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158 Resources to Understand Racism in America

by Meilan Solly | June 2020
Amid escalating clashes between protesters and police, discussing race—from the inequity embedded in American institutions to the United States’ long, painful history of anti-black violence—is an essential step in sparking meaningful societal change. To support those struggling to begin these difficult conversations, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture recently launched a “Talking About Race” portal featuring “tools and guidance” for educators, parents, caregivers and other people committed to equity. “Talking About Race” joins a vast trove of resources from the Smithsonian Institution dedicated to understanding what Bunch describes as America’s “tortured racial past.” From Smithsonian magazine articles on slavery’s Trail of Tears and the disturbing resilience of scientific racism to the National Museum of American History’s collection of Black History Month resources for educators and a Sidedoor podcast on the Tulsa Race Massacre, these 158 resources are designed to foster an equal society, encourage commitment to unbiased choices and promote antiracism in all aspects of life. Listings are bolded and organized by category.
TAGS: [Collective Action] [2020’s] [Systemic Racism] [Anti-Racism] [Policing] [Teachers] [History] [Intersectionality] [Slavery] [Racial Terrorism] [Black Lives Matter] [Civil War] [Politics] [Social Justice] [Racial Covenants] [Housing] [Employment] [Economics] [Silencing POC] [Health Disparities] [Prison System] [Implicit Bias] [Indigenous] [Police Shootings] [Latino/a] [White Supremacy] [White Culture]

The Samuel George Morton CRANIAL COLLECTION; Historical Significance and New Research

by Emily S. Renschler and Janet Monge | Month Unknown 2008
Although few visitors to the Museum would know this, the Samuel George Morton cranial collection at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is one of the most famous collections of human skulls in the entire world. Its presence in Philadelphia is the result of the collecting activities of Samuel George Morton (1799–1851), a Philadelphian who actively participated in the vibrant medical and scientific community that spanned the Atlantic Ocean in the early 19th century.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Art & Culture] [History] [Slavery] [Indigenous] [Black Lives Matter] [Latino/a] [Myths] [White Supremacy] [White Privilege] [White Culture] [Systemic Racism]

The Weaponization of Whiteness in Schools; It’s Time to Recognize and Stop the Pattern

by Coshandra Dillard |  Fall 2020
Typically, the weaponization of whiteness happens this way: There is a demonstrated sense of entitlement, anger and a need for retaliation, feigned fear and, finally, white fragility. It’s easy to recognize this pattern when it’s caught on video. We can observe for ourselves racial slurs, exaggerated fear and the privilege of whiteness forcefully taking up space. But when we publicly shame white people caught on video or demand severe penalties for their transgressions, we are individualizing racism rather than seeing how it can easily manifest in any white person because of how whiteness works in our society.
TAGS: [Collective Action] [2020’s] [White Supremacy] [White Privilege] [White Culture] [White Fragility/Tears] [Systemic Racism] [Teachers] [Tips-Dos/Don’ts] [Black Lives Matter] [-ing While Black] [White Defensiveness] [Calling Police] [Economics] [Assumptions] [Individual Change] [Latino/a] [Accountability] [Policing]

Educators Who Consider Themselves ‘White Allies’ Are Dangerous When It Comes To Developing Anti-Racist Classrooms

by Dr. Sana Shaikh| | February 2021
She knew the importance of using “She/her/hers” adjectives at the beginning of each virtual work session. She joined the book club where Dr. Kendi’s work was being discussed. By every metric, large or small, she showed that she was, inevitably and truly, an ally. But therein, laid the problem. She had characterized herself as an anti-racist ally. Black and brown educators and children around her would not label her in the same way. In the background, students of color—largely Black and Latinx—would complain to other teachers of color that their voices were not being heard. They would pushback against the teacher-centric approach in the classroom and the unilateral way that power and privilege played out in the school. When those suggestions and feedback were brought up to the white leaders, there was pushback: This teacher did not intend to have a harmful impact. She was leading with good intentions. She simply forgot to implement the feedback. All and all, this teacher was protected by the systems of white supremacy and power. Instead of her being held accountable, the messenger was classified as simply being uninformed. The messenger had a Ph.D. in culturally responsive pedagogy.
TAGS: [Individual Change] [2020’s] [Tips-Dos/Don’ts] [Anti-Racism] [Teachers] [Black Lives Matter] [Latino/a] [White Privilege] [White Supremacy] [White Culture] [Accountability] [Social Justice] [Assumptions] [White Blindness]

‘An Unbelievable Chain of Oppression’: America’s History of Racism was a Preexisting Condition for COVID-19

by Alan Gomez, Wyatte Grantham-Philips, Trevor Hughes, Rick Jervis, Rebecca Plevin, Kameel Stanley, Dennis Wagner, Marco della Cava, Deborah Barfield Berry, and Mark Nichols | October 2020
As the country cries out for a vaccine and a return to normal, lost in the policy debates is the reality that COVID-19 kills far more people of color than white Americans. This isn’t a matter of coincidence, poor choices or bad luck — it’s by design. A team of USA TODAY reporters explored how the policies of the past and present have made Black, Asian, Hispanic and Indigenous Americans prime targets for COVID-19. They found: America’s education and economic systems are still unequal, disproportionately leaving people of color out of higher-wage jobs. When COVID-19 struck, more people of color were serving as essential workers directly in the path of the virus.
TAGS: [Collective Action] [Health Disparities] [2020’s] [Black Lives Matter] [Indigenous] [Asian] [Latino/a] [Economics] [Employment] [Systemic Racism] [Denial] [History] [Social Justice] [Politics] [Justice System] [White Privilege] [White Culture] [White Blindness] [Housing] [Slavery] [Racial Covenants] [Environment] [Silencing POC]

Denial Is the Heartbeat of America; When Have Americans Been Willing to Admit Who We Are?

by Ibram X. Kendi | January 2021
“Let me be very clear: The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America. Do not represent who we are,” President-elect Joe Biden said during Wednesday’s siege. …To say that the attack on the U.S. Capitol is not who we are is to say that this is not part of us, not part of our politics, not part of our history. And to say that this is not part of America, American politics, and American history is a bald-faced denial. But the denial is normal. In the aftermath of catastrophes, when have Americans commonly admitted who we are? The heartbeat of America is denial. It is historic, this denial. Every American generation denies. America is establishing the freest democracy in the world, said the white people who secured their freedom during the 1770s and ’80s. America is the greatest democracy on Earth, said the property owners voting in the early 19th century. America is the beacon of democracy in world history, said the men who voted before the 1920s. America is the leading democracy in the world, said the non-incarcerated people who have voted throughout U.S. history in almost every state. America is the utmost democracy on the face of the Earth, said the primarily older and better-off and able-bodied people who are the likeliest to vote in the 21st century. America is the best democracy around, said the American people when it was harder for Black and Native and Latino people to vote in the 2020 election.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Systemic Racism] [Black Lives Matter] [Indigenous] [Latino/a] [Denial] [History] [Politics] [White Defensiveness] [White Blindness] [White Privilege] [White Culture] [White Supremacy] [Slavery] [Civil War] [Racial Terrorism] [Policing] [Police Shootings] [Economics]

This Waltz Once Attributed to Strauss Is Actually by Indigenous Mexican Composer Juventino Rosas

by Stephen Raskauskas | May 2017
The waltz is typically associated with composers from German-speaking countries. The word waltz is, after all, German. Viennese composers like Beethoven and Schubert composed waltzes. Viennese composer Johann Strauss II was known as the “Waltz King.” But at the same time that the Viennese were waltzing around ballrooms and clinking their champagne glasses, the people of Mexico were enjoying waltzes, too, many of which were composed in Mexico. One of the most famous waltz composers in Mexico was Juventino Rosas. He was born in 1868 in Santa Cruz de Galeana to parents who were Otomí. The Otomí people are one of many indigenous groups in Mexico. In 2015, over 25,000,000 people living in Mexico identified as indigenous.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [Indigenous] [2010’s] [Latino/a] [Myths] [Art & Culture] [Implicit Racism] [History] [Silencing POC]

Field Correction: Race-Based Medicine, Deeply Embedded in Clinical Decision Making, is Being Scrutinized and Challenged

by Stephanie Dutchen | December 2020
A young Black man arrives in the emergency room, doubled over in pain from a sickle cell crisis. “It’s an act,” says the attending physician dismissively. “I think he just wants drugs.” The attending refuses to prescribe the opioids he might give to a white patient in similar straits. Andrea Reid, MD ’88, associate dean for student and multicultural affairs for the Program in Medical Education and director of the Office of Recruitment and Multicultural Affairs at Harvard Medical School, witnessed too many such scenes as a trainee in Boston-area hospitals in the 1980s and ’90s. “It was awful,” she says. “There was bias that reflected in the management of some patients, especially those who didn’t look like they were in pain.” After watching this scenario play out in the emergency department and on the wards, Reid quietly began to direct some of the sickle cell patients toward her outpatient clinic for continuity care. … Many clinicians have heard or been formally taught that Black people don’t feel pain as acutely as white people because they have different biology. Black bodies have fewer nerve endings than white bodies, they’ve been told. Black skin is thicker than white skin, they’ve learned. Digging deeper reveals that these notions, as old as transatlantic slavery, have no evidence behind them. Yet a 2016 survey in PNAS of white medical students and residents found that half of the respondents still believe and act on them.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Systemic Racism] [Health Disparities] [Myths] [Implicit Bias] [White Supremacy] [White Culture] [White Blindness] [Denial] [History] [Indigenous] [Asian] [Latino/a] [White Privilege]

PWB: Preaching While Black! Ten Indicators of Racism in Predominantly White Church Bodies and What You Can Do To Address Them; The Unholy Union of Racism and Christianity

by Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr. | August 2015
Racism and Christianity are no strangers to each other. While no theologically and biblically alert and informed person of our day would dare to defend racism as a legitimate, holy expression of Christianity, it is important to note that United States church bodies were on both sides of the matter of the enslavement of Africans, with some “Christian” ministers and theologians taking the time to bend some biblical texts while remaining silent on others, in order to offer heretical justification of the evil practice of slavery while crafting the doctrine of White supremacy and Black inferiority to provide a perverse platform on which it was placed. Of course, segregation, discrimination, and White privilege as hallmarks of societal racism, were found in organized church bodies as well. Several predominantly White church bodies continue to struggle with racism in both society and their organizational bodies. Some have made defeating racism a priority, while other church organizations have gone so far as to call racism a sin and to issue apologies for their historic and contemporary silence and complicity with racist orientations, laws, and church practices. Still, a large number of church bodies choose to remain silent on the matter perhaps while not realizing that this option actually emboldens racist practices.
TAGS: [Collective Action] [Individual Change] [2010’s] [Systemic Racism] [Faith-Based/Spiritual] [White Supremacy] [White Culture] [White Privilege] [-ing While Black] [Employment] [Policing] [Slavery] [Latino/a] [Asian] [Indigenous] [Black Lives Matter] [Social Justice] [Tips-Dos/Don’ts]

As Nation Reckons with Race, Poll Finds White Americans Least Engaged

by Adrian Florido and Marisz Penaloza | August 2020
Collins sympathized with the people marching in the protests but felt “I’m not that type of person.” So instead, he called and wrote his representatives in Congress and asked what they were doing to address racism in the country. He didn’t hear back, “but I still thought it was important to do.” As the nation navigates its most consequential racial justice movement in a half-century, some people have responded to the calls for action to remedy the country’s racist past and present by protesting in the streets or doing something as simple as reading a book about race. But a new NPR/Ipsos poll finds that these people remain a minority.
TAGS: [Individual Change] [2020’s] [Anti-Racism] [Systemic Racism] [Policing] [Collective Action] [Latino/a] [Asian] [White Culture] [Black Lives Matter] [Reparations] [-ing While Black]

A Judge Asked Harvard to Find Out Why So Many Black People Were In Prison. They Could Only Find 1 Answer: Systemic Racism

by Michael Harriot | September 2020
When a judge tasked researchers with explaining why Massachusetts’ Black and Latinx incarceration was so high, a four-year study came up with one conclusion. Racism. It was always racism. “White people make up roughly 74% of the Massachusetts population while accounting for 58.7% of cases in our data,” the study explained. “Meanwhile, Black people make up just 6.5% of the Massachusetts population and account for 17.1% of cases.” Of course, that could only mean that Black people commit much more crime, right? Nope. OK, then maybe Black people commit worse crimes. That wasn’t it. What they found is the criminal justice system is unequal on every level. Cops in the state are more likely to stop Black drivers.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Policing] [Systemic Racism] [Prison System] [White Culture] [White Supremacy] [White Privilege] [Latino/a] [Myths] [Black Lives Matter] [-ing While Black]

Accounting for Race; A New Way to Compare the Financial Health of Households in States

by Prosperity Now | January 2019
Headlines of national economic strength belie the reality that millions in the US are living in financial precarity. Even worse, families that are still recovering from the last recession will be the first to suffer from the next recession, which many analysts warn is around the corner. Because people of color, particularly Black, Latino, Native American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander people, live in a different economic reality than what oft-cited national data shows, we need to be honest about the impacts race and ethnicity have on economic outcomes. The exploration and acknowledgement of racial and ethnic disparities and their origins make our data clearer and our local, state and federal policies stronger. Solutions to our collective economic peril will remain elusive if we do not center the impact of race and racism.
TAGS: [Strategies] [2010’s] [Systemic Racism] [Economics] [White Supremacy] [White Culture] [White Privilege] [Indigenous] [Asian] [Latino/a] [History] [Housing] [Denial] [Politics] [Employment]

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Dear White People

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Three Candles

Spiritual Foundations

Slave Owners Are in Your Pocket

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History

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Dear White People

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