Once I began seeing family members start dropping like flies when it came to voting for Trump in 2016 election I knew there was no turning back for me. I’ve long been on a quest to come to terms with my own complicity in white supremacy, and this was the opportunity for me to shift things into overdrive and understand more about why and how I saw the world around me. After Trump was elected i wanted to develop better understand how people I care about could believe in such a horrible human being, and ultimately be so fearful of the world “out there”. Ever since 2016 I have been on a journey to come to t3erms this reality, but more importantly I wanted open my eyes and push myself to be a better human being, and be the change I wanted so desperately to see in the world.
There are many other books that I’ve read that have shifted how I see the world in the last seven years, but these ones have specifically helped me better understand my white family members, unwind the programming I have been exposed to in my youth, and learn to develop empathy for marginalized human beings around me.
|Bunk - The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News - by Kevin Young|
|White Trash - The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America -By Nancy Isenberg|
|Educated - By Tara Westover - Westover recounts overcoming her survivalist Mormon family in order to go to college, and emphasizes the importance of education in enlarging her world.|
|Stamped From The Beginning - The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America - By Ibram X. Kendi|
|Evicted - Poverty and Profit in the American City - By Matthew Desmond|
|Women, Race & Class - A powerful study of the women’s liberation movement and the tangled knot of oppression facing Black women - By Angela Y. Davis|
|Freedom Is a Constant Struggle - Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement - By Angela Y. Davis|
|Loaded - A Disarming History of the Second Amendment - by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz|
|The Warmth of Other Suns -The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration - by Ijeoma Oluo|
|Braiding Sweetgrass - Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants - By Robin Wall Kimmerer|
|The Color of Law - A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America - By Richard Rothstein|
|How the Word Is Passed - A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America - by Clint Smith|
|The 1619 Project - A reframing of American history that placed slavery and its continuing legacy at the center of our national narrative. - By Nikole Hannah-Jones|
|Mediocre - The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America - by Ijeoma Oluo|
After reading these books, there is no turning back. I just put down Mediocre, and the conclusion perfectly summed up this quest I have been on. I get where much of my anxiety comes from and it reaffirms the importance of the work I am doing to reverse the programming I had growing up. Bunk, White Trash, and Educated were very important primers for me. These books mapped to my experience growing up and provided me with the perspective I needed to want to learn more. Then I feel like Stamped from the Beginning, Evicted, and Angela Davis really provided me with the racial lens I needed to keep unpacking my shit, and keep seeking oiut even more diverse voices. But, Mediocre really brought it all home for me this weekend, and provided me with the answers I’ve been seeking.
Of course, this journey will never end. Like I said, there is no turning back. I have to keep reading and filling my head with other voices now. THe gravity has shifted for me and I can never step away from the richness of listening to more diverse voices. Sitting here in 2022, having read all these books, I can really see how dependent power is in this nation is counting on people being ignorant, uneducated, and believing in racial, religious, and class boundaries. I can also see just how foundational white supremacy is to the founding, expansion, and current state of this nation. Knowing more is terrifying, but not nearly as terrifying for me as isolation, ignorance, and continuing to live in a very white-washed reality. I just can’t do it anymore. These books are foundational for helping me in my journey over the last seven years, and without them I’d be much more lost, angry, and without hope.