Here’s what we read and listened to this week to stay informed about issues or equity and identity – everything from a new study showing how we should approach changing minds to the ways racism infects our health, our children’s literature, and even our comic books! Keep reading to learn about what we learned this week.
From Barb Lee
There are many research studies that have confirmed this, but here is the latest and the data is clear. This audio file has Harvard researcher David Williams laying down the national data (not sample data) about race in the U.S. Here’s one striking data point: In the top 171 major cities in the U.S., not a single one had the majority of whites living under the same residential quality as that of blacks. Furthermore, the worst conditions for whites were still better than the worst conditions for blacks. I had to stop the recording, rewind, and play again several times because this presentation was so chock full of important data points. The good news is, he’s suggesting solutions for change, too! I felt inspired – instead of only bummed out – by this.
Dr. Seuss? No!
Uh oh. This is going to p*ss some people off!! “What?! Now, Dr. Seuss is a racist?! Come on!” This is an interesting article about a book that will tear at some of our most nostalgic memories and nobody likes anyone who does that. It’s hard to reframe and re-contextualize good memories with the racism that was clearly infused in everything around us.
I remember when I first went back as an adult to read “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” to my then young daughter. I was shocked by the casual colonial interactions of Willy Wonka and the Oompa Loopas. Noooo! Not Willy Wonka! I love that book. It was the first book I remember my mom reading to me and I have such rare and wonderful memories associated with the story of Mr. Wonka and all those kids and parents… and the Oompa Loompas, too. In fact, I still have that very book on one of my book shelves with other cherished children’s novels.
But I have to be honest about it. Then, I can extract all the good, recognize the bad and, most importantly, not perpetuate it with the next generation. I read the book to my daughter and introduced the concepts of colonialism and paternalism. She was young, but she understood what those concepts mean. We all do.
This research helps inspire me to continue teaching people about the difference between personal bigotry and institutional racism. And, I’m reminded of the saying, “When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.”
From Catherine Wigginton Greene
We posted this on Facebook this week, but it’s worth posting here again because it’s so in line with the work we try and do in our workshops. We see over and over again how so many Americans and the media blame all Muslims for one individual’s act of terror. Moreover, we never do the same with all white people when one white man commits a mass shooting. So how do we try to interrupt this dangerous pattern? First of all, we can point out the hypocrisy when we see people doing this. This Vox piece details a new study showing how effective that tactic is for changing minds and hearts (in that order!) If you’re looking for the most effective ways to shift perspectives, do not miss this fascinating article.
From Deionna Wilburn
The new Editor-in-Chief for Marvel Comics wrote on his twitter feed yesterday, “Breaking into, and staying in, comics, in any capacity, is just as much about attitude as it is about ability.” By attitude and ability, I’m assuming Cebulski means being a white man, but pretending to be a Japanese comic book writer by the name of Akira Yoshida. What’s most infuriating, Cebulski defrauded Marvel and his audience from 2005 to 2006 – even creating an elaborate backstory for the fictional Japanese man during a time when Marvel claimed to be actively looking for diversity in their writers. In the article, Cebulski is unapologetic and seems almost completely unbothered. And why shouldn’t he be? Again, he’s Marvel’s new Editor-in-Chief.
More From Barb Lee!
You can’t judge a book by its title and you can’t judge a course by its title, either. My only issue is that the professor doesn’t need the word “white” in the title – not in the U.S.
We aren’t even CLOSE to ready!
Any human being who has the skills to be a nurse should run to nursing school now. The contributions of good, skilled nurses is immeasurable. I was reminded of this fact this summer when my daughter was hospitalized for a major surgery. Because the humanity involved in being a nurse transcends any racial category, we should embrace any human being who can do this job.