Listen to Black Voices: Resources to Dismantle Privilege and Oppression
This morning I guest interviewed on the podcast, Furloughed, with Steve Otterstrom and Leonard Cochran. They booked me so we could speak about my recent article, “Grief & Loneliness: The side effects of COVID-19 that impact us all.” However, given the tragic murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Atatiana Jefferson, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, and thousands of other Black people, we also spoke about the grief and anger about systemic oppression and the current global protests to bring vital change. I hope you will listen, and also explore these resources to learn more about privilege, oppression, and our way forward.
Amplify Black Voices
One of the most important things we can do right now is amplify Black voices. This list of resources from the organization, 500 Women Scientists, does just that. In particular, check out the template document for holding your employer accountable for racial justice.
Move Past Shame
Ibram X. Kendi, author of “How to Be An Antiracist,” this week discussed shame and racism with shame researcher Brené Brown, on her podcast, Unlocking Us. He states, “To grow up in America is to…have racist ideas constantly rained on your head. And you have no umbrella. And you don’t even know that you’re wet with those racist ideas because those racist ideas themselves cause you to imagine you’re dry. And then someone comes along and says, ‘You know what, you’re wet and these ideas are still raining on your head. Here’s an umbrella.’ You can be like, ‘Thank you! I didn’t even realize I was drenched.’ This is why I don’t think people should feel ashamed. There were other people, and very powerful people, and history that was constantly raining those ideas on your head.”
Shame and guilt are normal emotions to feel when you realize you are benefitting at the expense of others. But don't stay stuck there—funnel those feelings into listening, learning, and acting. I recommend Tatiana Mac’s article “Save the Tears: White Woman’s Guide.” Note the date/time of the article—this was written before George Floyd’s death. This fight for justice has been going on for a long time so keep that in mind if you are just awakening now.
Engage Abundant Resources
In the past 2 weeks, these additional resources have been valuable to me:
- Trevor Noah’s piece on why protests are the response to the broken social contract in America, via YouTube
- Rachel Cargle’s piece on why revolution is needed now, via YouTube
- Rep. John Lewis’ piece on “The Dos and Don’ts of a Nonviolent Sit-In Movement.” Lewis states, "Nonviolence is not the absence of violence. It is the presence of justice. It is the presence of bringing the dirt and the filth from under the rug, out of the corners, into the open light so that we can deal with it. To help convince people who may be standing on the sideline, or who may be watching, that this is the right thing to do."
Bear Bold Witness
Finally, read this practical guide to filming injustice. Without the brave actions of Darnella Frazier, the 17-year old who filmed George Floyd’s death, the police would have gotten by with their framing of the incident as him resisting arrest and their use of appropriate strength. Every day, people are brutalized by oppression and injustice. We must be ready to document it and stop it. Here’s a step-by step guide to filming an injustice as a bystander.
Racism isn't getting worse, it's getting filmed ~ Will Smith
Make It Personal
As a white woman, I have been on my own journey of learning about my privilege, and trying to unlearn the overt and covert racism that is part of the air we breathe in the US. It can be a shocking journey to learn that so much of what you have been told about our world and its history is wrong. My first jarring experience came when, in college, I read Dr. Peggy McIntosh’s article White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. I experienced confusion, guilt, and anger learning that I was receiving so many benefits at the expense of people of color. That launched me on a journey of awareness (to become “woke” if you will--but it’s a journey, not a place we ever arrive at), and more importantly, doing the work of trying to unlearn everything I had been taught.
Another book that impacted me was Privilege, Power, and Difference, by Allan Johnson. It gave me great tools for becoming intentionally and actively anti-racist.
Here also are some quotes by Black leaders in history that I have been pondering, and that I urge you to consider.
The thing worse than rebellion is the thing that causes rebellion. ~ Frederick Douglass
That's not a chip on my shoulder. That's your foot on my neck. ~ Malcolm X
A riot is the language of the unheard. ~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
We want to see a world where black lives matter in order for us to get to a world where all of our humanity is respected. ~ Alicia Garza
I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe. ~ George Floyd
The same message has been here for generations. Ending our culture’s violence against Black people is long past due.
You can hear my recent conversation with Steven Otterstrom and Leonard Cochran on Furloughed, the podcast, on: