1. Deep reading is screen time well spent.

    Readup offers distraction-free reading and noise-cancelled comments, built by and for readers. The future is focus. The future is slow. Join us.

    Vulture | Lauren Michele Jackson | 6/4/20 | 6 min
    6 reads9 comments
    9.3
    Vulture
    6 reads
    9.3
    PadlockYou must read the article before you can post or reply.
    • bill
      Top reader this weekTop reader of all timeScoutScribe
      1 month ago

      Interesting, though I don’t know how I feel about the term “anti-racist” in general. (Are white people calling themselves that now?)

      I read The Souls of Black Folk by DuBois (in high school) and Autobiography of Malcom X (not assigned, but also while in high school) and both had a huge impact on me. Basically I remember thinking, “I know nothing about the world.”

      Where is James Baldwin on this list?!

      • Alexa
        Scout
        1 month ago

        Not just white folks are calling themselves anti-racist, it’s an evolution of the language towards a more accurate usage since, as defined (and I didn’t google it so I’m paraphrasing, give me slack), racism is an event/moment where you accept or act as if there are innate differences in humans and their experience based on race.

        As it’s evolved it’s come to be more reliant on the actual definition, where it’s not a slur (as the media etc uses it) but a definition of a behavior in the moment. So you’re not a racist, you’re acting that way in the moment.

        That evolution means that you can’t just be “not racist” and have it be a positive state that will make change, because it’s a definition of state. So instead, you have to be anti-racist and actively opposed to it, even if you slip into racist behavior or patterns from time to time. I’d expect you’re going to see a lot of this terminology now.

        Kendi’s Book “how to be antiracist” (ironic to suggest a book on this articles thread but ok) goes deep into what that means, and he discusses how he as a black man harbored racist thoughts and ideals for many years, so it’s defo a universal term.

        • bill
          Top reader this weekTop reader of all timeScoutScribe
          1 month ago

          Interesting. Makes a lot of sense. I see the need for new language, but it would help if the new term(s) made more sense intuitively, without needing to read a whole book to fully comprehend. :P That’s a half-joke; of course I believe in book-length treatment of any topic (because deep and thorough is always good) but on the flip side we really do need crystal clear words that will make immediate sense to all. Maybe. Right?

          I want a word that I can use to describe myself. Here’s my relationship to race: I’m white and confused about whiteness. I think it’s made up, and only exists because we keep pretending like it does. I’m utterly, unavoidably race-aware; I see color and assume stereotypes constantly, even though I wish I didn’t. I’m also privileged, full of bias (conscious and subconscious), prone to racist actions and thoughts, and for a major portion of my life (approx half) I barely knew a single non-white person. I have always known that racism is a problem, and I try to unpack and undo my privilege, but it usually feels like a hopeless (even meaningless) endeavor. Instead, I just try to be honest about it, but my honesty has limits. More often than not, I’m not willing to torch my relationships with my friends and family who are more racist than I am. Partially because I’m lazy and weak, but partially because I truly believe that that would be counter-productive.

          Something like “woke” would fit the bill if it wasn’t so self-congratulatory and in the past tense. What about “waking”? The main thing is that I’m paying attention to the fact that I’m both a product of the problem and part of it.

          I’m trying to look inward. “Anti-racist” seems too outward-facing. For example, of course I oppose the KKK, and, to a lesser extent, putting the confederate flag on your truck. But thats really not my something I’m even remotely interested in right now, and, more importantly, I’m not doing anything on that front anyway.

          • Alexa
            Scout
            1 month ago

            Of course a book length scribe isn’t necessary, this may help, didn’t get much speed on readup yet so you may have missed it: https://readup.com/read/macaulay-culkin-has-his-own-ideas-about-what-a-home-alone-remake-would-look-like/6-ways-to-be-antiracist-because-being-not-racist-isnt-enough

            I can get not wanting to ruffle feathers in your family or friend groups. I was there too for a while Bc I come from a very racist family. It took me time and generous friends to realize the wretched shit I needed to get out of my belief system and dialog. For me, I’ve started having those conversations because I know that just cringing/wincing when someone says something or behaves in a racist way isn’t going to move us toward the kind of world I want to live in. I finally am starting to appreciate call out culture in this use case. However, everyone’s form of activism is different and it’s clear that you’re conscious of your privilege, including the privilege to choose not to actively fight against racism. I was definitely in that space for a while.

    • Alexa
      Scout
      1 month ago

      A helpful take. The last time the police killed an unarmed black person (6 mos ago?) I read White Fragility, felt informed, then let the issue get backburnered Bc I had the privilege to do so. It’s at the point now where reading and being aware isn’t enough, so I think this has some helpful suggestions although as a hardy reader I do think books are a wonderful way to see other perspectives and experiences, so I’ll keep tearing through my own reading lists

    • skrt1 month ago

      food for thought. i don't think i agree with everything that was said but i'd be very curious to hear others' opinions.

      • Raven
        Scribe
        1 month ago

        It’s almost impossible for us to define a lack of something. To say as a human being that I can define myself as an anti-racist I must have an understanding of race and all it’s implications worldwide from every possible perspective. This is a fool’s errand, l feel better when I treat others better without regard for any metric of social status. “Anti-anything” is just prejudiced to begin with and the antidote for prejudice is becoming informed so.........Read Away
        Be Better Feel Better. Become personally responsible

        • bill
          Top reader this weekTop reader of all timeScoutScribe
          1 month ago

          Become personally responsible

          YES. #becomepersonallyresponsible

          That is so right on.

      • bill
        Top reader this weekTop reader of all timeScoutScribe
        1 month ago

        Excellent find. Happy to bump this one up. I so agree with this:

        If you want to read a novel, read a damn novel, like it’s a novel.

        I loved Americanah and Homegoing (which aren’t mentioned in this article) because they’re great, beautiful books with believable, relatable characters. Homegoing has a really fascinating slavery-to-today timeline structure. They’re books about race, but if you’re reading this stuff because you’re trying to be less racist, you’re doing it wrong.

        At the beginning of 2019 I read Jazz by Toni Morrison. I think I had an inkling that she was going to die soon. And when she did die, I reread Song of Solomon, a book that reminds you what it means to be alive.

        I remember feeling shocked and changed by Between the World and Me (which I did read to be less racist) but apparently it didn’t work because I remember very little beyond the beauty of the language.