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Aug./Sept '20 Antiracism > Before We Start: Reading Expectations

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message 1: by Pam (last edited Aug 12, 2020 08:10AM) (new)

Pam | 1070 comments Mod
(This post originally came from the AntiRacism Book Club posted by Olivia. Check them out for further reading! )

In the Discussion Guide, Basic Guidelines (listed in the back of the book or online), the author recommends asking attendees to ask what they hope to get out of the book and out of the group discussion. She says that by everyone verbalizing their intentions, everyone has a better chance of reaching aligned goals.

Discussion Topics:

What are you hoping to get from this book?
What are you looking forward to gaining from this discussion?
Where are you on your journey to becoming anti-racist?


message 2: by Pam (new)

Pam | 1070 comments Mod
I'll start.

I live in the state that saw John Crawford, Tamir Rice, and countless others killed by racist institutions and biased actions. I am appalled by the likes of Amy Cooper and her causal display of racism. And I fought with a woc on goodreads about whether or not Hidden Figures was a good book or if it was sanitized white savior story.

I want to learn how to best shut up and listen. And to stop believing that that my opinion is the right opinion.


message 3: by Florian (last edited Aug 12, 2020 11:02PM) (new)

Florian (laughingflow) | 220 comments Hey there!

I admit the topic about race has always been touchy. The majority of the friends I made are international and often from non western countries. I know race is a big field to discuss to fight racism but for a long time I felt difficult to approach this topic with my friends.
Indeed, I did not want to look inappropriate, I did not want to hurt. So I did not talk a lot about it with them. I guess I was afraid of not knowing enough and to look like I was asking them to teach me.

Reading is, in my opinion, a good way to learn without directly asking the other energy. It helped me to learn before discussing, even though to be honest I highly prefer direct interaction to learn something. I think I really started to talk about race with friends only recently. Probably something like 3-4 years ago. When I really recognized the impact of my privileges (did not mean I was not aware of it before, it just means that I am more aware of it right now) I tended to bring more often this point (privileges, oppressions, discrimination, racism) in discussions with people especially when they are white.

So what I expect from reading that book is learning more about this area of oppression and discrimination to not tire people by asking question. This process will help me to bring those subjects in discussions with my friends who are not white so that I can listen to them. I knew listening was important, but I realized it was essential even though your friend is having an emotional peak and cries. Yes it happened to me, and it was hard for both of us, definitely harder for my friends but I guess it was vital to listen to them and they verbalized it.

I'm not gonna be quite original, and I will join your expectation Pam, I want to learn to better listen, to not overspeak while thinking I'm doing right. I want to challenge more my thoughts and I want to learn more to be able to spark discussions about racism with my non white friends and to talk more easily with strong points when the topics is brought in a discussion with white people (already do that a little but it is sometimes difficult to convince that we are structurally racist, that we have a legacy and that we must change).

Sorry, I'm a bit long.

Have a good day!


message 4: by Pam (new)

Pam | 1070 comments Mod
No. I was giving credit where credit was due. But we are reading an anti-racism book for the next two months


message 5: by Vandana (new)

Vandana Sinha (runnu) Ok my take on this very sensitive subject. I can understand that racism can be many layered and the perpetrator may not be even conscious of it. It may be subtle and of course brutally violent too.
I would like to understand the various layers of racism, and try to understand how much does our society and our culture contribute to our mental make up. And how does one start getting racist.
There are so many incidents happening the world over I want to know the why's and wherefores.
I want to gain a deeper understanding of its roots - so that it is easier to destroy or question in my own limited sphere.
I would like to hear and share so that I can help when and where I can.
Does it make any sense? It is such a sensitive subject that the more frankly it is discussed the better will be our understanding.


message 6: by Pam (new)

Pam | 1070 comments Mod
Vandana wrote: "Does it make any sense? It is such a sensitive subject that the more frankly it is discussed the better will be our understanding."

That was well put and touches on some of the reasons why we don't talk about race that often. Thank you Vandana.

This book will be able to help begin (or continue) our journey of understanding and self discovery. And maybe, maybe, help us to learn how to approach, discuss, call out, or question racist practices that we see in the future.


message 7: by Clara (new)

Clara | 7 comments There are many many things considering racism that I know nothing about but I picked two aspects to answer the questions:
While thinking about these questions, I realised that I have never read a book about racism written by an American author. So I am curious about the differences to the Western European books that I have red so far. My guess is that there won’t be so many differences considering racist experiences but maybe some differences in institutional racist structures.
At the same time, I am curious about the vocabulary in use. While scanning the contents, the model minority myth caught my eye since I have never heard this in my mother tongue (I’m sure the phenomena exists; obviously a blind spot for me). Another aspects of this is the word ‘race’ which I do not use in my mother tongue German except for dogs. Because of the racist history of national socialism, the word alone is considered very racist and still occupied by far right people. This has led to a lot of different words in use, highly influence by the US/UK-discourses and current protests which takes me back to my first point.


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