Listening to BIPOC and learning anti-racism

Hi, totally open to name change of someone has a better one.

This thread is to share links to resources and learning how to be anti-racist and rework our frames of thought.

Please follow the forum spirit of caring for each other and learning from each other and be respectful and kind. Intersectionality welcome.

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saved for listing resources later

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Thanks for launching this @LadyDuck.

I have done several of the online Harvard tests for implicit bias.

I have also done a seminar in microaggressions.

These might be of interest to others. They are not anti-racist per se, but I think it does help to get some idea of how pervasive this all is and to assess where your own head is at.

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Most of my resources are on Instagram as the platform I use most often. The following accounts are good to follow, please do not engage with them; listen, observe and learn from their work.

https://instagram.com/theconsciouskid?igshid=s0izjir54jt7

This account also shares highly valuable anti-racist resources and education.

https://instagram.com/ajabarber?igshid=17oe61s7xm84d

UK based with powerful messages about racism and fast fashion. Grid for the fashion, stories for the education.

https://instagram.com/ihartericka?igshid=r42wfg0ft5p7

Education in grid and stories. She does not coddle. Probably the most important person to follow who is in my feed.

https://instagram.com/adriennemareebrown?igshid=1cfdfbk6j5wto

Author of Pleasure Activism (that I’m still reading through), Emergent Strategy (on my to-read list) and devout follower of the visionary Octavia Butler. She has words of wisdom and a soothing singing voice. Emphasis on maintenance, rest, recovery, sustainable action and resistance in joy.

ETA: as @Gdogg mentioned, implicit bias tests are excellent resources and very easy to find using your favorite search engine!

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Hi I just want to check in here regarding how to do this well while also not messing with Instagram algorithms. I understand that DM’s waste their time, but is engaging in discussions in their comments section useful?
@Ckni27 I know I discussed the algorithms with you recently, though on a different topic?

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As far as I’ve been told, liking and sharing is fine/good, but asking questions and engaging in arguments in DMs and comments is not.

What it boils down to:

“Am I placing more of a burden on this person or asking them to perform more unpaid work by asking this question/leaving this comment?”

With the exception of TheConsciousKid, the other accounts are also very visibly run by Black people and not for the benefit of white folks. It’s essentially not our space and we should respect it as such, if that makes sense.

I know absolutely nothing about algorithms, however.

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What @Illathrael said. As long as you’re not throwing more work back on the creator to educate you or engaging in nonsense in the comments (not that you would) it’s fine. If you share things make sure you give credit but other than that you’re good! Any creator wants likes/comments/shares it’s more about the emotional labor when people come in with the nonsense.

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OK good I was just checking that it would be fine for me to just follow & like without commenting. :+1:

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This recent episode of the podcast Hidden Brain is an excellent introduction to these tests, for those who are not familiar with them. There are quite a few other episodes about race and bias that are excellent, too.

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I love Hidden Brain.

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If anyone wants to do a book club reading So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo I’m in. I’ve been meaning to read it for ages. She is awesome.

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Question:

Facebook is the platform I use the most. I have been trying to amplify BIPOC voices by sharing their posts and have been choosing NOT to comment on the share in most cases – I feel that their words/their message speaks for itself and does not need further commentary from me as a white person to validate it. Is this the right approach?

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I think that depends on your audience. When I share and attach my comment to the post, it’s because I want my (white) friends and family to click, read, and pay attention for something specific.

It sometimes fosters discussion, and I feel it makes it more likely for them to actually click and read in the first place.

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I have the audiobooks cued

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Find a community or group in which you are a minority - skin colour, political position, gender, whatever. It doesn’t actually matter.

Attend.

Repeat attending, until someone decides to have a casual conversation with you. About your weekend, or how your day was.

Repeat the casual conversations, until someone invites you to spend time with them outside the traditional venue.

Attend.

Repeat attending, until you end up having a more in-depth conversation about literally anything.

Repeat the more in-depth conversation, until you feel it’s appropriate to bring up whatever make you the minority in the the community - skin, political position, gender, whatever. If they decline the conversation, move on. If they discuss, well, you listen. Boom!

The project will probably take years, and leave you with enduring friendships that may, or may not be ones that address your differences. What the hell do you have to risk?

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I follow Roxane Gay and Tressie McMillan Cottom on Twitter. They are professors, authors, intellectuals, and dear friends. They also have a podcast together: “Hear to Slay”. I have learned a ton from just listening to them.

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I’ve followed The Root and The Grio for a long time, both are Black-run news sources which I recommend.

Clipped for length

I also follow a lot of Black activists/have made friends with online, but that’s mostly adaptive or from the positivity world, like Wesley Hamilton, Imani Barbarin, Shola Richards (the nicest man maybe ever), etc. Actually his brother Doyin is currently running The Anti-Racism Fight Club, which may be of interest!

https://doyinrichards.com/arfc/

I don’t doubt the value or place for specific anti-racism writing (and I read a decent amount in college, and also I do look that stuff up when I have a more intellectual or specific question, like about the prison system or red lining, etc.) and I’m not trying to diss that type of writing at all, but I personally find it to be really intellectualized and academic a lot of the time, and also representative of just a sliver of the Black experience.

Just like any group there are tremendous socioeconomic and geographic differences, and those breed lots of other differences. I guess my point is, there is still a privilege hierarchy within disenfranchised groups. For me personally (trying to add all the disclaimers here, lol) I feel like I often get more out of just consuming media that was written by and for a Black audience, and like @Able_Jack said by having friends from different backgrounds!

One pointed thing I do is make sure whenever I am researching an issue or wondering about something to get research from non-white sources as well as mainstream (read: white) sources. So like, when I started being interested in economics I was recommended lots of books (all by white people). I read a one of those, but then I literally googled “famous black economist” and found a ton of other books and a slew of Black economists! I also really like listening to lectures on youtube from prominent Black thinkers (some academic and some non-academic) on various topics across both sides of the aisle.

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I hope it’s ok to pull your quote over here because this is the idea I was getting at.

A lot of the language we use around Indigenous people was designed to erase their culture. Equally bad, we have commodified and romanticized the Otherness to further reduce the legitimacy of Indigenous cultures. Most of us know someone who does not have tribal enrollment who has said “I’m 1/x Native” in conversation - this is harmful in the greater context of systemic oppression and cultural genocide.

It undermines a core tenet of tribal sovereignty which allows tribes the right to determine citizenship.

White Americans claiming to be Native effectively drown out Native voices and experiences. There are multiple examples in recent years of people presenting themselves as Native in art, business, politics. This happens with other BPOC too. But no other oppressed group has been commodified to the same extent - sure there’s Aunt Jemima removed from syrup bottles just now, but there are hundreds of thousands of Native symbols and names and caricatures in fashion, sports, media…

In the last census almost twice as many people claimed to be Cherokee than are enrolled in the three Cherokee tribes. That’s something like 500k people*. Not all of them are walking around making claims about what it means to be Cherokee, but some probably are, and that means the voices of Cherokee people are not being heard.

For me to state in conversation that I’m 1/4 Sioux, while living as a white woman, regardless of the reason I’m saying it, only adds to the pile of ways we have tried to erase the legitimacy of Indigenous people and their experiences.

*I was going to edit numbers and add sources but my computer w/notes saved is being dumb so 500k is not accurate but I remember it being in the mid-hundred-thousand range.

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Arghhh my actual computer isn’t cooperating with me - there is a very interesting (to me) history of claiming Cherokee lineage in particular and how it’s tied into Black slavery and support of the Confederacy. I can’t access my random notes on primary sources, harrumph.

Here’s a totally random Google find that briefly touches on this, in internet-article style
https://www.google.com/amp/s/timeline.com/amp/p/cf6be035967e

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Written by Julie Cordero-Lamb. Relevant to the discussion.

I want to tell a story about an invisible elephant.

Once upon a time, when I was in graduate school at UCSB, the department of religious studies held a symposium on diasporic religious communities in the United States. Our working definition for religious diaspora that day was, “religious groups from elsewhere now residing as large, cohesive communities in the US.” It was a round table symposium, so any current scholar at the UC who wanted to speak could have a seat at the table. A hunch based on hundreds of years of solid evidence compelled me to show up, in my Badass Academic Indigenous Warrior Auntie finery.

There were around 15-20 scholars at the table, and the audience was maybe fifty people. There was one Black scholar at the table, and two Latinx scholars, one of whom was one of my dissertation advisors. The other was a visiting scholar from Florida, who spoke about the diasporic Santería community in Miami. But everyone else at the table were white scholars, all progressively liberal in their politics, many of whom were my friends. Since there was no pre-written agenda, I listened until everyone else had presented. I learned a tremendous amount about the Jewish diaspora in the US, and about the Yoruba/Orisha/Voudou, Tibetan Buddhist, Muslim, and Hindu communities, and even about a small enclave of Zoroastrians.

As they went on, I realized my hunch had been correct, and I listened to them ignore the elephant, invisible and silent, at that table.

So I decided to help her speak the hell up. “Hello, my name is Julie Cordero. I’m working on my PhD in Ethnobotany, Native American Religious Traditions, and history of global medical traditions. I’d like to talk about the European Catholic and Protestant Christian religious diaspora in the United States, as these are the traditions that have had by far the greatest impact on both the converted and non-converted indigenous inhabitants of this land.”

Total silence. And then several “hot damns” from students and colleagues in the audience. I looked around the table at all the confused white faces. My Latinx advisor slapped his hand on the table and said, “Right!!?? Let’s talk about that, colleagues.”

The Black scholar, who was sitting next to me, started softly laughing. As I went on, detailing the myriad denominations of this European Christian Diaspora, including the Catholic diocese in which I’d been raised and educated, and the brutal and genocidal Catholic and Protestant boarding schools that had horribly traumatized generations of First Nations children, and especially as I touched on how Christians had twisted the message of Christ to try and force people stolen from Africa to accept that their biblically-ordained role was to serve the White Race, her laughs grew more and more bitter.

The Religious Studies department chair, who’d given a brilliant talk on the interplay between Jewish and Muslim communities in Michigan, stopped me at one point, and said, “Julie, I see the point you are so eloquently making, but you’re discussing American religions, not religious diasporic communities.” I referred to the definition of diaspora we had discussed at the start of the discussion, and then said, “No, Clark. If I were here to discuss religions that were not from elsewhere, I’d be discussing the Choctaw Green Corn ceremony, the Karuk Brush Dance, the Big Head ceremonial complex in Northern California, the Lakota Sun Dance, or the Chumash and Tongva Chingichnich ritual complex.”

It got a bit heated for a few moments, as several scholars-without-a-damn-clue tried to argue that we were here to discuss CURRENT religious traditions, not ancient.

Well. I’ll let you use your imagination as to the response from the POC present, which was vigorously backed by the three young First Nations students who were present in the audience (all of whom practice their CURRENT ceremonial traditions). It got the kind of ugly that only happens with people whose self-perception is that they, as liberal scholars of world cultures with lots of POC friends and colleagues, couldn’t possibly be racist.

Our Black colleague stood and left without a word. I very nearly did. But I stayed because of my Auntie role to the Native students in the audience.

I looked around at that circle of hostile faces, and waited for one single white scholar to see how unbelievably racist was this discursive erasure of entire peoples - including my people, on whose homeland UCSB is situated.

Finally, a friend spoke up. “If we are going to adhere to the definition of diaspora outlined here, she is technically correct.”

And then my dear friend, a white scholar of Buddhism: “In Buddhist tradition, the Second Form of Ignorance is the superimposition of that which is false over that which is true. In this case, all of us white scholars are assuming that every people but white Americans are ‘other,’ and that we have no culture, when the underlying fact is that our culture is so dominant that we’ve deluded ourselves into thinking it’s the neutral state of human culture against which all others are foreign. Even the Black people our ancestors abducted and enslaved we treat as somehow more foreign than ourselves. And, most absurdly, the peoples who are indigenous to this land are told that we belong here more than they do.”

People stared at their hands and doodled. The audience was dead quiet.

And you know what happened then? The elephant was no longer invisible, and my colleagues and I were able to have a conversation based on the truths about colonialism and diaspora. We were THEN able to name and discuss the distinctions between colonial settlements and immigrant settlements, and how colonial religious projects have sought to overtake, control, and own land, people, and resources, while immigrant and especially refugee diasporic communities simply seek a home free from persecution.

As we continue this national discussion, it is absolutely key to never, ever let that elephant be invisible or silent. You are on Native Land. Black descendants of human beings abducted from their African homelands are not immigrants. European cultures are just human cultures, among many. And the assignation of moral, cultural, racial superiority of European world views over all non-Euro human cultures is a profound delusion, one that continues to threaten and exterminate all people who oppose it, and even nature itself.

I hope that this story has comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable.

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