Resources for Pre-post-racial America

Here are some articles I’ve found thought-provoking in relation to the different themes in the book Pre-Post-Racial America. A few are religious; most are not. They are offered in the hope they’ll let you go deeper in thinking about these issues.

Additionally, people have asked me how they can go deeper in their work around anti-oppression. Here are a few organizations I respect deeply:

And specifically for White people to work with White people in ending systemic racism:

There are also LOTS of organizations practicing anti-oppression values in their organizing work. Seek them out and work with them; practice is the best teacher!

A resource for the whole book:

Throughout the book I talk about “Beloved Community.” I usually use it as a substitute for “the realm (or kindom) of God,” but I borrowed it from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, who borrowed it from theologian Josiah Royce of Fellowship Of Reconciliation (which is a partner of the Oakland Peace Center!). Here are a few references to it that you might enjoy reading about.

  • The King Center in Atlanta discusses how Dr. King understood beloved community (as well as other important elements of his philosophy/theology).
  • Dr. Jeff RItterman of Physicians for Social Responsibility wrote a really interesting article for Huffington Post in January 2014 about the health impacts of practicing Dr. King’s vision of Beloved Community.
  • One of my personal heroes, Grace Lee Boggs, wrote for Yes! Magazine in 2004 about how the world might be different if we had practiced Dr. King’s most radical teachings (about being a beloved community) to heart, and how we could still do it today. In many ways, that is what she did in Detroit with the latter part of her life. (If you don’t know about Grace Lee Boggs, here is a brief bio and her is an excerpt from the film about her fascinating life.)

Introduction

  • I will never say anything as concise and powerful and elegant about why we struggle to navigate racism in America as Chimamanda Adichie does in her 18-minute video “The Danger of the Single Story.” That’s why I excerpt that Ted Talk at the beginning of this chapter.

Chapter One: Fifty Years Later: The Hermeneutics of the Civil Rights Movement

Thinking about the civil rights movement, then and now:

  • This article on the Dream Defenders in Florida: “The group is composed mostly of college-age 20-somethings, though it has some as young as 18 and others in their 50s. They came from across the state to the Tallahassee Capitol building in July with to push for an alternative to Florida’s  “stand your ground” law. During a 31-day sit-in of Gov. Rick Scott’s office, they demanded a review of stand your ground and presented their version, “Trayvon’s law,” which would repeal it. They asked for an end to racial profiling and the school-to-prison pipeline.”
  • This timeline of the civil rights movement in the 1960s from the PBS series “This Far By Faith.”
  • This article in the New Yorker on Isabella Wilkerson’s book The Warmth of Other Suns: “Wilkerson has taken on one of the most important demographic upheavals of the past century—a phenomenon whose dimensions and significance have eluded many a scholar—and told it through the lives of three people no one has ever heard of. Narrative nonfiction is risky; it has to be grabby, telling, and true. To bear analytical weight, it has to be almost frighteningly shrewd. In “The Warmth of Other Suns,” three lives, three people, three stories, are asked to stand in for six million. Can three people explain six million?” Better yet, this interview with the author on Democracy Now.
  • This article by Hamden Rice, “Most of you have no idea what Martin Luther King actually did.” “Lunch counters and buses were crucial symbolic planes of struggle that the civil rights movement used to dramatize the issue, but the main suffering in the south did not come from our inability to drink from the same fountain, ride in the front of the bus or eat lunch at Woolworth’s. It was that white people, mostly white men, occasionally went berserk, and grabbed random black people, usually men, and lynched them. You all know about lynching. But you may forget or not know that white people also randomly beat black people, and the black people could not fight back, for fear of even worse punishment.  This constant low level dread of atavistic violence is what kept the system running. It made life miserable, stressful and terrifying for black people.”
  • This article on Mapping the New Jim Crow“No other country in the world imprisons so many of its racial or ethnic minorities,” writes Alexander. “The United States imprisons a larger percentage of its black population than South Africa did at the height of apartheid.”
  • This essay by civil rights leader Bernard Lafayette on the role of the church in the civil rights movement: “Beyond the immediate goal of changing the unjust policies regarding the buses, the Montgomery movement served to transform the self image of thousands of participants. The concept of becoming maladjusted to the system of segregation on the buses led to a broader transformation of individual and collective identity. (“And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” Rom 12:2). Finding practical application for the scriptures, the participants gathered the resolve and determination to sustain the struggle as long as it took to end segregation on Montgomery buses.”
  • This video by Black Alliance for Just Immigration on the crime that is mass incarceration.

NOTE: There are also many excellent study guides (including religious ones) on the New Jim Crow.

Chapter Two: Border Battles: Can We Migrate into the Beloved Community?

Chapter Three: Murky Terminology

Chapter Four: (The Myth of) The Angry Black Man

 

Chapter Five: Perpetually Liminal: The Myth of the Perpetual Foreigner and In Betweenness

Chapter Six: Isn’t It Really about Class?

Chapter Seven: Race and Religion Post 9/11

  • Deepa Iyer, “Post-9/11 discrimination must end,” USA Today, September 8, 2012.
  • The New York Times op-ed piece on the Tsarvaev’s Whiteness: “In the aftermath of the bombings, we sought to answer two questions: If white people perceived Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as less white, did that influence their support for treating him harshly? (Tamerlan was dead by this point.) And if people varied in how white they considered Mr. Tsarnaev to be, what psychological propensities, if any, determined whether they perceived him as more like “us” or more like “them”?”
  • Fear, Inc., the now-famous report by the Center for American Progress about the intentional cultivation of Islamaphobia for political purposes after 9/11
  • An article on whether Islamophobia is a form of racism.
  • A Christian, South Asian perspective on America post-9/11 and in the midst of #BlackLivesMatter
  • An article on Muslims uniting in support of Black Muslims
  • Three stories of life for Arab Americans and others after 9/11
  • This funny and slightly irreverent buzzfeed article about Muslims speaking the truth in social media.
  • H&M featured their first hijab-wearing model; read about it here.
  • Here’s an interview with a high school student who helped organize the student response to Ahmed Mohamed’s mistreatment for bringing a homemade clock to school. Teenagers are so underestimated!

Chapter Eight: We Are Each Others’ Victims Siblings

  • An article addressing South Asians’ participation in anti-Blackness as a means of being accepted into White American society (using Dinesh D’Souza as an illustration of the point)
  • Ebony magazine featured this story on potential collaboration between Black and Latin@ communities.
  • A deep and painful reflection on tensions between Korean and Black communities by a Korean American scholar.
  • An Arab American leader speaks about solidarity with Black Lives Matter to end America’s culture to preserve White supremacy
  • A Chinese American professor reflects on the model minority myth and Black-Asian solidarity

Chapter Nine: Navigating Privilege

  • The sainthood of Junipero Serra during the Pope’s visit to the US remains a real and troubling issue for Native Americans and should trouble us all.
  • This article talks about a first-ever birth center for Native American women in New Mexico

Chapter Ten: #Every28hours: Dealing with the Grief of Racism in Real Time

Chapter Eleven: But I Don’t Think of You As…” Navigating Mixed Race Identity in a One-or-the-other World

Chapter Twelve: Oppression Olympics, Intersectional Faith and the Integrated Self

Conclusion: Beloved Communities