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Resources to Fight Racism and Unconscious Bias

Diversity, equity, equality and inclusion is more of a journey than a destination. We can always learn more to fight implicit bias and to advance progress. Below are many helpful resources that you can use in your journey.

Race, Implicit Bias and Privilege:

  • Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama – In this book, Tim Wise explores how Barack Obama’s emergence as a political force took the race debate to new levels.
  • Between the World and Me – In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis.
  • Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People – In this book, Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald explore the hidden biases we all carry from a lifetime of exposure to cultural attitudes about age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, social class, sexuality, disability status, and nationality.
  • Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center – When this book from Bell Hooks was first published in 1984, it was welcomed and praised by feminist thinkers who wanted a new vision. Today, the blueprint for feminist movement presented in the book remains as provocative and relevant as ever. Written in hooks’s characteristic direct style, Feminist Theory embodies the hope that feminists can find a common language to spread the word and create a mass, global feminist movement.
  • Google’s Unbiasing Guide – “Making the unconscious conscious will help you make more objective decisions, facilitate inclusive interactions, and create opportunities. Begin unbiasing with education, accountability, measurement, and more.”
  • Hey, you got a little racism stuck in your teeth. – This piece argues that “we cannot advance the discussion on injustice, and thus the solutions for it, if we live in fear of having honest conversations with each other, including being able to admit to our mistakes and not feel like we are terrible people.”
  • Hidden Bias More Subtle and Difficult to Recognize than Bias of Decades Past – Dana Wilkie compiles advice on how to prevent hidden biases from getting in the way.
  • Inside America’s Auschwitz – This article written by Jared Keller for Smithsonian Magazine discusses the opening of Louisiana’s Whitney Plantation slavery museum. The museum “offers a rebuke — and an antidote — to our sanitized history of slavery.”
  • Interview with John A. Powell – This interview transcript comes from PBS’s series “Race: The Power of an Illusion”. Powell is a nationally recognized scholar on race, poverty, and regional equity.
  • It’s Time To Call Out ‘Nice Racists’ And Their White Fragility – This blog post written by Christy DeGallerie points out that “Racism isn’t always angry and mean. I’s subtle, mild and, at times, friendly.”
  • MicroAggressions.com – “This blog seeks to provide a visual representation of the everyday of “microaggressions.” Each event, observation and experience posted is not necessarily particularly striking in and of themselves. Often, they are never meant to hurt – acts done with little conscious awareness of their meanings and effects. Instead, their slow accumulation during a childhood and over a lifetime is in part what defines a marginalized experience, making explanation and communication with someone who does not share this identity particularly difficult.”
  • Podcast: Bryan Stevenson Talks to David Remnick About the Legacy of Racial Terror – In this New Yorker Podcast, lawyer and activist Bryan Stevenson discusses his view that “Americans have civil rights…What we lack is a sense of shame.”
  • Racial Equity Tools Glossary
 – This glossary was created because “the lack of a common understanding of even the most frequently used words in any discussion on race can easily cause misunderstanding and confusion, and often lead to controversy and hostility.”
  • Resources from Showing Up for Racial Justice – This page lists useful resources for Creating Anti-Racist Organizations, Campaign Strategy, Organizing Tools, Leading Workshops and more.
  • Systems Thinking And Race: Workshop Summary – This document from John A. Powell, Connie Cagampang Heller and Fayza Bundalli discusses the concepts of Systems Thinking, Communication and Power.
  • TED Talk: How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward them – Diversity advocate Vernā Myers looks closely at some of the subconscious attitudes we hold toward out-groups. She makes a plea to all people: Acknowledge your biases. Then move toward, not away from, the groups that make you uncomfortable. In a funny, impassioned, important talk, she shows us how.
  • The Case for Reparations – Ta-Nehisi Coates writes in The Atlantic that “Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.”
  • The Legacy of Lynching, on Death Row – Jeffrey Toobin writes in The New Yorker about how “Bryan Stevenson is saving inmates from execution and memorializing the darkest episodes of America’s past.”
  • The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House – This essay from Audre Lorde discusses the importance of intersectionality and inclusiveness.
  • Video: Putting Racism on the Table: john a. powell on Structural Racism – In the first session of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers’ Putting Racism on the Table series, John A. Powell, Professor of Law and Professor of African-American Studies and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, discusses structural racism.
  • White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son – Using stories from his own life, Tim Wise demonstrates the ways in which racism not only burdens people of color, but also benefits, in relative terms, those who are “white like him.” He discusses how racial privilege can harm whites in the long run and make progressive social change less likely.
  • White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard to Talk to White People About Racism – In this piece, Dr. Robin DiAngelo explains why white people implode when talking about race.
  • “Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”: A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity – In this book, Beverly Daniel Tatum, a renowned authority on the psychology of racism, argues that straight talk about our racial identities is essential if we are serious about enabling communication across racial and ethnic divides.
  • Why do my co-workers keep confusing me with other people? Because I’m Asian. – This piece was written by Iris Kuo and was featured in the Washington Post. Kuo writes that “All my life I’ve been mistaken for other people of my race. It’s a degrading and thoughtless error that boils away my identity and simplifies me as one thing: ‘that Asian.'”
  • YouTube Series: Every Single Word – These videos, as the titles imply, showcase every single word spoken by a person of color in various movies and demonstrate the need for increased representation.

Local, National and Historical Context:

  • A Letter From Young Asian-Americans To Their Families About Black Lives Matter – This podcast from NPR discusses “Letters for Black Lives,” a project by Christina Xu which argues that “Asian-Americans should also care about police violence against black Americans.”
  • A Shattered Foundation: African Americans Who Bought Homes in Prince George’s County Have Watched Their Wealth Vanish – This Washington Post report discusses how the residents of Prince George’s County, Maryland “have lost far more wealth than families in neighboring, majority-white suburbs. And while every one of these surrounding counties is enjoying a strong rebound in housing prices and their economies, Prince George’s is lagging far behind, and local economists say a full recovery appears unlikely anytime soon.”
  • A Short History of Black Washington – This piece written by Sam Smith in the Progressive Review discusses the history of the African American community in Washington, D.C.
  • Affluent and Black, and Still Trapped by Segregation – This New York Times article argues that “income alone cannot explain, nor would it likely end, the segregation that has defined American cities and suburbs for generations.”
  • Arlington Streetcar Demise Sends Message To Poorer Residents: Keep Riding The Bus – This Washington Post article about a streetcar project being cancelled opens by saying ” In proudly progressive Arlington, few like to admit that the county suffers from class and racial divisions just as in other places that are supposedly less enlightened. But the county’s decision Tuesday to kill two long-planned streetcar lines has cast a light on the divide — and will probably deepen it.”
  • Black Lawyers Are Likely to Face Harsher Scrutiny than Their White Counterparts – Lisa Wade writes that “The old saying is that minorities and women have to work twice as hard for half the credit. This data suggests that there’s something to it.”
  • Black Montgomery Residents in Maryland Reveal the Racist Realities of the Progressive County’s Past – Taylor Gordon writes in the Atlanta Black Star that Montgomery County, Maryland “is often praised for what it seems to be today while many blissfully fail to acknowledge the years of struggle and oppression that came before the county was welcoming to Black faces.”
  • Black Students in Montgomery County Disconnected From School, Work – This WTOP article discusses findings that “About one in four black and African-American students in Montgomery County has felt discrimination while at school.”
  • Housing Bias Outlasts Ruling in a Long Island Village – This New York Times article discusses a Federal Appeals Court Ruling which stated that “Garden City, a wealthy village where 1.2 percent of the residents were black in 2010, had violated federal antidiscrimination law by rezoning land specifically to block multifamily housing — and the potential for minorities to move in.”
  • How Racial Covenants Shaped D.C. Neighborhoods – This American University radio program argues that “the impact today of policies that created and reinforced segregation can’t be overstated.”
  • In Progressive Montgomery, Painful Stories of Racism Past and Present – This Washington Post article recounts a “riveting 90 minutes of testimony Tuesday before the Montgomery County Council, which marked Black History Month by hearing from veterans of the jurisdiction’s civil rights struggle.”
  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption – This book from Bryan Stevenson is “a powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice.”
  • Maryland School District Examines Racial Disparities in its Gifted Programs – This Washington Post article discusses a report which found “marked disparities by race and ethnicity in enrollment and acceptance rates, with white students faring much better than their black and Hispanic counterparts” in Montgomery County, Maryland.
  • Minorities are Majority Population in Montgomery County – Written for the Washington Post in 2011, this article discusses the news that “Minorities have become a majority over the past decade in affluent Montgomery County as the number of whites has plummeted.”
  • Prince George’s County Survey Intended to Gauge State of Health Care – This Washington Post article discusses a survey of Prince George’s County, Maryland, where “conditions such as diabetes and heart disease are much more common than in the rest of the region and most of the state.”
  • Rebuilding Equity in Prince George’s Will Take Some Work – This Washington Post column discusses home equity in Prince George’s County, Maryland, the nation’s highest-income majority-black county.
  • Segregation and Concentrated Poverty in the Nation’s Capital – This Brookings Memo says that “Racial segregation has been declining over the last 50 years within the largest metropolitan areas. But there are exceptions to this rule; one of those is the nation’s capital. In the District of Columbia there remains a stark, persistent, white-black racial divide.”
  • Separate and Unequal in D.C. – This article points out that Washington, D.C. “now owns the highest fraction of households making over $200,000 a year and the greatest income divide among the rich and poor in the country”.
  • The Big Eddy Club: The Stocking Stranglings and Southern Justice – This book by David Rose is an “exposé of race, injustice, and serial murder in the Deep South—Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil with an investigative edge. Over eight bloody months in the mid-1970s, a serial rapist and murderer terrorized Columbus, Georgia, killing seven affluent, elderly white women—almost all members of the Big Eddy social club for the town’s elite.”
  • The House That Racism Built – This is a video from the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers’ 2015 Annual Meeting.
  • The New Jim Crow – This book from Michelle Alexander 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.
  • The Science of Equality – This report by the Perception Institute was released in the fall of 2014. It discusses “the social science that can help us understand the day-to-day dynamics of race and how to alter the circumstances that too often culminate in tragedy.”
  • The Unbending Arc: America’s Race Gap is Stuck – Richard V. Reeves writes that “Recent events have shone a light on the black experience in dozens of U.S. cities. Behind the riots and the rage, the statistics tell a simple, damning story. Progress toward equality for black Americans has essentially halted.”
  • The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration – In this book, Isabelle Wilerson “chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life.”
  • Understanding Central American Migration – “This memo aims to inform the current debate surrounding the sharp increase in unaccompanied child migrants, particularly from Central America.
  • VIDEO: Dr. King Speaks – A clip of Martin Luther King Jr. speaking about structural economic issues that African Americans face.
  • Why Do Some Poor Kids Thrive? – This article in The Atlantic addresses the fact that “Despite the challenge of growing up in tough areas with few resources, thousands of inner city kids manage to excel academically. But even some students who seem to thrive early on run a significant risk of faltering on their quest for college degrees or the elite jobs they once envisioned.”
  • Without Social Security Numbers, Illegal Immigrants Face Eviction – This Washington Post article tells the story of an effort by the owners of a Northern Virginia mobile home park “to evict about 15 residents who don’t have Social Security numbers and are in the country illegally…The cases illustrate the fragile foothold that low-wage workers, particularly immigrants, have in affluent Northern Virginia.”
  • 272 Slaves Were Sold to Save Georgetown. What Does It Owe Their Descendants? – This New York Times article says that “At Georgetown, slavery and scholarship were inextricably linked. The college relied on Jesuit plantations in Maryland to help finance its operations, university officials say.

Equity and Philanthropy Resources:

  • Funding at the Intersection of Race and Gender – “This essay discusses the evolution of social change approaches that simultaneously address gender and race, or sexuality and race, and incorporates analysis of funding trends with insights from people of color who work on these issues in philanthropy. It also provides examples of how intersectional efforts can lead to stronger base-building and to policy victories over time, and recommendations to funders.”
  • How We’re Putting Racism on the Table: The Meyer Foundation – “The Meyer Foundation’s board and staff began our own conversation about racism as part of our strategic planning process last year. Two things quickly became clear as we took those important first steps: a variety of viewpoints were represented around our table, often deeply personal and strongly held, and we lacked a common vocabulary or framework for understanding and discussing inequity in our region.”
  • Implicit Bias and Its Role in Grantmaking – John A. Powell argues that philanthropy must “move us toward greater inclusion and fairness – and that those in philanthropy realize their own susceptibility to implicit bias.”
  • Inequality, the Ford Foundation, and Humility – This article in NonProfit Quarterly discusses Darren Walker’s announcement in 2015 that the Ford Foundation would “shift its programming to focus exclusively on grantmaking that addresses inequality.”
  • Meta-Equity and the Irony of Inequity Around Equity Work – This blog post gives 9 tips on how to make discussing equity more equitable.
  • Nonprofits: Equity Must Begin Within – Paul Schmitz writes in the Huffington Post that “our organizations and collective efforts must begin by looking inward, using an ‘equity mirror’ to examine our own composition, culture, and policies that reinforce and perpetuate societal disparities. To do equity, we must also be equity.”
  • Paying Attention to White Culture and Privilege: A Missing Link to Advancing Racial Equity – This journal article discusses tools for tackling white privilege and white culture: “creating a container with intentional group norms, exploring accumulated racial advantages and disadvantages, reflecting on white culture, and caucusing by racial identity.”
  • Philanthropy Must Understand Racism Is Not Dead – In the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Tamara Copeland writes that “We believe that racism is rarely acknowledged or discussed by members of the public or within philanthropy. And we believe that until that silence ends, our region, and our country, won’t be able to take the steps needed to end racial inequities.”
  • Policies, Practices, and Programs for Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – This guide from D5 is “a useful tool for foundation staff, leadership and other members of the philanthropy community who want to take action to advance diversity, equity and inclusion.”
  • Race Equity and Inclusion Action Guide – This guide from the Annie E. Casey Foundation demonstrates “how a race equity lens can be adopted by foundations or other organizations that work directly with systems, technical assistance providers and communities.”
  • Toward a New Gospel of Wealth – Darren Walker, President of The Ford Foundation, writes about the new focus of the foundation on issues around inequality.
  • 9 Ways Foundations Can Help Men and Boys of Color – This article from the Chronicle of Philanthropy says that “foundations must play a greater role in dealing with some of the toughest issues facing America.” The article is available only to subscribers.

Do you know other resources that should be included?

Contact our Communications Director at laurena@respectability.org.

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