https://tinyurl.com/AspiringAllyReadingPlan

Where Do I Begin?

A 28-day reading plan for white and non-black POC (people of color)  aspiring allies

I, like many of you, am feeling outraged by the murder of George Floyd. I am outraged for George and his family, as well as for the many other murders of our Black brothers and sisters in recent memory. I am outraged by these deaths, and I am outraged by the systems that devastate BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities.  

As a white woman, I have learned about racism through reading and listening, rather than through experiencing. I am a Social Worker and School Counselor who cares deeply about my Black and brown students, and at the same time I will never understand what it is like to be a child of color. I have the freedom to choose when to expand my understanding of systemic oppression. This is an astounding privilege. I am choosing to expand this understanding now. By opening this document, you have shown interest in doing the same.

I am blown away by the articles, books, podcasts, and documentaries available for my personal re-education. And… there is so much out there. Have you ever scrolled through brilliant Instagram story after brilliant Instagram story telling yourself, “I should really read that,” and then closed the app having read only headlines? I have.

My contribution: A daily reading plan.

I created a day-by-day guide to some of the most highly recommended media for learning about institutional racism, white supremacy, policing, protesting, and more. Each day has one assigned piece of foundational content. Most days’ content will take 15 minutes or less to consume. I have noted longer pieces. (Of course, you are invited to spend additional time digesting and discussing the content!) None of the pieces are peer-reviewed journal entries; my intention is to make this learning highly accessible without compromising complexity and depth. I have consumed some of these pieces, and many are new to me. I will be following this plan.

I do not deserve any credit for compiling the materials. I created the daily-reader format, and that is all. I created the guide from the curated resources of Tatum Dorrell, Matt Herndon, Jourdan Dorrell, Danah Kowdan, Sarah Sophie Flicker, Alyssa Klein, the AntiRacism Project, The AntiRacist Resource Guide, Rachel Ricketts, and many others who I cite throughout the document.

This plan is nowhere near fully representative of the range of experiences of institutionalized racism. It is only a starting point. Please visit the hyperlinks throughout this document for extended resources to continue your learning.

Learning is one action, but not the only action. Donate money. Vote. Call out racism (in yourself and in others). Use any privilege you have to support BIPOC communities. Here is a useful guide for actions of all kinds.

I hope this daily reading plan is as useful for you as it will be for me.

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A Note on Access

The large majority of articles have no paywall attached to them whatsoever. Exceptions to this include articles from the New York Times and the Atlantic, which require a digital subscription after you have read a certain number of articles in a specific period. One option to get around the paywall is to load the article in a different browser than what you typically use. Another option is to subscribe. Another option is to crowdsource logins from friends who have subscriptions.

I highly recommend trying to access the article listed for the day, but if this is not possible, I have posted easy-access content for the days this is relevant (marked with *).

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WEEK ONE

This week’s content introduces concepts about institutional racism, mass incarceration, white privilege, and the significance of protesting. It also addresses some highly asked questions about the June 2020 protests.

Day 1

Of Course There are Protests. The State is Failing Black People - Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (article, The NY Times, May 29, 2020)*

Day 2

Where Do I Donate? Why is the Uprising Violent? Should I Go Protest? - Courtney Martin (article, Medium, June 1, 2020)

Day 3

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack - Peggy McIntosh (article, Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, 1988)

Day 4

Slavery to Mass Incarceration - Equal Justice Initiative (video, July 7, 2015)

Day 5

The 1619 Project: Opening Essay - Nikole Hannah-Jones (article, The NY Times, August 14, 2019, slightly longer)*

Day 6

Amy Cooper Knew Exactly What She Was Doing - Zeba Blay (article, HuffPost, May 26, 2020)

Day 7

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race - Reni Eddo-Lodge (podcast, The Guardian, May 31, 2017, 30 minutes)

Got some extra time?

Very-easy-to-access alternatives

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WEEK TWO

This week includes the writing of Dr. King and the voices of the founders of Black Lives Matter - two frequently cited sources. It also includes tangible action steps that white and non-black POC aspiring allies can take.

Day 8

Who Gets to Be Afraid in America? - Ibram X. Kendi (article, The Atlantic, May 12, 2020)*

Day 9

The New Jim Crow - Michelle Alexander (article, The American Prospect, December 6, 2010)

Day 10

Letter from a Birmingham Jail - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (article, April 16, 1963, slightly longer)

Day 11

An Interview with the Founders of Black Lives Matter - Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi, Mia Birdsong (video, TEDWomen 2016, 15 minutes)

Day 12

75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice - Corinne Shutack (article, August 13, 2017)

Day 13

Confronting Racism is Not about the Needs of White People - Ijeoma Oluo (article, The Guardian, March 28, 2019)

Day 14

#NotRacists Be Like: The Top 10 Phrases by People Who Claim They Are Not Racist - Michael Harriot (article, The Root, October 4, 2017)

Got some extra time?

Very-easy-to-access alternatives

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WEEK THREE

This week introduces the concepts of “white fragility” and intersectionality. It also furthers discussion of police violence and the social determinants of health.

Day 15

White Fragility - The Conscious Kid and Robin DeAngelo (written interview, The Conscious Kid)

Day 16

Why the Coronavirus is Hitting Black Communities Hardest - Code Switch (podcast, NPR, April 11, 2020, 24 minutes)

Day 17

11 Things You Can Do to Help Black Lives Matter End Police Violence - Lincoln Anthony Blades (article, Teen Vogue, May 28, 2020)

Day 18

Black Bodies, White Souls - Austin Channing Brown (blog post, August 15, 2014)

Day 19

The Intersectionality Wars - Jane Coaston (and Kimberlé Crenshaw) (article,  Vox, May 28, 2019)

Day 20

Keep the Fight - Pod Save the People with Deray (podcast, POD Save the People, June 2, 2020, 60 minutes)

Day 21

The Uses of Anger: Women Respond to Racism - Audre Lorde (written speech at the National Women’s Studies Association Conference, 1981)

Got some extra time?

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WEEK FOUR

This week goes deeper into the concept of reparations, anti-racism, the trauma of police brutality, corrupt legal systems, and looting. The week ends with an action for you to research impactful policy changes.

Day 22

On Being Comfortable with Discomfort: Tiffany Jewell Explains What It Means to be Anti-Racist - Vanessa Willoughby (article, School Library Journal, January 13, 2020)

Day 23

The Case for Reparations - Ta-Nehisi Coates (article, The Atlantic, June 2014, this one is long and so worth it. The Atlantic has a limit on free articles, but there’s no substitute for this one)

Day 24

Are All White Americans Police Officers? - Andre Henry (article, Medium Level, May 6, 2020)

Day 25

Episode 1: Justice for the Rich, Money Bail - Justice in America (podcast, 2019, 51 minutes)

Day 26

In Defense of Looting - Vicky Osterweil (article, The New Inquiry, August 21, 2014)

Day 27

How Videos of Police Brutality Traumatize African Americans and Undermine the Search for Justice - Kia Gregory (article, The New Republic, February 13, 2019)

Day 28

Campaign Zero - choose a police reform, read the description on the website, and choose at least one article to read

Got some extra time?

Don’t let your learning end at day 29! There is so much that has not been given enough voice with this list alone, including but not limited to microaggressions, implicit bias, “all/blue lives matter,” economic disenfranchisement, the school-to-prison pipeline, redlining, lack of media coverage for violence against Black LGBTQ+ populations, affirmative action, liberation, hiring, and effectively calling out racism when you see it.

Continue your education using the following resources cultivated by brilliant Black authors, thinkers, and creatives (you have already read some of the content they highlight but there is so much more):

Furthermore, don’t just read about the oppression of Black communities. Celebrate Black stories, voices, art, music, culture, food, and more. Allow Black individuals and communities the expression of a full range of emotions. Give credit where credit is due.

Keep learning. Take action.