For several years I have been on my own journey of growth when it comes to race, racism and thinking through the systems of power that we are born into that privilege some while placing at disadvantage others. I started with a year-long commitment to read only authors of color that was so enriching that I expanded it to two years. That was five years ago, the majority of what I read now being written by women or authors of color. This practice in mindfulness has expanded my perspective and enriched me beyond measure. Instead of using my own voice, I would like to amplify some really amazing resources I have utilized over the past several years as I have grown.
Here Wee Read
Here Wee Read is a resource for parents looking to be mindful that the library that’s feeding their children’s imagination is diverse and includes stories from people of all backgrounds. This is my go to to find excellent resources for my own kid’s library as well as for the children’s lessons at church.
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
One of my colleagues invited me and several others to join a virtual reading group on DiAngelo’s White Fragility. to say it was a powerful read would be an understatement. DiAngelo’s work was incredibly helpful in understanding racism not as prejudice but as systems that privilege certain ways of thinking, doing and being in the world, primarily whiteness. While the internal work from this book is far from easy, DiAngelo’s work is written in a digestible way. Several times while reading I found myself thinking “that’s a really good way to put that the next time I am in a conversation on race with some who sees this topic differently.”
I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown
One of the reasons I love reading memoir is the entry point it gives you into a whole other experience or perspective. You can ever really know what its like to be another person or live their story but memoir cracks open the door for you to get a peek inside and imagine what another’s life may be like. For me this has helped strengthen my empathy muscles and broadened my understanding of different experiences and cultures. I mean, isn’t that what reading in general is all about? Brown’s I’m Still Here chronicles her experience with being a black woman navigating primarily white institutions, including the church, with insight and honesty.
Pod Save the People hosted by DeRay McKesson
McKesson and his highly talented co-hosts discuss the week’s news, often highlighting studies, policies and stories that don’t get as much coverage in the news. Listening to Pod Save the People I often find I learn something new or consider a topic or policy from the point of view of those most affected in marginalized communities. Plus McKesson opens each week with a small reflection about doing justice work that’s always good for my soul.
These are all resources I have found personally enriching not just in the month of February but all year round as I aim to be a better neighbor and person of faith. What resources have you found helpful as you have grown in this area?