Hi there. If you’re on this page, it’s probably because you’re a white person looking for information. Thanks for being here. Racism is deeply embedded in our society and no one piece of media or educational resource is going to change that, but by educating yourself more, you can start to make changes in your own personal circle of influence.
The human sexuality space is certainly not free from racism. Modern day gynecology only exists because of experiments non-consensually done on Black and brown people. The queer liberation movement wouldn’t have happened without the work of Black and brown activists. When I say that I teach feminist sex education, I carry that history with me. As a white woman working in this space, I must acknowledge my own internalized biases and continually work to decolonize my understanding of human sexuality. My feminism strives to be gender expansive, queer-centered, and anti-racist — it’s always a work in progress.
The following resources are just small samplings of content that can help you learn more about anti-Black racism in the United States. There are many, many, many other sources you can turn to. But if you’re looking for a place to get started, these are here to help you. Note, however, that these resources all focus on anti-Black racism. Start your journey here, but don’t end it here. Also commit to learning about racism against indigenous people, latinx people, and Asian people. Confront how your biases are different for different groups of people. Begin to understand how those struggles are similar and how they differ.
And importantly, make space for your feelings to be hurt, to feel defensive, and to have a reaction. That’s normal. It’s because you were raised in a racist society. Acknowledging those feelings and moving through them (without projecting them onto people of color) is one critical part of becoming anti-racist.
Anti-Racist Reading List
Adding these books to your wishlist is just the first step. Bring them home, one by one, and read them intentionally. What feelings arise for you as you move through the pages? What reactions are you having in your gut? As you have a reaction, take note of it, then make sure to journal about your reactions afterward. Share the book with a loved one and ask them to commit to reading it, too. Then discuss together. Many of these books have readers’ circle questions available online. Once you have fully digested the book, pass it onward to a friend.
So, You Want to Talk About Race
by: Ijeoma Oluo
How do you tell your roommate her jokes are racist? Why did your sister-in-law take umbrage when you asked to touch her hair–and how do you make it right? How do you explain white privilege to your white, privileged friend? In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to “model minorities” in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.
When They Call You a Terrorist
by: Patrisse Khan-Cullors & asha bandele
Leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement have been called terrorists, a threat to America. But in truth, they are loving women whose life experiences have led them to seek justice for those victimized by the powerful. In this meaningful, empowering account of survival, strength, and resilience, Patrisse Cullors and asha bandele seek to change the culture that declares innocent black life expendable.
by: Robin DiAngelo
In this “vital, necessary, and beautiful book” (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people’ (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.
The New Jim Crow
by: Michelle Alexander
The New Jim Crow is a stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status—denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement. Since its publication in 2010, the book has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for more than a year; been dubbed the “secular bible of a new social movement” by numerous commentators, including Cornel West; and has led to consciousness-raising efforts in universities, churches, community centers, re-entry centers, and prisons nationwide. The New Jim Crow tells a truth our nation has been reluctant to face.
How to Be an Antiracist
by: Ibram X. Kendi
Publishers’ Description: In his memoir, Kendi weaves together an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science–including the story of his own awakening to antiracism–bringing it all together in a cogent, accessible form. He begins by helping us rethink our most deeply held, if implicit, beliefs and our most intimate personal relationships (including beliefs about race and IQ and interracial social relations) and reexamines the policies and larger social arrangements we support. How to Be an Antiracist promises to become an essential book for anyone who wants to go beyond an awareness of racism to the next step of contributing to the formation of a truly just and equitable society.
by: Audre Lorde
Publishers’ Description: In this collection of fifteen essays and speeches, Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change. Her prose is incisive, unflinching, and lyrical, reflecting struggle but ultimately offering messages of hope. This commemorative edition includes a new foreword by Lorde-scholar and poet Cheryl Clarke, who celebrates the ways in which Lorde’s philosophies resonate more than twenty years after they were first published.
Movies & Other Media
Each of these movies, television shows, and podcast episodes deserve your full attention. So, consume them when you’re ready to do so intentionally. Take note of the things that you learn, the reactions that you have. If you are watching it as a group, each take notes, and after the movie, take a break. Return to discuss your reactions, thoughts, and something you didn’t know about. Commit to learning about at least one topic in greater depth.
13th (Documentary — 2016)
Directed by Ava DuVernay, available on Netflix (and currently in full on YouTube)
“Combining archival footage with testimony from activists and scholars, director Ava DuVernay’s examination of the U.S. prison system looks at how the country’s history of racial inequality drives the high rate of incarceration in America.“
Watch it in full below.
The Hate U Give (Film — 2018)
Directed by George Tillman, Jr., available on Hulu with Cinemax add-on, YouTube TV, and for purchase on Amazon
“Starr Carter is constantly switching between two worlds: the poor, mostly black, neighborhood where she lives and the rich, mostly white, prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Now, facing pressures from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what’s right. THE HATE U GIVE is based on the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller by Angie Thomas and stars Amandla Stenberg as Starr, with Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, Issa Rae, KJ Apa, Algee Smith, Sabrina Carpenter, Common and Anthony Mackie.“
When They See Us (Series — 2019)
Directed by Ava DuVernay. Available on Netflix
“In 1989 a jogger was assaulted and raped in New York’s Central Park, and five young people were subsequently charged with the crime. The quintet, labeled the Central Park Five, maintained its innocence and spent years fighting the convictions, hoping to be exonerated. This limited series spans a quarter of a century, from when the teens are first questioned about the incident in the spring of 1989, going through their exoneration in 2002 and ultimately the settlement reached with the city of New York in 2014. The cast is full of Emmy nominees and winners, including Michael K. Williams, John Leguizamo, Felicity Huffman, and Blair Underwood. Oscar nominee and Emmy winner Ava DuVernay co-wrote and directed the four episodes.“
An NPR podcast
“What’s CODE SWITCH? It’s the fearless conversations about race that you’ve been waiting for! Hosted by journalists of color, our podcast tackles the subject of race head-on. We explore how it impacts every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, sports and everything in between. This podcast makes ALL OF US part of the conversation — because we’re all part of the story.”
A New York Times podcast
“An audio series on how slavery has transformed America, connecting past and present through the oldest form of storytelling. 1619 is a New York Times audio series, hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones, that examines the long shadow of American slavery. “
Presented by the African American Policy ForumHosted by Kimberlé Crenshaw (the person who coined the term “intersectionality”), Intersectionality Matters takes a close look at what intersectionality is meant to look like in practice.