I own it. I acknowledge it. I try, mostly, not to be an ass about it but I'm not always successful. The only categorically wrong thing in my book is deliberate ignorance. Closing your eyes and shouting *LA LA LA LA LA LA!* in the hopes that these problems magically disappear is contemptible. There was a post earlier in this thread (I can't remember who said it) about a new black friend who didn't want to share in person but seemed angry online. I read that and thought...DUH! You're brand new! The anger pulsing within black and brown communities isn't something we're conditioned to share. You can't try to strike up conversations with random people in your extended sphere and expect complete honesty. That takes time. It requires trust. Trust is sorely lacking for many of the reasons I've mentioned. I do think SM has given quiet people a forum for venting their spleen. I do think we have to see that as another part of who they are. I also think you have to find people with whom you have existing connections and deepen those, as some of my old 'friends' have done. My closest friends, the ones who REALLY know me are from college. Eight-ten women that I lived with for all four years-- Irish, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Belizean, black, Japanese, Amerasian, German, WASP...these women form the core for me. The only one who basically dropped out of the 'crew' is the WASP from Orange County. Make your own tribe. It helps.

Edited by Sneezyone
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This is making me realize I need to update my original book post list that Pam posted because I have more additions to the list. Pam, your mention of Claudia Rankine made me realize I haven't updated the list recently. I read Citizen earlier this year and it blew me away. I need to read more of her work.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23439097-citizen

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I'm starting to see the "feel good" propaganda showing on my feeds now. You know - see this nice policeman kneeling? Or "this kid organized efforts to clean up his neighborhood after the riot." Those stories are designed to distract us. 

So WRT what we can do - I think we should expect to be uncomfortable. Discussion about race in this country should feel uncomfortable to us. That's how to you know it's real and human and not something tied up with a bow intended to move us along to the next thing. 

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22 minutes ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

I'm starting to see the "feel good" propaganda showing on my feeds now. You know - see this nice policeman kneeling? Or "this kid organized efforts to clean up his neighborhood after the riot." Those stories are designed to distract us. 

...or intended to placate. There's a lot of that going on and people can easily mistake it for acceptance.

Edited by Sneezyone
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