Some people say we’re a “post-racist” society, especially since the election of our first Black president. The truth is much more complex, and seeds planted generations ago are still sprouting up today. It is important to understand the historical context of racism, and a review of some of the following resources will help you do that. We have split the resources into ones that focus primarily on historical events prior to 1946 and those that focus on the decades since WWII. Our intention is to highlight both the foundations of racism and events that directly impacted your employees and their families.
Resources focusing on events 1946 to present:
Under 10 minutes:
- Proctor and Gamble’s The Talk and The Look provide an overview of microaggressions experienced by people of color (video, 1-2 minutes).
- An overview of microaggressions encountered regularly by a white wife and Black husband (article, 10 minutes).
- ABC7 News Bay Area posted an overview of structural, institutional, and systemic racism on YouTube (video, 3 minutes).
- An Interview with Ibram X Kendi, author of How to Be An Antiracist, and Robin DiAngelo, author of White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, on PBS News Hour explains the concepts of antiracism and white fragility. (video, 9 minutes).
- NBC News shares Robin DiAngelo debunking the most common myths white people tell about race (video, 4 minutes).
10 minutes – one hour:
- Phil Vischer, the creator of VeggieTales, walks through an overview of system racism (video, 18 minutes).
- Brown eyes and blue eyes Racism experiment Children session was conducted in Jane Elliott’s third grade class over 50 years ago (video, 15 minutes). It became famous and is still powerful today, because it shows how quickly racism is learned and how it affects behavior in real time.
- An BBC overview of microaggressions in the workplace, and how to take action against them (article, 10-15 minutes).
- If you want to understand microaggressions at a deeper level, consider following the Microaggressions blog, which provides a visual representation of everyday microaggressions. (blog, 1-2 minutes at a time, but potentially ongoing).
Over one hour:
- How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X Kendi (book, >1 hour).
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo (book, >1 hour).
- In The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander explains how racial discrimination has not ended; it has been redesigned. Race cannot explicitly be used as a justification for discrimination; yet, a criminal background is fair game. It is legal to discriminate against convicted criminals in the ways in which it was once legal to discriminate against Black people. (book, >1 hour).
If you want to dig even further, review the Articles for Understanding: Systemic Racism and Social Justice, a set of over 70 articles that offer different perspectives on this issue by the MIT Press (articles, >1 hour).
Resources focusing on events prior to 1946:
10 minutes – one hour:
- The Atlantic has a feature that provides an overview of the history of slavery and racism and how it makes the case for studying reparations (article, 30-60 minutes).
Over one hour:
- 13th is a 2016 documentary directed by Ava DuVernay. In it, scholars, activists, and politicians analyze the criminalization of Black Americans since the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment. 13th begins with a statistic – the United States is only 5% of the world’s population and a full 25% of the world’s prison population. From there, the historical context is provided for how legalized slavery transitioned to mass incarceration and continues to serve as the foundation for brutality against Black men. 13th is currently available on Netflix and YouTube (film, 1 hour 40 minutes).
- 1619 is The New York Times’ six-episode audio series on how slavery has transformed America. It is one component of the ongoing 1619 Project. In each episode, Nikole Hannah-Jones discusses a different impact slavery has had on the lives of Black Americans – democracy, capitalism, music, healthcare and property ownership. (podcast, 6 episodes between 29 and 42 minutes each).