MONTHLY HIGHLIGHT

HOW TO BE ACTIVELY ANTI-RACIST | JULY 2020

FILM:

WHOSE STREETS

Rated R; Police Brutality (flash bombs, tear gas, weapons), Explicit Language

OPTION #1: Use your personal Hulu account to watch the documentary

OPTION #2: If you have a library card or are willing to get one (library cards are free if you get one at your local library), log onto Hoopla with your library card, and watch the movie through Hoopla for free.

OPTION #3: Start a free trial on Hulu and watch the movie for free.

Synopsis

     The documentary film, Whose Streets ?, chronicles the protests that erupted in Ferguson, Missouri after 18 year old Michael Brown Jr. was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson. The film looks deeper into the individual lives of the protesters and citizens of Ferguson and what they experience on a day to day basis, along with how the killing of Michael Brown Jr. caused a global movement against police brutality. 

Personal Reflection

Discussion Questions

By: Amari Parker

     This was a truly beautiful film that allowed me to see and understand different aspects of the protests. It was truly astounding to see how children were involved in the peaceful protests and how unified the community became after this tragedy. I felt like it was so important and vital to see both the rioting and the peaceful sides of this movement and the personal lives of the individuals who led it. I was able to truly see these protesters as individual people who want the very best for their community and this country, instead of seeing them as one large group fighting for change, which is extremely important to show people who might have conflicting thoughts about the protests and the people involved in them. This film was also an amazing way for me to gain a better understanding of how social media can be used for disseminating information and advocating for a cause, and why people advocate for its use during social justice movements. 

     Sabaah Folayan is an African American woman who actually graduated from Columbia University with a pre-medical degree in Biology. She eventually realized her passion for social justice advocacy, which led to her decision to become a filmmaker in order to depict and tell the stories of marginalized communities. Damon Davis is an artist, musician, and filmmaker. His goal is to utilize his creativity within his art in order to bring awareness and fight against the systematic oppression that minority groups face daily. 

Notes

  • What aspects of anti-racism do you see within this film?

  • What aspects of intersectionality do you see within this film? Why is this so important to the Black Lives Matter movement?

  • What effects did social media have on the spread and outreach of this movement?

  • These protests occurred 6 years ago. Have changes been made with how police react to protests or the depiction of protests in the media? How does the media affect or skew how the public sees and thinks of these protests?

  • What is the importance of having children witness this fight for freedom? Why should there be films like this for people to look at in the future?

BOOK:

“HOW TO BE ACTIVELY ANTIRACIST" BY IBRAM X. KENDI

Trigger Warning: references racial violence, no graphic imagery

By: Mai Ly Hagan

Synopsis

     In Ibram X. Kendi’s acclaimed, bestselling book How To Be An Antiracist, Kendi explains just that—how to be what he calls an “antiracist.” At the start of the book, Kendi rejects the idea that there is such a thing as “not racist” and defines the opposing ideas of “racism” and “antiracism” in clear, no-nonsense terms. As the book progresses, Kendi addresses a number of topics such as race, ethnicity, colorism, and sexuality, describing both the racist and the antiracist approaches to each subject and explaining the history and psychology behind them. And all the while, he also takes the reader on a journey through his life to show how racism affects real-life people and experiences. How To Be An Antiracist is a clear, thoughtful, comprehensive analysis on racism that explains even the most complex of ideas in a way that’s both easy to understand and easy to relate to our own lives. 

Personal Reflection

     This book has been extremely educational for me and I encourage anyone who wants a broad, comprehensive view of antiracism to read it. Kendi touches on every aspect of the issue, from the history of racism to the racist policies that keep racism alive today to the racist ideas that plague every community. He doesn’t just talk about the “what,” but also the “why” and the “how.” Perhaps what I appreciate the most about Kendi’s writing is his clarity; he introduces every topic of discussion with a clear description of what it means to be racist or antiracist on that particular subject. The book is crafted so that anyone can understand—and anyone can learn!

     Ibram X. Kendi is a history professor and anti-racist researcher. He is the author of four books including the #1 New York Times Bestseller How To Be an Antiracist. He frequently contributes to The Atlantic and CBS News, and he’s also published many academic essays, written many op-eds, and given many speeches. He is known to be an expert on antiracism, a leader in his field. Now, more than ever, his voice has become relevant on a national and even global scale. 

Notes

Discussion Questions

These questions are from the Kendi's official site, and can be found: 

  • In How To Be An Antiracist, Kendi shares his own experiences with racist thinking. How does his honesty help give us space to acknowledge and name our own racist behaviors and attitudes?

  • Kendi writes, “The only way to undo racism is to constantly identify it and describe it—and then dismantle it.” Why does he believe we need to call out racism when we see it, even if it can be uncomfortable to identify?

  • The book’s central message is that the opposite of “racist” isn’t “not racist.” The true opposite

  • of “racist” is antiracist. “The good news,” Kendi writes, “is that racist and antiracist are not fixed identities. We can be racist one minute and an antiracist the next.” What does it mean to have to constantly reaffirm your identity as an antiracist? Is there any benefit to the fact that you can’t just decide you are “not racist” or an antiracist and be done with it?

  • What is the first step you, personally, will take in striving to be an antiracist? How will you check yourself and hold yourself accountable if you notice you, or someone else, is being racist?

  • Kendi thinks that we should assess candidates as being racist or antiracist based on what ideas they are expressing and what policies they are supporting—and not what they say is in their bones or their heart. Do you agree with him? Why or why not?

ARTICLE:

"WHITE ANTIRACISM: LIVING THE LEGACY"

No Trigger Warnings

Synopsis

     Anti-racism is truly the only way to combat racism. Remaining neutral is not an option, and for those who think it is just shows their own privilege. This article wonderfully explains how white people can help the BLM movement and combat racism while learning their place in anti-racist conversations. This article is composed of the thoughts of 4 women from racially different backgrounds. Through their own experiences as women of color, they provide insight on common insensitive statements white people make while talking about race, and what they can do to better understand their privilege. This article provides wonderful insight from women of color on anti-racism. Anti-racism involves every non-black person of color, and is a joint effort from everyone to help defeat the prejudice and power that lies in our societies. Black people face racism from the systems that make up our communities, and without continuous anti-racist efforts from white people and non-black people of color, the systems cannot be dismantled.

Personal Reflection

By: Ania Ocasio

     This article pointed out the very common misconceptions white people have when talking about racism. One point that really struck me was how white people will simply say, “I’m not racist,” as a way to quickly prove they aren’t outwardly bigoted, but actually separate themselves from racism and the privilege their race has given them, ultimately ignoring the larger problem at hand. As we have explained throughout the last month, it is not enough to say “I’m not racist.” Anti-racist actions have to be taken.

Discussion Questions

  • Why might people of color sometimes want their "own" spaces? Are there ever instances when white people should do anti-racist work in isolation? Why? 

  • What qualities or actions can help white people be effective allies?

 

  • Why should white people go and educate themselves rather than go directly to their black friends? 

  • What impact does staying neutral on racism have on our society?

TV SHOW:

Black-ish "Juneteenth" Season 4 Ep. 1 

By: Josh Harris and Amanda Altarejos

Trigger Warning: N/A

Synopsis

   This episode discusses Juneteenth through animated shorts, musical numbers, and an elementary school play about Christopher Columbus. Juneteenth was first celebrated on June 19th, 1865 when the civil war ended and slaves had been freed. Although black individuals were never completely freed, this was an important moment in American history and helped shape the future of the lives and liberties of black people in the U.S.. While some may have just learned of the importance of Juneteenth recently, this has been an important day of celebration in the black community for many years.

Personal Reflection For Participants

Discussion Questions

  • This episode made me feel…

  • This episode helped me understand…

  • I thought this episode was…

  • Something I didn’t like about this episode was...

  • In the beginning of the episode, the children are involved in a play reenacting the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in a way that depicts Columbus as some savior- even though he pioneered the genocide of people of color in these lands. How do you think this specific portrayal affects the culture of American education today? Does it have an impact on you directly?  

  •  The play’s director directs an insensitive comment to the Anderson family. She does not seem to completely see the problem with it, even when the family gets up and leaves right after. Is this a reflection of today’s situation? How can you combat small microaggressions like these?

 

  • Further into the episode, Mr. Anderson is fighting for a chance to commemorate Juneteenth within his workplace. In doing so, the audience is brought to musical snippets, where the cast goes back to the times of old America and re-enacts the day that enslaved people were free. Because Juneteenth is not usually properly covered in school, how did this depiction make you feel, and did it give you a better understanding of our history?

Accessibility

     If you have a spotify account (as well as a college e-mail), there is a plan available that comes with a free subscription to Hulu and HBO Max and discounted spotify monthly fee (about $5.99)

Quick Note

     This show was created by Kenya Barris, who also created #blackAF and stars in the show 

Miscellaneous:

"My Calling Card"

Trigger Warning: N/A

Synopsis + Commentary

     My Calling (Card) # 1 (for Dinners and Cocktail Parties) and My Calling Card #2, were a series of performances by Adrian Piper, who handed people these “calling cards” to people in her neighbourhood that made racist remarks. With this performance, she made a statement about her identity, and what she finds socially acceptable. In Calling Card #1, she explores identity not only with her appearance, but with her actual heritage, which may not be obvious to her neighbors. Piper also explores social stereotypes of women in Calling Card #2, where she challenges the negative assumption of a woman’s intentions if she is sitting alone at a bar.

Personal Reflection

By: Emre Güler

     Calling out racism and standing up for your identity is not easy, and Piper used her performance of calling cards as a powerful means of demonstrating her struggle with the use of non-verbal messages, which also points out at the fact that her attempt at standing up against racism is not a lot of people succeed in or attempt to do.

Discussion Questions

  • With her Calling Cards, Piper aims to break social norms and stereotypes about her identity. How could this unorthodox method of hers to call out racism influence the opinions she is challenging? Do you think that this “tool” she uses to call out inappropriate comments and prejudgments people have about her proved effective?

  • The notion of identity is central to Piper’s work. How does this rather elusive concept of “identity” show itself in other works of art? What role does identity play in everyday life?

POETRY:

"Black History Month" by Elizabeth Taylor,

Vincent Snyder & Nia Lewis

No Trigger Warnings

Synopsis

     In this poem, Taylor, Snyder, and Lewis discuss the pitfalls of Black History Month curricula in schools as a way of critiquing the way that white people talk about race. By outlining four steps of “How to understand Black people for dummies”, they point out common microaggressions and problematic actions that they’ve had to face. The poem concludes with a discussion of white guilt in the context of the tides shifting in attitudes toward anti-blackness, and discussing how it is white folks’ responsibility to manage their own guilt and leverage their privilege for good. 

Personal Reflection

By: Serene Lurie

    I thought this was an INCREDIBLY powerful poem, and incredibly relevant to the work we do at the ARE project as well. I’m not sure the transcript quite does it justice, honestly, just because of the experience of seeing a group poem delivered and because of the choreography of it (the ending in particular). I think it really sums up the issues with white guilt and white fragility in a way that’s easy to understand and grasp what role white folks play in antiracist work. 

Discussion Questions

  • How does this poem relate to our theme for this month, “How to be actively antiracist”?

  • What do the types of stories they mention say about the kinds of Black history that are often taught (and what kinds of Black history aren’t taught) and why?

  • What do you think this poem says about the role privilege plays in antiracist work?

PODCAST:

“Brené with Ibram X. Kendi on How to Be an Antiracist”

Trigger Warning: N/A

Synopsis

     In this episode of Unlocking Us with Brené Brown, Brown interviews professor Ibram X. Kendi, New York Times best selling author of “How to Be an Antiracist” and the director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. In light of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, Brown and Kendi talk about the importance of antiracism and how to implement antiracist practices in ones’ day-to-day life. In a nuanced discussion, they take a groundbreaking approach to understanding uprooting racism and inequality in ourselves as well as in our society. Brown and Kendi also debrief on the disproportionate effects of COVID-19 within Black communities and debunk the common misconception that America is a land of equal economic opportunities for all. A major section of their discussion deals with what it means to grow up in America in regards to covert acts of racism displayed by not only society, but also by its education system as well. While most of their dialogue is centered around the United States, think about how their conversation can be applied on a global scale and to your community. 

Personal Reflection

By: Sophie Wilcox

     This podcast was one of my favorites I have listened to this month. Brown and Kendi talk candidly about why people may feel reserved at first to put in the work to actively become an antiracist as well as the systemic barriers BIPOC face and the institutions that continuously reinforce white supremacist ideals in the United States. This sobering yet easy to digest conversation between the two is a must listen. And not to mention, Ibram X. Kendi talks about his book which happens to be our July book as well!

Discussion Questions

      ​For a discussion starter, think about these quotes, work with them, evaluate them, and apply them to your life and what you see in your community:

  • “The heartbeat of antiracism is confession.”  

  • “To grow up in America, is to grow up, and for racist ideas to constantly be rained on your head and you have no umbrella, and you have no idea that you're wet, those racist ideas cause you to imagine you’re dry.” 

  • “When people say ‘I’m not racist’ it is usually in response to someone challenging something that they just did or said that indeed was probably racist.” 

A.R.E. NEWSLETTER

July 2020

Click to view the Newsletter & have access to the links ->

The A.R.E. Project Socials: 

© 2021 by the Anti-Racism Education Project