In the days since May 25, 2020, when a white police officer killed George Floyd in Minneapolis, protests and passionate conversations have focused our attention on racial prejudice. As the following resources help us to see, this bigotry has been a disease in American society since its origins. With these and other resources, we can understand more fully why racial injustice has remained so intractable, and studying how to be antiracist can carry us closer to a time when we might finally begin to grow past it.
eBooks and Print Books
Antiracism Inc by Paula Ioanide (Editor); Alison Reed (Editor); Felice Blake (Editor)Antiracism Inc., co-edited by Felice Blake, Paula Ioanide, and Alison Reed, traces the ways people along the political spectrum appropriate, incorporate, and neutralize antiracist discourses to perpetuate injustice. It also examines the ways organizers continue to struggle for racial justice in the context of such appropriations. Antiracism Inc. reveals how antiracist claims can be used to propagate racism, and what we can do about it. While related to colorblind, multicultural, and diversity discourses, the appropriation of antiracist rhetoric as a strategy for advancing neoliberal and neoconservative agendas is a unique phenomenon that requires careful interrogation and analysis. Those who co-opt antiracist language and practice do not necessarily deny racial difference, biases, or inequalities. Instead, by performing themselves conservatively as non-racists or liberally as 'authentic' antiracists, they purport to be aligned with racial justice even while advancing the logics and practices of systemic racism. Antiracism Inc. therefore considers new ways of struggling toward racial justice in a world that constantly steals and misuses radical ideas and practices. The critical essays and poetry collected here focus on people and methods that do not seek inclusion in the hierarchical order of gendered racial capitalism. Rather, they focus on aggrieved peoples who have always had to negotiate state violence and cultural erasure, but who also work to build the worlds they envision. These collectivities seek to transform social structures and establish a new social warrant guided by what W.E.B. Du Bois called "abolition democracy," a way of being and thinking that privileges people, mutual interdependence, and ecological harmony over individualist self-aggrandizement and profits. Further, these aggrieved collectivities reshape social relations away from the violence and alienation inherent to gendered racial capitalism, and towards the well-being of the commons. Antiracism Inc. articulates methodologies that strive toward freedom dreams without imposing monolithic or authoritative definitions of resistance. Because power seeks to neutralize revolutionary action through incorporation as much as through elimination, these freedom dreams, as well as the language used to articulate them, are constantly transformed through the critical and creative interventions stemming from the active engagement in liberation struggles. In addition to critical essays by Felice Blake ("How Does Black Cultural Criticism 'Work' in the Age of Antiracist Incorporation?"), Kevin Fellezs ("Nahenahe Soft, Sweet, Melodious], the Sound of Kanaka Maoli Native Hawaiian] Refusal"), Daniel Martinez HoSang ("A Wider Type of Freedom"), Paula Ioanide ("Defensive Appropriations"), George Lipsitz ("The Logic of 'Illogical' Opposition: Tools and Tactics for Tough Times"), Alison Reed ("Gentrifying Disciplines: The Institutional Management of Trauma and Creative Dissent"), Phia S. Salter + Glenn Adams ("Provisional Strategies for Decolonizing Consciousness"), and Barbara Tomlinson ("Wicked Problems and Intersectionality Telephone"), the volume also includes poetry by Dubian Ade, Jari Bradley, Dahlak Brathwaite, Corinne Contreras, Ebony P. Donnley, Colin Masashi Ehara, David Scott (YDS), Daniel Hershel Silber-Baker, and Sophia Terazawa, as well as interviews with Diana Zu iga (CURB, Californians United for a Responsible Budget) and with Gaby Hernandez and Marissa Garcia (PODER, People Organizing for the Defense and Equal Rights of Santa Barbara Youth).
Publication Date: 2019-04-25
Beyond the White Negro by Kimberly Chabot DavisCritics often characterize white consumption of African American culture as a form of theft that echoes the fantasies of 1950s-era bohemians, or "White Negroes," who romanticized black culture as anarchic and sexually potent. In Beyond the White Negro, Kimberly Chabot Davis claims such a view fails to describe the varied politics of racial crossover in the past fifteen years. Davis analyzes how white engagement with African American novels, film narratives, and hip-hop can help form anti-racist attitudes that may catalyze social change and racial justice. Though acknowledging past failures to establish cross-racial empathy, she focuses on examples that show avenues for future progress and change. Her study of ethnographic data from book clubs and college classrooms shows how engagement with African American culture and pedagogical support can lead to the kinds of white self-examination that make empathy possible. The result is a groundbreaking text that challenges the trend of focusing on society's failures in achieving cross-racial empathy and instead explores possible avenues for change.
Publication Date: 2014-01-01
Black Marxism by Cedric J. RobinsonIn this ambitious work, first published in 1983, Cedric Robinson demonstrates that efforts to understand black people's history of resistance solely through the prism of Marxist theory are incomplete and inaccurate. Marxist analyses tend to presuppose European models of history and experience that downplay the significance of black people and black communities as agents of change and resistance. Black radicalism must be linked to the traditions of Africa and the unique experiences of blacks on western continents, Robinson argues, and any analyses of African American history need to acknowledge this. To illustrate his argument, Robinson traces the emergence of Marxist ideology in Europe, the resistance by blacks in historically oppressive environments, and the influence of both of these traditions on such important twentieth-century black radical thinkers as W. E. B. Du Bois, C. L. R. James, and Richard Wright.
Publication Date: 2005-10-12
How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * From the National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning comes a "groundbreaking" (Time) approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society--and in ourselves. "The most courageous book to date on the problem of race in the Western mind."--The New York Times NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review * Time * NPR * The Washington Post * Shelf Awareness * Library Journal * Publishers Weekly * Kirkus Reviews Antiracism is a transformative concept that reorients and reenergizes the conversation about racism--and, even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. At its core, racism is a powerful system that creates false hierarchies of human value; its warped logic extends beyond race, from the way we regard people of different ethnicities or skin colors to the way we treat people of different sexes, gender identities, and body types. Racism intersects with class and culture and geography and even changes the way we see and value ourselves. In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas--from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilities--that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves. Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science with his own personal story of awakening to antiracism. This is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond the awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a just and equitable society. Praise for How to Be an Antiracist "Ibram X. Kendi's new book, How to Be an Antiracist, couldn't come at a better time. . . . Kendi has gifted us with a book that is not only an essential instruction manual but also a memoir of the author's own path from anti-black racism to anti-white racism and, finally, to antiracism. . . . How to Be an Antiracist gives us a clear and compelling way to approach, as Kendi puts it in his introduction, 'the basic struggle we're all in, the struggle to be fully human and to see that others are fully human.' "--NPR "Kendi dissects why in a society where so few people consider themselves to be racist the divisions and inequalities of racism remain so prevalent. How to Be an Antiracist punctures the myths of a post-racial America, examining what racism really is--and what we should do about it."--Time
Publication Date: 2019-08-13
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander; Cornel West (Introduction by)Once in a great while a book comes along that changes the way we see the world and helps to fuel a nationwide social movement. The New Jim Crow is such a book. Praised by Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier as "brave and bold," this book directly challenges the notion that the election of Barack Obama signals a new era of colorblindness. With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that "we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it." By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control—relegating millions to a permanent second-class status—even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. In the words of Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, this book is a "call to action." Called "stunning" by Pulitzer Prize–winning historian David Levering Lewis, "invaluable" by the Daily Kos, "explosive" by Kirkus, and "profoundly necessary" by the Miami Herald, this updated and revised paperback edition of The New Jim Crow, now with a foreword by Cornel West, is a must-read for all people of conscience.
Call Number: book also in print format, Main Library 364.973 A377n
Publication Date: 2012-01-16
Algorithms of Oppression by Safiya Umoja NobleA revealing look at how negative biases against women of color are embedded in search engine results and algorithms Run a Google search for "black girls"--what will you find? "Big Booty" and other sexually explicit terms are likely to come up as top search terms. But, if you type in "white girls," the results are radically different. The suggested porn sites and un-moderated discussions about "why black women are so sassy" or "why black women are so angry" presents a disturbing portrait of black womanhood in modern society. In Algorithms of Oppression, Safiya Umoja Noble challenges the idea that search engines like Google offer an equal playing field for all forms of ideas, identities, and activities. Data discrimination is a real social problem; Noble argues that the combination of private interests in promoting certain sites, along with the monopoly status of a relatively small number of Internet search engines, leads to a biased set of search algorithms that privilege whiteness and discriminate against people of color, specifically women of color. Through an analysis of textual and media searches as well as extensive research on paid online advertising, Noble exposes a culture of racism and sexism in the way discoverability is created online. As search engines and their related companies grow in importance--operating as a source for email, a major vehicle for primary and secondary school learning, and beyond--understanding and reversing these disquieting trends and discriminatory practices is of utmost importance. An original, surprising and, at times, disturbing account of bias on the internet, Algorithms of Oppression contributes to our understanding of how racism is created, maintained, and disseminated in the 21st century.
Call Number: Main Library 025.042 N752a
Publication Date: 2018-02-20
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER * NAMED ONE OF TIME'S TEN BEST NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE DECADE * PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST * NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST Hailed by Toni Morrison as "required reading," a bold and personal literary exploration of America's racial history by "the most important essayist in a generation and a writer who changed the national political conversation about race" (Rolling Stone) NAMED ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BOOKS OF THE DECADE BY CNN * NAMED ONE OF PASTE'S BEST MEMOIRS OF THE DECADE * NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review * O: The Oprah Magazine * The Washington Post * People * Entertainment Weekly * Vogue * Los Angeles Times * San Francisco Chronicle * Chicago Tribune * New York * Newsday * Library Journal * Publishers Weekly In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation's history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of "race," a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men--bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden? Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates's attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son--and readers--the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children's lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.
Call Number: Main Library AND Iowa City Library 305.896 S982b
Publication Date: 2015-07-14
To access Kirkwood databases from anywhere off-campus, you will be prompted to enter your k-number and password.
Because the library’s databases contain material from thousands of journals, reference books, and other electronic sources, finding a few good articles will depend on the specific topic you wish to explore more deeply. A librarian can help you choose databases or guide you through a search of all of our resources through the library’s homepage.
Social Issues Databases
In addition to our large, multi-discipline databases (Academic OneFile, Academic Search Elite, Britannica Online, Credo Reference), in which you can search for background information and publications on prominent people and events, some more specialized databases may help you find journal articles on racial justice issues more quickly, such as:
Educating for Black LivesThis link opens in a new windowWhy search here? Find current academic essays for antiracist education. What's included? Essays published in a variety of books, selected to support educators across contexts—classrooms, communities, homes, workshops, and more.
Criminal Justice (Proquest)This link opens in a new windowProQuest Criminal Justice is a comprehensive database supporting research on crime, its causes and impacts, legal and social implications, as well as litigation and crime trends.
TOPICsearchThis link opens in a new windowThis current events database may be a good source for exploring the context of issues related to social justice.
Opposing ViewpointsThis link opens in a new windowIssues such as racial justice require us to have uncomfortable conversations with others whose opinions may not match ours. Opposing Viewpoints will help you to find information to support stances on these issues, but will also help you find resources that argue for different solutions to problems. Many of its topic pages delve into racial equality, including “Police Brutality,” with many viewpoints on current rising tensions, and statistics and other primary sources to help explain various perspectives.
Because current events related to racism are changing throughout each day, our news sources provide more up-to-date articles. Also see “Web Resources” for information about online news.
AP NewsWireThis link opens in a new windowWhy search here? Go right to dependable national and global current news stories.What's included? News stories from the past 2 weeks, all from Associated Press, an independent global news organization.
News (Gale OneFile)This link opens in a new windowIn addition to newspapers nationwide, this is a source for finding sound and video broadcasts and their transcripts.
New York TimesThis link opens in a new windowKirkwood provides full access to the New York Times; registration just requires a Kirkwood email address.
Current Kirkwood students and employees may create an account to access Kirkwood's nytimes.com subscription. Follow the steps outlined here.
Recent articles (in the past two years) from the Cedar Rapids Gazette should be obtained from their website, https://www.thegazette.com/, although without a personal subscription there will be a limit to the number of articles you can read.
Films On DemandThis link opens in a new windowWith a focus on documentaries from various producers, this database includes resources that show the development of Black Lives Matter and the history of other Civil Rights movements.
Kanopy Streaming VideosThis link opens in a new windowKanopy contains feature films as well as documentaries to help you explore multiple sides of issues. A good place to start is “Social and Systemic Injustice,” their list of 48 films starting with “I Am Not Your Negro: James Baldwin and Race in America” (2016) carrying the insights of James Baldwin forward from the 1980s into the 2010s, and “Race: The Power of an Illusion” (2003), a valuable 3-part documentary that continues to be relevant in challenging our understanding of our own beliefs and those of others.
Other streaming services are proving to be valuable in bringing feature films and documentary productions to a wider audience. One important example is Ava DuVernay’s “13th” (2016) about the long and terrible history of mass incarceration in the U.S. Because of its continued significance, this film has been made available by its producer, Netflix, for general viewers without a subscription, at least for the time being.
Like news sources, websites with information on racial injustice have added tremendous new amounts of information in the light of recent protests. Web searches – conducted with an awareness of how to evaluate online information (see “Why Evaluate?” on Kirkwood’s Research Help guide) and discern biased points of view (see “Sources for Fact Checking Online News” in our guide) – will lead you to local, national, and international organizations dedicated to combatting the scourge of racism.
Web Resource Guides
Internet searches for information on antiracism, Black Lives Matter, police violence, and racial injustice in general provide many more suggestions for further study in books, articles, websites, videos and podcasts, and social media.
Like any topic on the internet, this will require you to examine whether a resource is trustworthy, accurate, or comprehensive enough for your needs.
Following are some articles that provide help in detecting misinformation:
A few of the many, many organizations working against racism:
Black Lives Matter – Begun in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, the Black Lives Matter movement grew in influence with the subsequent deaths of African Americans, often those killed by police, and the crackdown by law enforcement of protests to these deaths. The movement has grown in scope to call attention to discrimination against women, queer and transgender people, and others who often received little recognition in social movements.
Equal Justice Initiative – Renowned public interest lawyer Bryan Stevenson formed this organization in 1989 to provide legal representation for the incarcerated, and to challenge wrongful convictions. They have won reversals for over 135 wrongly condemned prisoners on death row, and have led many anti-discrimination initiatives. EJI has also opened the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama, (https://museumandmemorial.eji.org/museum) and nearby, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, the acclaimed site dedicated to the memory of the more than 4,400 victims of lynching in the United States and committed to confronting segregation and racial injustice (https://museumandmemorial.eji.org/memorial).
The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, that opened on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in 2016, has as part of its mission a commitment to reaching audiences beyond Washington and collaborating with other organizations to explore issues in African American history. Its many initiatives include “Talking About Race,” a learning project with tools and guidance to encourage our individual exploration of an understanding of racial identity.
Current Events on the Web
In between organization’s websites and the vast realm of social media are many sources of information on events as they develop, both locally and nationally.
To cite just one locality, the response of residents and officials in Iowa City in the form of protests and policies can be followed as it develops from sources such as:
Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist, spoke on July 20, 2020, to a large audience via Zoom with Dr. Charlene M. Dukes, President of Prince George’s Community College in Maryland, on the current state of protests and the growing movement to confront racial injustice in the U.S. A recording of this talk is available for viewing online until August 20, 2020.