Have you ever wanted to help someone but felt helpless?

There is so much violence happening here in the U.S. Right now the topic of racial discrimination is making news headlines and taking over social media. These issues of racial violence aren’t new nor is it getting worse. It’s just now more visible to those who have believed we live in “post-racial” society. The misconception of living in a “post-racial” society is very common especially to white folks. This is dangerous because it’s not reality and because it leads to questioning the experiences of people of color. The truth is, we do live in a racially discriminatory nation. We were founded on colonialism, genocide, oppression, and marginalization and the system created by our “founding fathers” significantly caters to able-bodied, Christian, white males. We have system that holds back the majority of the population.  How can we create equity if we still live by the existing system? We can’t.

Some of you readers are aware of this inequity but for others this may be the first time you thought about this. It is common for those who hold privilege to not see it, and when it is revealed they often feel guilty. Privilege is something you get without working for it. Feeling guilty for something you can’t help only takes the attention away from the groups disadvantaged by privilege. So let’s utilize the privilege we have in order to stop contributing to the problem and start being part of the solution.

This is when the library comes in handy. Sometimes we want to be an ally to those marginalized but we also don’t want to exhaust them by continually asking about their experience. In addition to offering, “How can I help advocate for you?” you can also start reading books. There are tons of books written about discrimination and systemic oppression in the U.S. If you’re the type of person who still feels like, “Eh I’m not racist therefore I don’t contribute to the problem. I treat people nicely and only judge them by their personality,” then try reading a book written about race from a privileged author such as Tim Wise. Tim is white but he is my favorite person to follow on Facebook because he recognizes and checks his privilege. It’s also easier for white people to listen to him because it’s easier to relate to someone in your position that is trying to show you something different.

Whether you are aware of this or this is new to you or you’re in between, check out these recommendations. You never know what book will change the way you live your life.

In addition to using our amazing UW Library, also check out the IDEA Project Library which is in the IDEA Project space at UW1 161.

Race

White Like Me by  Tim J. Wise

Seeing White : An Introduction to White Privilege and Race by Jean O’Malley Halley

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Black Looks : Race and Representation by bell hooks.

Readings for Diversity and Social Justice by Maurianne Adams

Undocumented Immigrants & Colonialism

We Are American by William Perez

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dubar-Ortiz

Octavia’s Brood by Walidah Imarisha

Mark My Words by Mishuana Goeman

Yakama Rising by Michelle M. Jacob

Gender & Sexual Identities

Redefining Realness by Janet Mock

Trans Bodies, Trans Selves by Laura Erickson-Schroth

Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States by Joey Mogul

Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin

Feminism

Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks

Ain’t I a Woman? by bell hooks

Feminist Ryan Gosling by Danielle Henderson

Disability/Ableism

Ableism Online: Virtually Passing While Disabled

Feminist Disability Studies by Kim Q. Hall

Don’t Call Me Inspirational: A Disabled Feminist Talks Back by Harilyn Rousso

Moving Violations: War Zones, Wheelchairs, and Declarations of Independence by John Hockenberry

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