Antiracism Scale, White Supremacy, Radical Copyediting, and Holocaust Forgiveness - What We Learned this Week

Antiracism Scale, White Supremacy, Radical Copyediting, and Holocaust Forgiveness – What We Learned this Week

We know there are so many resources on the topics of race, identity, antiracism, and equity that trying to stay informed can seem overwhelming. That’s why we’re sharing each week a few select articles and videos that we’ve found insightful as we do our work.

We hope this helps and feel free to leave a comment if you think we’ve left anything out!

From Barb Lee

How America Spreads the Disease that is Racism by not Confronting Racist Family Members and Friends

Scale showing ranges of racist beliefs and behavior. We've learned we can't think of racism in binary terms; it's a spectrum.
Racism Scale: Where do you fall? We’ve learned over the years that we can’t think of racism in binary terms (you’re either racist or you’re not). Source:

I think the chart in this article says so much. And the author reminds us that we have to stand up at all times and all the time. I definitely had to check my own conscience. I remember a specific time when I was a guest at another family member’s house. Their grandfather, who was in his 90s, made a hateful comment and I didn’t take a stand. Should I have ruined Easter? You bet I should have. Instead, those family members have memories of a nice family gathering and I have memories of when I didn’t have personal integrity.

From Catherine Wigginton Greene

This American Life – White Haze
I’ve been getting caught up on This American Life. This episode – White Haze – aired in September, but it’s still timely and relevant. In the wake of the events in Charlottesville last August, the episode’s producers dive in to right-wing and white supremacist organizations. The revelations in the first act are disturbing and, at times, just plain bizarre. In the second act, producer Robyn Semien interviews Jason Kessler, the man who organized the Charlottesville rally. It was one of those stories I stayed in my car to finish, even though I was already home. And I found the ending to be chilling.

This episode wasn’t just some look inside a freak show for me. I found it a necessary glimpse into the mindset of the people involved in these types of groups – especially because most of them say they aren’t racist. As producer Robyn Semien concludes, these aren’t people who are trying to hold on to their power; they actually don’t believe they have any. And they’re out to get it. Facing people who feel they have nothing to lose is a much different – and scarier – type of fight.

Radical Copyeditor
If you’re new to thinking about race and racism, this resource might not be the place to start. But if you’ve been at this for a while, and if you’re interested in the language we use when discussing issues of identity, check this site out. It completely speaks to the copyediting geek in me. And it presents incredible lessons about how to use language with more accuracy and inclusion. Check out the posts on Why it’s incredibly problematic to call white supremacists insane and Why we need to stop saying ‘politically correct’. These are just two of many insightful, easy-to-read, and incredibly instructive posts. This will now be a regular read for me!

From Sam Rosenthal

Colin Kaepernick Will Not Be Silenced
This GQ “Citizen of the Year” profile on Colin Kaepernick is remarkable for many reasons. But perhaps the most important reason is that Kaepernick doesn’t make a single on-the-record quote in the entire article. This is intentional. As the author of the article describes it: “As his public identity has begun to shift from football star to embattled activist, he has grown wise to the power of his silence.” Instead of an interview, the magazine has published a photo essay accompanied by powerful quotes about Kaepernick by those who know him.

It’s hard to put into words the feelings this video conjures, as a Jewish person and a human being. The woman being interviewed did not only survive Auschwitz, but also the horrific medical experiments performed by the infamous doctor Josef Mengele. In the video, she describes what happened to her and her family at Auschwitz, as well as her experience after the war. Ultimately, she got in touch with a different former Nazi doctor, and the two of them went back to Auschwitz together — he to apologize, and she to accept his apology. Her decision to forgive this man is a painful one for many Jews (she describes how the Holocaust survivors’ community ostracized her for doing it). But at heart, it is an incredible lesson on the healing power that forgiveness can have on one’s soul.

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