Categories
Allyship Black Lives Matter

Allyship Check-In: No 9

Hello, lovelies.

I hope you’re hanging in there and staying healthy. I hope you’ve made plans to stay home during Thanksgiving, so we can work to give our hospitals a break and stop passing this virus around. I hope you’ve not lost the feeling of hope the election gave you, with an end to the Trump administration. Yet, I hope you also didn’t take that change as a sign of inaction. Our work is more important now than ever.

This month, of course, I’m sharing more resources to help with each of our own anti-racist journeys. I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the fact that many of the resources I’m linking down below come from the hard work of those on the Anti-Racist Daily team, to which I subscribe for daily email updates. Many of the readings, actions and donation links come from what I learn from their articles. As such, I have become a monthly patreon donor, because you need to pay BIPOC people for the work they do in helping dismantle racism, not just take what you can for free. I hope you consider subscribing and supporting them, too, especially if you are a white reader.

Like I mentioned before, while a lot of these resources are tied and focused to the Black Lives Matter movement, I have started to incorporate other resources about more global events, as well.

Oh, and while I hope this doesn’t need to be said, let’s please keep the comments kind and constructive–though, please never hesitate to call me out if I’ve misstep, if you are comfortable doing that emotional labor you shouldn’t have to do in the first place. I appreciate your assistance in helping me learn and continue to grow into the actual ally I want to be.

Last caveat: I listed a bunch of resources, because I hope you will click on the links and listen to the Black voices who are speaking up, instead of hearing my take. I’m using this as a space to amplify their voices–not add my own commentary to the mix.

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Readings

Videos and Podcasts

**Didn’t watch anything this month; will try to do better next month!**

Petitions to Sign

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Actions

Places to Donate

Books

On Activism

To Read For Fun

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Thank you for taking the time to read through such a lengthy post. I hope some of these resources have been helpful for you! And, if you found something you enjoyed and learned something from, consider supporting that creator, whether it’s through sharing, donating to them, signing up for a mailing list, purchasing their works. It is important that we amplify and share Black voices, but also that we support them and pay them, especially when they are educating us about racism.

Cheers.

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Categories
Allyship Black Lives Matter

Allyship Check-In: No 6

Hello, lovelies.

I hope you’re hanging in there and staying healthy. At this point, that’s all you can do.

Since I really liked I how I wrote this before, I’m going to quote it again, in case this is your first time reading this type of “wrap-up”:

Like I mentioned before, I wanted to compile different resources and actions to post here once a month. Many of the resources below, I’ve either already read/watched/listen to or plan to. I’ll share petitions to sign and donation links (which, while I can’t donate to everything, due to my own financial situation, I’d like to continue sharing and hope to at least donate to one thing, once a month, if I can).

I realize this is a blog you may have followed to read my book reviews, my writing rants, my mental health oversharing or any other plethora of posts that I usually write, so having activism and allyship resources also being added to the mix might surprise you or feel “off-brand”. That says a lot more about myself and the lack of work I should have been doing before, but this is something I will continue doing, going forward. If that makes you want to unsubscribe, I want to ask yourself why. Perhaps it can help you start your own journey dismantling white privilege, if you are a white reader.

And while a lot of these resources are tied and focused to the Black Lives Matter movement, I have started to incorporate other resources about more global events, as well.

Oh, and while I hope this doesn’t need to be said, let’s please keep the comments kind and constructive–though, please never hesitate to call me out if I’ve misstep, if you are comfortable doing that emotional labor you shouldn’t have to do in the first place. I appreciate your assistance in helping me learn and continue to grow into the actual ally I want to be.

Last caveat: I listed a bunch of resources, because I hope you will click on the links and listen to the Black voices who are speaking up, instead of hearing my take. I’m using this as a space to amplify their voices–not add my own commentary to the mix.

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Readings

  • Block the Vote: Voter Suppression in 2020
    • “Suppression efforts range from the seemingly unobstructive, like voter ID laws and cuts to early voting, to mass purges of voter rolls and systemic disenfranchisement. And long before election cycles even begin, legislators can redraw district lines that determine the weight of your vote. Certain communities are particularly susceptible to suppression and in some cases, outright targeted — people of color, students, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

      Below, we’ve listed some of the most rampant methods of voter suppression across the country — and the advocacy and litigation efforts aimed at protecting our fundamental right to vote.”

  • Explore the website End Adultification Bias and read stories about how adultification has harmed and stereotyped young black girls.
  • Read about the Junk Terror Law happening in the Philippines right now

Videos and Podcasts

Petitions to Sign

  • Support New Orleans Sanitation Workers: This petition advocates of raising the minimum pay of New Orleans Sanitation Workers (working in a place where $26 per hour is the living wage to support a family of four) at least $15 an hour, instead of the $10.25, without benefits, include hazard pay and provide PPE equipment.
  • Racism, not race, is killing Black, Brown and Indigenous people in our health care system: Discusses the actions we need to take (like passing laws in Congress and “transforming training requirements for health care officials for all health professionals to deliver anti-racist, culturally humble care rooted in human rights”) in order to protect BIPOC women from dying during or after pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Demand Justice for Breonna Taylor: Her killers, Louisville Metro Police Department officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove, are still walking free. Please don’t be silent and continue to fight for her justice.
  • Demand Justice for Emmett Till: Emmett was kidnapped, tortured, lynched and killed 65 years ago and he’s never received justice. Please read this petition on ways you can help change that.
  • Save the USPS: I can’t believe this is something we even need to fight over, but here we are.
  • Demand DA Dave Young’s Resignation over the handling of Elijah McClain’s case: “Elijah McClain was a 23 year old vegetarian. He died after suffering a heart attack en route to hospital after being bludgeoned by the police, placed in a choke hold, and then forcefully injected with ketamine. His death was not an accident. If Dave Young cannot recognize that the actions of the police and fire department lead to the death of Elijah McClain then he is not fit to serve the people of Aurora.”
  • Stop Shooting Our Children: Waycross Police Officer Jesse Shook and Lt. Scott Rowell shot at four black children in Waycross, Georgia this past weekend, after they were going home from a football game. Sign the petition to demand these officers are held accountable for these actions.
  • Cancel Student Debt: “Canceling student debt in response to the Coronavirus crisis will help the 45 million people with student loans and stimulate the economy when it is needed most. It will allow borrowers to purchase the necessities their families depend on: food on their table, a roof over their head, and critical healthcare.”

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Actions

Places to Donate

Books

On Activism

To Read For Fun

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Thank you for taking the time to read through such a lengthy post. I hope some of these resources have been helpful for you! And, if you found something you enjoyed and learned something from, consider supporting that creator, whether it’s through sharing, donating to them, signing up for a mailing list, purchasing their works. It is important that we amplify and share Black voices, but also that we support them and pay them, especially when they are educating us about racism.

Cheers.post signature

Categories
Allyship Black Lives Matter

Allyship Check-In: No 5

Hello, lovelies.

I hope you’re all doing well and trying to do whatever you can to take care of yourself and your family. I hope part of that care is realizing that the Black Lives Matter movement is something that not only has been–and will continue to be–something that is here to stay, regardless of whether or not it’s trending and there is coverage; but that it is also something to get involved in and educated about, if you weren’t already.

Like I mentioned before, I allowed myself to use my privilege to not get involved before, because it didn’t directly affect me. That has changed in the past two months, as I have actively become more engaged and listened more, in regards to confronting my own white privilege, recognizing systemic racism and doing the work to help realize the part I play, both consciously and not, to support this system, so that I can do the work to help break it down.

Last month, I shared weekly posts over the work I did following the Justice in June monthly guide. Going forward, I wanted to compile different resources and actions to post here once a month. Many of the resources below, I’ve either already read/watched/listen to or plan to. I’ll share petitions to sign and donation links (which, while I can’t donate to everything, due to my own financial situation, I’d like to continue sharing and hope to at least donate to one thing, once a month, if I can).

I realize this is a blog you may have followed to read my book reviews, my writing rants, my mental health oversharing or any other plethora of posts that I usually write, so having activism and allyship resources also being added to the mix might surprise you or feel “off-brand”. That says a lot more about myself and the lack of work I should have been doing before, but this is something I will continue doing, going forward. If that makes you want to unsubscribe, I want to ask yourself why. Perhaps it can help you start your own journey dismantling white privilege.

Oh, and while I hope this doesn’t need to be said, let’s please keep the comments kind and constructive–though, please never hesitate to call me out if I’ve misstep, if you are comfortable doing that emotional labor you shouldn’t have to do in the first place. I appreciate your assistance in helping me learn and continue to grow into the actual ally I want to be.

Last caveat: I listed a bunch of resources, because I hope you will click on the links and listen to the Black voices who are speaking up, instead of hearing my take. I’m using this as a space to amplify their voices–not add my own commentary to the mix.

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Readings

Videos and Podcasts

Petitions to Sign

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Actions

  • Sign up for this newsletter, the Anti-Racism Daily, that brings daily actions and information to dismantle white supremacy
    • I really like this. Not only because it is a completely manageable bit in your inbox, but it introduces a topic, gives you an action to do, like signing a petition and then gives you information to read, alongside a summary of key takeaways. It’s really fantastic. Some topics I’ve learned about since signing up are:
      • How black hair has been a source for microaggression in culture appropriation
      • About “African American Vernacular English (AAVE), [which] is a dialect of English that is spoken by Black people in America. It sounds different from Standard American English (SAE)” and it is often a source of discrimination, cultural appropriation, code-switching and microaggressions against Black people.
      • The importance of analyzing representation in media, from not only making sure we diversify who we hire to work and perform in media, but also that we are allowing those identities to be able to tell their stories
      • Gentrification (the displacement of working-class individuals by middle-class individuals)
  • Take this Race Privilege Questionnaire to help demonstrate you see different areas in which racial discrimination against those with non-white skin shows up in many areas those with white skin don’t think about, due to white privilege. If you become angry at your score and how much privilege you have, ask yourself why you’re angry. Are you angry because you didn’t ask for privilege and being confronted with acknowledging it makes you feel threatened? Or are you angry because you see just how ingrained, from daily tasks to education to jobs, racial injustice and inequality is? Sit with your answer.
    • For transparency, I scored a 30 out of 30, showing that, as a white woman, I am very privileged when it comes to race.
  • Contact your Senator to pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act, not only in honor and in memory of Rep. John Lewis, but also to help advocate for better voting rights and protections for all.
  • Become a Patreon to support Anti-Racism Daily newsletter!
  • Support one of these 9 Black-owned Eco-Friendly + Sustainable Businesses
  • Choose to participate in Plastic Free July
    • I realize it’s now practically August, but doesn’t mean you can’t do it in August!
  • Sign up for the Collective Resiliency Summit, which “bringing together the leaders, changemakers, and pioneers who are creating a future of a sustainability industry and climate movement that is inclusive, equitable, and reimagines the relationship between people and planet.”

Places to Donate

Books

On Activism

To Read For Fun

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Thank you for taking the time to read through such a lengthy post. I hope some of these resources have been helpful for you! And, if you found something you enjoyed and learned something from, consider supporting that creator, whether it’s through sharing, donating to them, signing up for a mailing list, purchasing their works. It is important that we amplify and share Black voices, but also that we support them and pay them, especially when they are educating us about racism.

Cheers.post signature

Categories
Allyship Black Lives Matter

Allyship Check-In: No 3

Hello, lovelies.

This is part of a new “blog series,” though I don’t like to call it that, because this is so much more than just a blog series that I’ll do temporarily. This is something I want to make part of my daily routine, something that I actively improve throughout my entire life: being a better ally towards groups who I’ve claimed to be an ally since college, yet never did anything to actually make that true.

So, as I spoke about before, I am following the Justice in June monthly guide to help make confronting my own white privilege and the racist system we’re built upon part of my day; to help build a foundation to start my lifelong journey as an actual ally. And I’m sharing this to make sure that a) readers of this platform know where I stand, b) that I use my voice to share what I’ve learned and share resources and c) encourage discussion and discourse and further learning with my readers.

Read past weeks here and here.

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Day Fifteen: The Intersectionality Wars by Jane Coaston

…intersectionality as “not really concerned with shallow questions of identity and representation but…more interested in the deep structural and systemic questions about discrimination and inequality.”

[…]

“There have always been people, from the very beginning of the civil rights movement, who had denounced the creation of equality rights on the grounds that it takes something away from them.”

What I learned: I learned that Intersectionality is first coined by Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw. I learned how it evolved from something she worked on as a matter of law and form of discrimination in courts that suddenly took flight and become a widespread phenomena, becoming defined as, “the idea that people experience discrimination differently depending on their overlapping identities,” — which absolutely makes sense to me.

However, intersectionality isn’t arguing for trying to create a “new caste system” where the straight white male goes from the top to the bottom, as many conservatives fear. Instead, it is trying to destroy the system that allowed this discrimination and inequality in the first place. It is summed up best in the article, so I’m going to offer the quote here:

But Crenshaw said that contrary to her critics’ objections, intersectionality isn’t “an effort to create the world in an inverted image of what it is now.” Rather, she said, the point of intersectionality is to make room “for more advocacy and remedial practices” to create a more egalitarian system.

In short, Crenshaw doesn’t want to replicate existing power dynamics and cultural structures just to give people of color power over white people, for example. She wants to get rid of those existing power dynamics altogether — changing the very structures that undergird our politics, law, and culture in order to level the playing field.

Follow-Up Reading

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Day Sixteen and Seventeen: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh 

As a white person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something that puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see one of its corollary aspects, white privilege, which puts me at an advantage.
[…]
 In my class and place, I did not see myself as a racist because I was taught to recognize racism only in individual acts of meanness by members of my group, never in invisible systems conferring unsought racial dominance on my group from birth.”

What I Learned: I really loved how McIntosh brings to light that racism isn’t just a purposeful act of meanness or discrimination, but how it is also failing to recognize that the very systems we’ve built our country upon are racist and needs to be addressed at the root. Our silence against racism is just as important to recognize as a racist part of ourselves as actually a purposeful act of meanness.

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Day Eighteen: The Power of Martin Luther King Jr’s Anger by NPR’s All Things Considered

 Martin Luther King, Jr. realized that non-violent resistance offered a way to channel anger into positive forms of protest.”

What I Learned: This article and podcast recording discuss the anger of Martin Luther King Jr and how we learned to channel that anger in the positive force of protest that we’ve learned about today and continue to demonstrate as a way to express anger at the injustices that still remain. It is okay, and natural, to feel anger, especially when looking through the lens of racism and seeing all of the atrocities committed because of it. But it’s also important to know how to channel and use that anger to create change, like through peaceful protesting, voting and amplifying the own voices of those truly affected by what you’re fighting against.

divider 3Day Nineteen: Advocate for police de-escalation training to your local PD and government

Hello Chief Officer Burns,
My name is Nicole Evans and I am one of the residents here in Lawrence. In light of the recent public focus on police brutality against black residents, I wanted to reach out and advocate that our police force here in Lawrence not only require mandatory de-escalation training, but make that the mandatory first response when handling civil disputes.
I know on Twitter, it has been confirmed that this is already implemented. However, in your Policy Training Manual, under Section 428.3, it quotes that “Civil disputes tend to be confrontational and members should be alert that they can escalate to violence very quickly. De-escalation techniques should be used when appropriate.”
I would like to advocate that the LPD policies be updated so that de-escalation becomes a mandatory response, instead of an encouraged option.
I also ask that all members of the department are trained in racial justice and anti-racism, as part of your training, and that this training is updated and revisited often.
I know that this work has already started, according to the District Attorney, but I ask that the LPD continue to not only do this work, but let our city and people know how this work is being done and keep us updated, so that we as a town, can continue to come together to fight systemic racial injustice.
Thank you so much for your time.
Cheers,
Nicole

What I Learned: Honestly, this was a bit terrifying to do, because reaching out directly to our police force directly made me feel like I was putting myself directly in the line of fire. Am I going to be targeted for speaking out? Will be be arrested for using my voice? But, of course, isn’t that what black people do every day, by simply existing? That’s wrong on so many levels and I don’t even have an inkling of the terror a black person must feel, living in an white-dominated society and system.

Educating myself is great, but it means nothing if I’m not willing to act, which is why I sent that email today.

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Day Twenty and Twenty One: How to Overcome Biases; Walk Boldly Towards Them by Vernā Myers

…help us reform our images of young black men, three things I am hoping that will not only protect them, but also open the world so they can thrive.
Can you imagine that?
Can you imagine our country embracing black young men, seeing them as part of our future?”

What I Learned: That quote above gave me chills. Her three tips:

  1. Get out of denial. What is your default? Who are you afraid of? Who do you trust?
  2. Move toward young black men instead of away from them, i.e., walk towards your discomfort
  3. Be willing to act out against those who speak in racist ways–including your family

Confront your associations. Confront your biases. Recognize them. And then do the work to unlearn them and do better.

Cheers.post signature

Categories
Allyship Black Lives Matter

Allyship Check-In: No 2

Hello, lovelies.

This is part of a new “blog series,” though I don’t like to call it that, because this is so much more than just a blog series that I’ll do temporarily. This is something I want to make part of my daily routine, something that I actively improve throughout my entire life: being a better ally towards groups who I’ve claimed to be an ally since college, yet never did anything to actually make that true.

So, as I spoke about last week, I am following the Justice in June monthly guide to help make confronting my own white privilege and the racist system we’re built upon part of my day; to help build a foundation to start my lifelong journey as an actual ally. And I’m sharing this to make sure that a) readers of this platform know where I stand, b) that I use my voice to share what I’ve learned and share resources and c) encourage discussion and discourse and further learning with my readers.

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Day Eight, Nine and Ten: The 1619 Project

The 1619 Project is a series of essays that set out to reframe the way we’ve been taught history and highlight how much racism and the foundation of slavery paved the paths that make out our society today.

This is a quote from the introduction:

“Out of slavery — and the anti-black racism it required — grew nearly everything that has truly made America exceptional: its economic might, its industrial power, its electoral system, its diet and popular music, the inequities of its public health and education, its astonishing penchant for violence, its income inequality, the example it sets for the world as a land of freedom and equality, its slang, its legal system and the endemic racial fears and hatreds that continue to plague it to this day. The seeds of all that were planted long before our official birth date, in 1776, when the men known as our founders formally declared independence from Britain.

The goal of The 1619 Project is to reframe American history by considering what it would mean to regard 1619 as our nation’s birth year. Doing so requires us to place the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are as a country.”

And this is a quote that summarizes just how important it is that we not only acknowledge that history has been warped to shine positive light on the white man when the reality is much darker, but we also much recognize what black people have gone through historically, so we can better understand what they are going through currently:

A word of warning: There is gruesome material in these stories, material that readers will find disturbing. That is, unfortunately, as it must be. American history cannot be told truthfully without a clear vision of how inhuman and immoral the treatment of black Americans has been. By acknowledging this shameful history, by trying hard to understand its powerful influence on the present, perhaps we can prepare ourselves for a more just future.

That is the hope of this project.

I only read two articles so far, but I plan to continue reading until I’ve read all of them. The following points stood out the most, which are quotes from each article, as I want you to read from the authors’ voices themselves.

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America Wasn’t a Democracy, Until Black Americans Made it One by Nikole Hannah-Jones

  • “They were among the 12.5 million Africans who would be kidnapped from their homes and brought in chains across the Atlantic Ocean in the largest forced migration in human history until the Second World War. Almost two million did not survive the grueling journey, known as the Middle Passage.”
  • “The United States is a nation founded on both an ideal and a lie. Our Declaration of Independence, approved on July 4, 1776, proclaims that “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” But the white men who drafted those words did not believe them to be true for the hundreds of thousands of black people in their midst. “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” did not apply to fully one-fifth of the country. Yet despite being violently denied the freedom and justice promised to all, black Americans believed fervently in the American creed. Through centuries of black resistance and protest, we have helped the country live up to its founding ideals. And not only for ourselves — black rights struggles paved the way for every other rights struggle, including women’s and gay rights, immigrant and disability rights.”
  • “Conveniently left out of our founding mythology is the fact that one of the primary reasons some of the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery.”
  • “Just a few months earlier, they had families, and farms, and lives and dreams. They were free. They had names, of course, but their enslavers did not bother to record them. They had been made black by those people who believed that they were white, and where they were heading, black equaled “slave,” and slavery in America required turning human beings into property by stripping them of every element that made them individuals. This process was called seasoning, in which people stolen from western and central Africa were forced, often through torture, to stop speaking their native tongues and practicing their native religions.”
  • “Black people suffered under slavery for 250 years; we have been legally “free” for just 50. Yet in that briefest of spans, despite continuing to face rampant discrimination, and despite there never having been a genuine effort to redress the wrongs of slavery and the century of racial apartheid that followed, black Americans have made astounding progress, not only for ourselves but also for all Americans.”
  • “What if America understood, finally, in this 400th year, that we have never been the problem but the solution?”

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Why Doesn’t America Have Universal Health Care? It has everything to do with race by Jeneen Interlandi

  • “That fight put the National Medical Association (the leading black medical society) into direct conflict with the A.M.A., which was opposed to any nationalized health plan. In the late 1930s and the 1940s, the group helped defeat two such proposals with a vitriolic campaign that informs present-day debates: They called the idea socialist and un-American and warned of government intervention in the doctor-patient relationship. The group used the same arguments in the mid-’60s, when proponents of national health insurance introduced Medicare. This time, the N.M.A. developed a countermessage: Health care was a basic human right.”
  • “The 1964 Civil Rights Act outlawed segregation for any entity receiving federal funds, and the new health care programs soon placed every hospital in the country in that category. But they still excluded millions of Americans. Those who did not fit into specific age, employment or income groups had little to no access to health care.”
  • “One hundred and fifty years after the freed people of the South first petitioned the government for basic medical care, the United States remains the only high-income country in the world where such care is not guaranteed to every citizen. In the United States, racial health disparities have proved as foundational as democracy itself. “There has never been any period in American history where the health of blacks was equal to that of whites,” Evelynn Hammonds, a historian of science at Harvard University, says. “Disparity is built into the system.” Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act have helped shrink those disparities. But no federal health policy yet has eradicated them.”

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What I learned: I was reminded that our own history lessons are tailored and pandered by white privilege. I didn’t know that 12.5 million Africans were kidnapped and enslaved, with 400,000 sold to America. I learned who Robert Hemings was–someone who’s name never made it to my history books I was taught from, yet Thomas Jefferson’s certainly did. I learned about how slavery impacted the reasons why the colonists wanted to be independent from Britain–a nation that was beginning to question the slave trade in 1776, while America was discovering ways we could profit from it.

I learned about President Lincoln’s plan to ship off those who were previously enslaved, since they had “no place in a country of white men”. I learned about the Equal Rights League. It wasn’t until the ratification of the 14th amendment, in 1868, that the claim “all men are created equal” actually had a chance to ring true. I learned about the beating of Isaac Woodard. I read about the false ideology of black people belonging to an inferior, subhuman race that was used as a way of thinking to forgive white guilt and used as permission to promote and forgive grotesque white violence against black people in both the present and the past.

I learned about Rebecca Lee Crumpler, the nation’s first black female doctor. It wasn’t until 1964 that the Civil Rights Act finally ended hospital segregation–only 60 years ago.

I learned so much that I should have already known, but it wasn’t taught in our schools. It’s something I want to start pushing back on and something I definitely will be ensuring isn’t something my children go through, even if that means self-teaching them, if the curriculum isn’t updated by then.

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Day Eleven: When Civility is Used as a Cudgel Against People of Color from NPR’s All Things Considered 

That belief would indicate that some people are innately civil, while others need to have civility taught to — or imposed upon — them. Johnson says this is part of the underlying rationale for the enslavement of Africans imported into America and the genocide of Native peoples.

“People of color don’t get to orchestrate the terms of civility,” she explains. “Instead, we’re always responding to what civility is supposed to be.”

What I Learned: How civility is a term that we love to throw around in politics, yet it’s something where we expect black people need to be taught how to be civil, yet when they are protesting for their right to sit and eat amongst white people at the same table in the 1960s or their right to not be killed by kneeling on a football field, it is these calm demonstrations of fighting for their rights that are met with physical violence and verbal abuse by their white peers, begging the question: who’s civility should we be questioning, here? And, reminding us to acknowledge that civil unrest is necessary and required when so many are unequal, harmed and killed in our country because of the color of their skin.

I also added Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper to my reading list.

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Day Twelve: Register to vote!

What I Learned: I was already registered to vote, but I double checked again using the website linked above. Please make sure you are also registered, make sure your friends are and do your research before you vote this November!

divider 3Day Thirteen and Fourteen: Let’s get to the root of racial injustice by Megan Ming Francis on TedTalks

“It shouldn’t take a university website profile to be viewed as non-threatening.

We must pay closer attention to the treatment of black people.”

What I Learned: She focused on instead of fixating on how to fix the problem of police brutality, we must focus instead on the root causes on why policy brutality against blacks–because “fixes that don’t address the root causes aren’t fixes at all.” For yes, we can fire a police officer who kills an unarmed black man takes away that one police officer who should never have been in that position before, but it doesn’t solve the issue that police officers are set up in a system that allows for intense brutality and death against blackness–something our system equates to criminality.

She also shares how her brother was cuffed and shoved against the ground and the walls when searched for drugs he didn’t have and only was released when he could prove when he was in college. Or how she has detained at an airport for bringing a weapon–a ring that covered two fingers instead of one, which the TSA agent saw as threatening brass knuckles–and only her college professorship got her out “so quickly,” as apparently this TSA agent did this all of the time.

Black people SHOULD NOT only be viewed as people through their credentials. Black people shouldn’t be automatically viewed as a threat. As she states, we must acknowledge this problem isn’t just with police, but how every white person is complicit and helps support, even through unconscious microaggression to silence, a system that supports us treating black people differently–often as lesser or dangerous–due to the color of their skin. And we must treat that system, before we can truly understand and tackle police brutality against black people.

Please also look at the 8toAbolition campaign about the steps we can take against police bruality, but also, please do the personal work of understanding what we can do to break down the system that created this possibility in the first place.

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Thank you for reading through such a lengthy post! I hope it helped teach you something new, found a new resource for you to share so you can continue to speak up about the rampant racism in our country and helped you reflect on your failings and ways you can improve, to be an ally in a movement which, at it’s crux, is just asking the world to see black people as people, and treat them as such.

Cheers.post signature

Categories
Allyship Black Lives Matter

Allyship Check-In No 1

Hello, lovelies.

This is part of a new “blog series,” though I don’t like to call it that, because this is so much more than just a blog series that I’ll do temporarily. This is something I want to make part of my daily routine, something that I actively improve throughout my entire life: being a better ally towards groups who I’ve claimed to be an ally since college, yet never did anything to actually make that true.

So, as I spoke about last week, I am following the Justice in June monthly guide to help make confronting my own white privilege and the racist system we’re built upon part of my day; to help build a foundation to start my lifelong journey as an actual ally. And I’m sharing this to make sure that a) readers of this platform know where I stand, b) that I use my voice to share what I’ve learned and share resources and c) encourage discussion and discourse and further learning with my readers.

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Day One: Who Gets to Be Afraid in America by Ibram X. Kendi

This article centers on the death of Ahmaud Arbery, who was out for a run, before he was shot and killed by white men who perceived him for being a threat, for simply going on on a daily jog in his own neighborhood. It discusses how black males, in particular, have to live in a state of fear for the fear white people claim to feel because of them being black men, paying attention to not who they are as individuals, but what they are by their skin color.

The following quotes stood out the most:

“Black males have been made into the fathers of fear. But the fears of black men are bastards. Broods we never wanted, but can’t escape. All these bastards are coming after us, suspecting us continuously, terrorizing us constantly, and we can’t escape. The black man can’t escape the fear of the black man.

I just don’t think Americans fully realize how terrorizing it is to black males when we are falsely suspected as violent criminals. All Americans seem to be thinking about is their fear of us—not our fear of their fear. Black males fear racist fear because we know from experience what happens when the police are called, when the Klan is called, when faces are reddened, when purses or ropes or guns are clutched, when they cross the street away from us, or cross the street toward us clutching their police badges, or their badges of white masculinity.”

What I learned: that black men have to experience the fear of being portrayed as something to be feared and how even daily events, like running, will be used and twisted as an excuse to act upon that senseless fear.

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Day Two and Three: The Coronavirus Was an Emergency Until Trump Realized Who was Dying by Adam Serwer, of The Atlantic

But the pandemic has introduced a new clause to the racial contract. The lives of disproportionately black and brown workers are being sacrificed to fuel the engine of a faltering economy, by a president who disdains them. This is the COVID contract. Although the full picture remains unclear, researchers have found that disproportionately black counties “account for more than half of coronavirus cases and nearly 60 percent of deaths.”* The disproportionate burden that black and Latino Americans are bearing is in part a direct result of their overrepresentation in professions where they risk exposure, and of a racial gap in wealth and income that has left them more vulnerable to being laid off. Black and Latino workers are overrepresented among the essential, the unemployed, and the dead.

What I Learned: The idea of the “racial contract” that is an individual, unconscious contract that says whites can do things to black people and get away with things that black people cannot, creating a double standard based on race that is dangerous and deadly for black people. Then, it builds upon this idea, introduced by the philosopher Charles W. Mills in their book by the same title, with how it is evolved into the COVID Contract, examining how black people are disproportionately effected by the health and government systems that are not only set in place, but also their response to the pandemic.

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Day Four: ‘Your Body Being Used’: Where Prisoners Who Can’t Vote Fill Voting Districts

What I Learned: That the census using prisoners to count as numbers in the city they are currently imprisoned, not where they are from–which could change voting lines, also known as prison gerrymandering.

Day Five: Defund Police Email

What I Learned: Not only did I learn more about my own city and how they use their budget, but I also took an active role in emailing and asking for change. Now, I’ll need to do a better job following my local news and make sure our leaders are listening to these demands and taking police defunding seriously, and vote accordingly.

Day Six and Seven: How Studying Privileged Can Strengthen Compassion by Peggy McIntosh

What I Learned: Needing to unlearn how we are taught to believe that white is knowledge and that anyone who isn’t white suddenly has less knowledge; though it is true that, because of white privilege, it creates the systems that allows whites to obtain more knowledge and opportunities–and we haven’t necessarily earned these opportunities through any other means than sometimes by nothing more than but our white skin.

Question to ask yourself: what do I get as unearned advantages that black people do not get? Continue asking this until you can identity these areas and then figure out what you can do to change them.

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I hope this post helped you learn something new, whether it was about prison gerrymandering to the idea of the racial contract to how to write to your local officials and start the conversation for defunding the police. Let me know your thoughts down below or any other resources you’ve found particularly helpful! Together, we can break down this system built on racism and white privilege and create something where the system supports movements like black lives matter.

Cheers.post signature