This is a two-part list of core building blocks that have helped me develop an unwavering white abolitionist practice.
Part One is for those on the first wave of their journey (~0-5 years). This list spurred new awareness and shifted my beliefs.
Part Two is for those in the second wave of their journey (~5-15 years). This list is for those of you who have been on an anti-racist journey for a while and who are ready to go deeper, get healthier, and become more effective.
At some point, there will be a part three...but I'm not there yet.
If you don't see something on this list that you've seen recommended everywhere else, you can bet it's intentional on my part.
The filter I use in deciding whether to recommend a resource is whether I've seen it be effective...
Does it loosen white people from the grip of white dominance?
Does it build capacity in white people for collective liberation?
Does it heal the disconnection caused by white dominance?
Does it drive changed behavior in white people?
Does it produce the will to repair the harm we've caused?
If not, it doesn't make the list.
This is truly subjective.
I'm not saying that resources that aren't on this list don't work.
Sometimes, there is work that cracks the ground but I'm not sure lead us to the best outcomes in the long term.
Would I even be where I am without that learning? Who knows.
I wouldn't put it past me to be wrong about this.
A word of caution
One of the potholes within our white community is placing too much value in intellectualism.
No doubt, learning is an essential piece to an unwavering white abolitionist practice.
I consider it to be the materials by which I build.
If I never make a plan...
If I never take those materials and build something with them...
If they get consumed by wind & rain because I never used them...
Then what good was the learning in the first place?
Was it just so I could gather the biggest pile of knowledge to show off to my friends?
For years, I felt tremendously behind in the conversation of race.
I remember the first time I was included in a private conversation thread with other committed anti-racist people. They were using words I had never heard. I was constantly googling what they were talking about. My impulse was to google and then pretend I knew what they were talking about. But I didn't.
The learning was swift then.
I was motivated to not be found out.
I became capable of using all of the words.
Sounding the part. Building a tremendous pile of materials.
And I would regularly lift a 2x4 from the pile and whack other white people with it.
I realized at some point that none of what I was doing was effectively changing anyone...myself included.
Effectiveness is a missing intention of white anti-racism.
At that point in my journey, I stood face to face with the fact that all I had gathered was a pile of self-righteousness. I had collected a lot of knowledge but I had no skills to put those materials together into a form that was liberative to anyone.
White people are over-resourced and under-developed.
We need to develop.
So to those of you who will be diving into this list of resources...
Envision your capacity to learn as a cup.
These resources will pour something nourishing into your cup. At some point you will be full up. If you continue to engage more learning, you will make a mess everywhere...aka step up on to your soap box.
So when your cup is full, here's what you do...
Step one. Process it and seek to embody the learning. What physical and emotional feelings come up for you in the learning? What does it say about who you are and how you've been socially conditioned to show up in the world?
Step two. Share it with other white people. Write about it. Record video or voice message. Model a humble approach to learn, share, and repeat. As you do, evaluate your results. What gets people talking with you? What stops the conversation?
This is how we pour out our cup.
Then, we have room to take in more.
Will you do me a favor?
Make a commitment today to focus on the practice of this work, day by day. I hold you capable and able to learn, process, and humbly share your development with those around you.
Set a time each day when you will engage this list for 15 minutes or more. Do it every day without fail for as long as you can. How many days can you chain together? Set a reminder in your phone now before you forget.
When you find it hard to stick to this practice, just know that I spend time every day developing my own skill set and it would make me feel better to know that you are out there doing the same.
build awareness & shift beliefs
- The first page and a half of this book changed my life.
- Learn to examine and share your story.
- Begin to see the illusion that is being spun for you to believe.
- Envision Turtle Island before white people arrived.
- Learn the story and challenges facing the African diaspora.
- Become aware of back room deals and what they mean to us today.
- Listen to a lot of stories like this, this, this, and this.
- Relearn US History here, here, and here.
- Black writers succinctly identify white dominant behavior.
- This book spurred me to write my first cultural autobiography.
- Let injustice bring you to your knees and make space to grieve.
- Use flashcards to learn about incredible Black people.
- Loop in white children. Start with this, this, this, and this.
- Follow the lead of John Brown and Angelina Grimke.
- If you influence white kids, get up to speed here and here.
- Catch a vision for a more just world.
- Begin with those who are already in your sphere of influence.
- Reclaim your time while cleaning, exercising, running errands, etc.
go deeper, get healthier, and become more effective
- This feeling wheel has helped me reconnect to my feelings.
- This video explains how beliefs are formed and how to examine them.
- I use this form as my go-to processing tool.
- The needs inventory gets a lot of use too (plus the tools in this book).
- Recover your story to expose areas of dysconsciousness.
- This video convinced me that "work ethic eliminates fear".
- I have spent countless hours practicing with these videos.
- When self-righteousness rears its head, these words help.
- Believe you are part of the solution and build transformative alliances.
- Get more curious about people you have given up on.
- Craft better habits and increase your commitment.
- Listening is not enough.
- Engage your healing with my favorite book ever.
- Show up with radical love. Always love.
- Stop trying to be perfect and focus on getting really good at repair.
- Ask "who's missing?" and develop the will and skill to talk to them (yes, I know it's a video about Ibex...but what are we willing to risk to reach those who we've left behind?").
- Hold yourself and others capable of change.
- Intentionally gather a community of white people doing this work.
I realize these lists are long. It's time to get after it.
I believe in you. I believe in us. I love you. I love us.
And I'll most certainly see you out there.