We have prepared a list of “Beginning Resources” to help meetings think about where they are and what they may do regarding the many facets of “-isms” that confront us and our wider community. We commend these resources to your attention and hope that they will help you and your meeting to reflect, consider and act on the issues and opportunities raised during our recent called meeting and in these resources.
Jeff Hitchcock, Lifting the White Veil: A Look at White American Culture, Crandall, Dostie & Douglass Books, 2010. Lifting the White Veil is a highly readable, information-packed, personable and engaging work. One might imagine there is little to say about the experience of being white in America. Hitchcock not only proves this false, but he also shows why looking at white culture is a necessary step in fostering a multiracial society. The book draws upon contemporary scholarly thought from a range of disciplines, including history, psychology, sociology, and literary studies. But the author retains a common touch, adding his personal observations and experiences, fusing an informative fact-based presentation with some old-fashioned self-revelation and storytelling.
Paul Kivel, Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice – 3rd Edition, New Society Publishers; 2011. “Uprooting Racism explores the manifestations of racism in politics, work, community, and family life. It moves beyond the definition and unlearning of racism to address the many areas of privilege for white people and suggests ways for individuals and groups to challenge the structures of racism. Uprooting Racism’s welcoming style helps readers look at how we learn racism, what effects it has on our lives, its costs and benefits to white people, and what we can do about it.” [quote from the book description]. An excellent introduction that looks at how racism operates across time and settings and offers guidance on how white people can begin to work for racial justice.
Robin Parker & Pamela Smith Chambers, The Anti-Racist Cookbook: A Recipe Guide for Conversations About Race That Goes Beyond Covered Dishes and ‘Kum-Bah-Ya,’ Crandall, Dostie & Douglass Books, 2005. (reading only) This simple guide describes how anyone can bring together people for a discussion on race. The authors give concrete instructions about planning the discussion, arranging the setting, and sharing dialogue.
Ronald Takaki, A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America, Revised Edition, Back Bay Books; 2008. “Takaki traces the economic and political history of Indians, African Americans, Mexicans, Japanese, Chinese, Irish, and Jewish people in America, with considerable attention given to instances and consequences of racism. The narrative is laced with short quotations, cameos of personal experiences, and excerpts from folk music and literature.” [quote from School Library Journal]. The history you didn’t necessarily learn in high school, but essential to understanding racism in the United States.
Race: The Power of an Illusion. Produced by California Newsreel, this 3-part film series looks at the biological underpinnings of “race,” the history of race and racism in the United States, and how racism operates today in our institutions.
DVD available at $49.95 to qualifying groups, including churches. Also available is a PBS web site. PBS first brought the film series to prominence in 2003. Includes a discussion guide and resources.
Online Resources & Articles
Peggy McIntosh’s white privilege articles are excellent, and now classic, introduction to the concept of white privilege. There is a long version of this article, and a more commonly known short version.
- Short version: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, 1989, 3 pages. Peace and Freedom Magazine, July/August, pp. 10-12: Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Philadelphia
- Long version: White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences through Work in Women’s Studies, 1988, 19 pages. Working Paper 189, Wellesley Centers for Women, Wellesley, MA
NOTE: Although these papers, especially the short version, are widely available online, all online versions are pirated copies. The author makes copies of the paper available at a very reasonable cost, and the proceeds go to a worthy project. We strongly recommend that Friends using this paper take the time to follow through with the author’s copyright policy.
Workshops & Conferences
White Privilege Conference. This annual conference moves around the country. In 2016 it will take place in Philadelphia. The conference focuses on matters of racism, white privilege, and other “isms.” Founded and led by Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr., an African-American man, who brings significant participation by activists and scholars of color, along with white allies, into a shared space, creating a rich learning environment.
Color of Change. On online and email-based site for racial justice activism. The color of Change identifies causes of concern and develops petition campaigns to assert pressure for change. Its mission is “to strengthen Black America’s political voice. Our goal is to empower our members – Black Americans and our allies – to make government more responsive to the concerns of Black Americans and to bring about positive political and social change for everyone.” Requires very small investment of time to join with an effective advocacy group.
About using and sharing these resource lists
- We are only referring resources we are presently familiar with. Over time we may review and consider additional resources.
- There are literally thousands of resources available. It is a resource-rich environment. Picking a small list, any small list necessarily requires not listing many worthy candidates.
- Other Friends may have different and perhaps favored resources. Sometimes people can be very passionate in their support of the use of a particular resource.
- We do not yet have a clear understanding of PYM’s vision, goals, and approach to addressing racism issues. A clearer understanding will inform our choices in the future.
- A resource is only as good as its use. In some cases, this means a resource may be used poorly or even counter-productively if not accompanied by discussion and processing led by a person seasoned in anti-racism, ally work, or racial justice (there are multiple possible frames here).
- Although we are Quakers from an FGC-affiliated yearly meeting we still have much to learn about the specific settings, people, organizational culture, history and relationships with the wider communities that exist and operate in the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting area.
- We only offer our list as a jumping off point. We make no claim to it being comprehensive or appropriate to all occasions that may arise or that our list will speak to the experience of all Friends.
The recommendation and use of resources should be a continuing matter of discussion among PYM Friends and open to suggestion from PYM Friends under the weight of the work.
For additional materials, we invite you to visit our pages for Intermediate and Well Along resources.