“[What gives me hope now is…] the writers who are coming into being during a time that threatens the very foundation of a world we like to think of as having progressed from the dark recesses of a bygone world. We are seeing so much of that illusion coming apart and it is our lot to find new models for intervening in that crucial work of imagining our way out.”
~ Canisia Lubrin, Author of Voodoo Hypothesis: Poems + The Dyzgraphxst
My opening quote from Canisia Lubrin is from an interview Canisia did ahead of her keynote at last year’s Growing Room Literary + Arts Festival.
I wanted to share it with you because it speaks so clearly to where we are right now.
We are living in a time that threatens the foundation of an illusory world.
We are witnessing the illusion coming apart.
We need new models for intervening in the crucial work of anti-racism.
We need to find ways, collectively and personally, to imagine our way out.
It’s taken me some time to write this post.
I’ve been sitting with my own privilege these past few weeks.
I’ve been reading and learning.
I’ve been de-colonizing my bookshelf.
I’ve been talking with my wife and kids about the murder of George Floyd and the many, many people of colour who have lost their lives because of racism and racial injustice.
This has meant giving my kids the context to understand how a lynching could take place in broad daylight, in our time, in the presence of bystanders and witnesses.
It’s meant talking about the long history of racism in our own country, and its connection to imperialism and colonialism that has fuelled white supremacy for centuries.
I wanted the right words for my kids.
I wanted the right words for you.
I wanted to give you something that might help you take meaningful steps to dismantle racism.
I have a few anti-racism resources for you today.
I hope they will help you as they’ve helped me:
1. Nicole Cardoza’s Anti-Racism Daily Newsletter is showing me steps I can take each day to do the work.
2. Anastasia Higginbotham’s “Not My Idea: A Book about Whiteness” has helped me talk about white supremacy with my kids.
The book is available as a free pdf via the link I’ve shared until June 19. It is also available in print at dottir press.
3. Ibram X. Kendi’s books on racism and anti-racism: How To Be An Antiracist; STAMPED: Racism, Antiracism, and You; Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.
This article offers an entry point to Kendi’s research, but it is just a summary.
Please don’t stop here.
There are so many brilliant books by BIPOC writers I hope you’ll seek out and discover on your own.
So many worthy organizations that could use your financial support.
And I hope you’ll keep writing.
I hope you’ll examine the ways racism, whiteness, and systemic oppression have influenced and played out in your life.
If you are a BIPOC writer, you have stories.
If you are a white writer, you have stories.
Write them. Please.
I want to read them.
The world needs them.
Together, let’s re-imagine the world.
Let’s start by imagining our way out.