Anti-Racism Resources

Personal Introduction To These Resources...

Feminist scholar and cultural critic, bell hooks, names the culture in which we live as not only a patriarchal (male dominated) culture, but more specifically, a patriarchy with interlocking systems of domination – an imperialist, white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy. 

In the United States, we are all born into this conditioning, and it requires wholehearted, sustained effort to clearly recognize and understand the ways in which we have been socialized to perceive, think, feel and behave.

Being born into a white body, I am particularly interested in understanding the conditioning that comes with whiteness and how white-bodied people have been socialized to uphold white-supremacy/white dominance (often without even being conscious that we are doing so, which can make it even harder for us to see and comprehend – like fish in water).

For some, the term white supremacy can feel very extreme and unrelatable. I find the way that Somatic Experiencing Therapist and author, Resmaa Menakem, adds to the term to be very useful – he suggests we approach it as white-body supremacy. In this culture, simply being born into a white body gives the white body superiority and advantage.

In this culture:

“The white body is the supreme standard by which all bodies’ humanity shall be measured.” –Resmaa Menakem

(Deep breath)

It can be a profoundly uncomfortable, intense, painful, messy, horrifying process to honestly examine, fully feel and come to terms with how we’ve been socialized to embody and live out white-body supremacy.

When I first began to really sense into this, I felt paralyzed, like a deer in headlights, and my mind went blank (for quite a while).

It was and continues to be through rigorous education – unlearning and relearning US history, reading books and articles, watching videos and films, listening to talks and podcasts, having countless conversations with others – and through ongoing embodied work with a somatic therapist – that the frozen shame, guilt, fear, horror, grief, rage and unconscious attachment to comfort that had kept me immobilized began and continues to metabolize.

This process is ongoing. It is lifelong. The golden thread is humility and a deep desire to do less harm.

My astrological work with clients embraces this process of understanding ourselves as part of the culture we are born into and the conditioning that accompanies that reality. Evolutionary Astrology is rooted in the potential that human beings have the capacity to evolve beyond our social conditioning.

In order for this to happen, the ways in which we have been socialized must be recognized and understood.

Below are some of the resources that have been and continue to be incredibly impactful and informative in my process of awakening to the truth of U.S. history, white-body supremacy and anti-racist embodiment.

I will keep adding to these resources, so please feel free to check back for updates.

 

“Without inner change, there can be no outer change. Without collective change, no change matters.”

–angel Kyodo williams

VIDEOS

White Fragility and Whiteness as a Trauma Response – The Philippe Matthews Show with Resmaa Menakem, Robin DiAngelo and Jacqueline Battalora

Dismantling White Guilt, White Fragility and White Supremacy – The Philippe Matthews Show with Robin DiAngelo and Jacqueline Battalora

White Fragility – Robin DiAngelo 2017 Diversity Summit

Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome – Dr. Joy Degruy

Toni Morrison – What Racism Is

James Baldwin on the Black Experience in America

Facing Whiteness – Heather Hackman

How is Whiteness Performing During COVID-19 – The Philippe Matthews Show with Jacqueline Battalora

Resmaa Menakem’s response to the police murder of George Floyd (Facebook Live May 26, 2020)

Spotlight on Black Trauma and Policing – MPR Interview (Angela Davis) with Dr. Brittany Lewis, Resmaa Menakem and Justin Terrell

The Importance of Critical Thinking – bell hooks (1997)

PODCASTS / AUDIO SERIES

1619 Project – hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones

“The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”

Intersectionality Matters! hosted by Kimberlé Crenshaw

Scene on Radio (Season 2: Seeing White)

Nice White Parents (5-part audio series)

ARTICLES
Layla Saad (author of Me & White Supremacy) – “I need to talk to spiritual white women about white supremacy:”
 
adrienne maree brown – a word for white people, in two parts
 
Ta-Nehisi Coates – The Case for Reparations

“History is not the past, it is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history.”

James Baldwin

BOOKS

My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies – by Resmaa Menakem

Me and White Supremacy – Layla Saad

How to be an Antiracist – Ibram X. Kendi

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism – Robin DiAngelo

A Black Women’s History of the United States – Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross

Birth of a White Nation: The Invention of White People and Its Relevance Today – Jacqueline Battalora

Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower – Brittney Cooper

Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates

Coates writes this book for his 15 year old son about what it’s like to grow up black in America.

“One of the great virtues of Coates’ book is that it is not addressed to white people. The usual hedging and filtering and softening and overall distortion that seems to happen automatically — even unconsciously — when black people attempt to speak about race to white people in public is absent.” (excerpt from a NYT review)

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness – Michelle Alexander

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America – Richard Rothstein

Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi

“We believe the one who has power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So when you study history, you must ask yourself, Whose story am I missing? Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth? Once you have figured that out, you must find that story too. From there you get a clearer, yet still imperfect, picture.” –Yaa Gyasi, from Homegoing
 
Sister Outsider – Audre Lorde
 
 

An excerpt from “My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending our Hearts and Bodies” (p. 4-5) by Resmaa Menakem:

“For the past three decades, we’ve earnestly tried to address white-body supremacy in America with reason, principles and ideas – using dialogue, forums, discussions, education and mental training. But, the widespread destruction of Black bodies continues. And, some of the ugliest destruction originates with our police.

Why is there such a chasm between our well-intentioned attempts to heal and the ever-growing number of dark-skinned bodies who are killed or injured, sometimes by police officers?

It’s not that we’ve been lazy or insincere. But, we’ve focused our efforts in the wrong direction. We’ve tried to teach our brains to think better about race. But, white-body supremacy doesn’t live in our thinking brains. It lives and breathes in our bodies.

Our bodies have a form of knowledge that is different from our cognitive brains. This knowledge is typically experienced as a felt sense of constriction or expansion, pain or ease, energy or numbness. Often this knowledge is stored in our bodies as wordless stories about what is safe and what is dangerous. The body is where we fear, hope and react; where we constrict and release; and where we reflexively fight, flee or freeze. If we are to upend the status quo of white-body supremacy, we must begin with our bodies.”

Resmaa Menakem

SOMATIC ANTIRACISM WORK

My partner, Dan Gaustad is a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP).

He facilitates Somatic Antiracism groups, offering both white-bodied men’s groups and white-bodied all gender groups via Zoom.

He also provides Somatic Experiencing sessions via Zoom (and in person when possible) for white-bodied individuals and white-bodied somatic therapists wanting to work on issues of white body supremacy and embodiment of social justice.

Dan’s work places an emphasis on embodied inquiry into personal and collective implicit biases. Through this lens, he encourages individuals to know themselves within the context of culture and society and in relation to inherited social structures.

“Healing is not just about what we experience in the present, it’s also about how we understand the past, how we name our histories and frame the times in which we live.”  Susan Raffo

“The key to moving forward is what we do with our discomfort. We can use it as a door out—blame the messenger and disregard the message. Or we can use it as a door in by asking, Why does this unsettle me? What would it mean for me if this were true?” Robin DiAngelo, author of "White Fragility"

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