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How You Can Grow Your Capacity As An Advocate for Racial Equity

I will never forget the time a few years ago when a girlfriend of mine – a woman of color – gently but firmly redirected me. She told me that I needed to do my own work and not lean on her to educate me around racism and racial equity. After I got over myself, I saw that she was wise. This work was mine to do.

Like me, you may have come away from a perspective-shifting encounter around racism and found yourself saying, “what next?” If so, you might find the following resources helpful in your own journey.

If you have not yet viewed the Netflix documentary, “13th,” I would highly recommend that you do so. It explores our country’s history of racial inequality and lack of reconciliation, from Jim Crow to the terrorism of white supremacy to our current mass incarceration system that disproportionately imprisons black and brown people.

Here are some books that I have read and can personally recommend from my own journey, by no means an exhaustive list:

  • Sister Citizen; Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, by Melissa V. Harris-Perry
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander 
  • Small, Great Things, by Jodi Picoult 
  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, by Bryan Stevenson  
  • The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America, Richard Rothstein 
  • Our Separate Ways: Black and White Women and the Struggle for Professional Identity, by Ella Bell and Stella Nkomo
  • Between the World and Me, Ta-Nahisi Coates
  • White Fragility: Why it’s so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, by Robin DiAngelo
  • Caste: The Origins of our Discontents, by Isabele Wilkerson
  • How to be an Antiracist, by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
  • How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America, by Clint Smith

Here are a couple of TED Talks I personally recommend:

If you are a fan of YWCA Central Carolinas’ Facebook page, we frequently post relevant articles that you might appreciate.

Don’t stop seeking to learn from friends who are people of color. Just commit to doing your own work, too.