Being White Today: A Roadmap for a Positive Antiracist Life
Race is a complicated topic. Messages from the far-right as well as those from antiracists offer competing and contradictory suggestions for how White people should think, act, and feel about themselves, leaving many confused. This book offers clarity while arguing that White people can feel good about themselves and be antiracist at the same time. For people who care about living in an inclusive, multiracial democracy, this book provides a roadmap to navigate the various positions White people negotiate on the way toward becoming positive, healthy, antiracist people. It is also a guide for those who want to help more White people act effectively in service of racial justice.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ACCOUNTABILITY STATEMENT
From the moment we conceived of this book, we understood there would be questions, concerns, and critiques related to Being White Today and our positions as authors writing about antiracism. Please click here for answers to anticipated questions.
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A message from the authors: When white nationalists dropped flyers on college campuses that read, “It’s okay to be white,” explanations about how the flyers were aligned with hate speech left many confused. In the years that followed, Christine Saxman and I produced resources to support teachers and parents to recognize hate groups’ tactics, reasons for their success, and warning signs of indoctrination. Combining our study of white racial identity with an analysis of the competing messaging offered by bigots and antiracists led us to write Being White Today: A Roadmap for a Positive Antiracist Life.
You may also be interested in the articles, speeches, and podcasts that led up to the book and explain:
- how a failure to understand racial identity leaves white people susceptible to white nationalists’ messaging
- the importance of taking the racial identity development process into account when trying to influence people toward antiracism
Initial insights into the role played by white identity development:
- From Boots to Suits: Countering a New Wave of White Supremacist Organizing
- Wanted: A Healthy Anti-Racist Identity
- Racial Justice with Heart, not a Hammer
Interrupting recruitment into organized hate:
- Confronting Organized Bigotry and Conspiracy Theories at Home: A Caregiver’s Guide - Through a partnership with Western States Center, we co-authored this free, downloadable guide (also useful for teachers, coaches, and anyone who plays a significant role in a young person’s life).
- Teaching While White Podcast (episode featuring Shelly and Christine)
- Swastikas in the Bathroom: Connecting the Dots between White Supremacy, White Nationalism, the Alt-Right, and the Alt-Light - This annotated bibliography provides rich, detailed information about white nationalists, their organizations and tactics, and how they use media platforms to influence people. This bibliography offers the range of background information I accessed to develop my knowledge base.
A personal experience and reflection:
Watch this video of the August 14, 2022 workshop presented by Shelly to a SURJ group that introduces ideas from Being White Today. For a breakdown of timing related to concepts presented in the video, check out the Creating Focused Anti-racist Conversations event page.
Watch this workshop with Shelly, featuring reactions from David Campt and Ryan O’Leary, to learn more about how a positive antiracist white identity can disrupt dangerous dynamics playing out across the US. For more about the video and the concepts it introduces check out Shelly's blog post here.