March 2022 Newsletter curated by Shelly Tochluk
Author of Witnessing Whiteness and Living in the Tension
Member of AWARE-LA
Hello All. I hope this newsletter finds you well. As many of us focus our attention on authoritarian forces and their use of power to subjugate others in foreign countries, we must recognize the global nature of the pattern. In the US, far-right voices admire and justify the violence. The fascistic segment of the far-right will continue defending Putin, as they feel aligned with his anti-LGBTQ, traditional gender role, and pro-authoritarian policies. It is in times like these when we especially should keep our eyes wide open, attentive to not only what happens across borders, but also within our own.
This organization was launched in 2020 to “address gaps in efforts to stop transnational hate and far-right extremism movements, particularly U.S.-based activity that is exported to other countries and across borders.” The founders are former staff at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Their website is worth following to connect dots and advance our understanding of how our own country’s struggles are not isolated. Their Reports and Publications page offers essential, accessible information.
This report from PRA advances the argument that the insurrection is not over and neither is the coup attempt. For anyone who could use a well-researched argument outlining how a coalition of forces (an authoritarian bloc) continues to push toward minority rule in the US., this is the resource you need. It outlines how voter suppression, culture wars, and political violence will be used in the years going forward and what progressives need to do to counter the threats they pose to our (imperfect) democracy.
This article captures what I have noticed in my own friendship circle lately, people who are throwing up their hands and questioning the ability for us to know what is true. This article explains the way this serves the interests of authoritarians and undermines democracy. The quote below is the conclusion. The full argument and explanation is worthy of your time.
“We may never completely realize the ideal of democracy… — that’s the point of calling it an ideal. We may never achieve social justice either. But that does not mean that it is not an ideal worth struggling to reach, and it would be perverse to give up striving for it just when it is under threat. That is exactly when we should look to our institutions and ourselves for new ways to solve the problem….It is precisely now, in the age of information pollution, when the ideal matters most.”
From newly published research study: “We found that it’s not conservatives in general who tend to promote false information, but rather a smaller subset of them who also share two psychological traits: low levels of conscientiousness and an appetite for chaos…our findings also showed that fact-checking was not an effective way to prevent these conservatives from sharing false news stories, meaning other interventions are needed.”
Book Ban Busters:Read about “Blue” Suburban moms mobilizing to counter conservatives in fights over masks, book bans and diversity education
LOW COST SUBSCRIPTION: Before you give up on accessing this article, consider looking into a very low-cost digital subscription to the Washington Post. I have found it extremely worthwhile and a good investment. Journalism today deserves support, and while I apologize that this newsletter often contains links blocked by a pay wall, I believe resources such as these are worth the introductory subscription rate.
Transparent note: I have not yet read this book, but I am very excited for how it may support people to open their hearts and minds!
Dear White Women, Please Come Home is Kimberlee Yolanda Williams' invitation to white women longing for authentic friendship with Black and brown women…
“The idea for the book was born after attending a workshop that left her shaken and angry. In it, Kimberlee listened as white woman after white woman expressed shock, saying, I didn't know, meaning they didn't understand how this or that comment, custom, behavior, or norm so negatively impacted women of color. How could they not know? she wondered skeptically. Were they lying? Eventually she had an epiphany: How could white women know what we (Black and brown women) go through if we don't tell them? We've been trained not to tell them. In an attempt to break that cycle, Kimberlee began writing letters about her experiences.”
“In the resulting book - 40 letters to a fictional "missing" white sister - she explores with vulnerability, sorrow, rage, and humor how white women, often despite best intentions, signal to her and other women of color to proceed with caution when in their presence….The letters' story arc, combined with end-of-chapter questions for deep reflection, offer white women insight to the damage done as well as to what it takes to "come home," to be trusted.”
A recently published survey (see report) explains that most white men, even those who rate themselves as in favor of diversity efforts, do not necessarily act in support of those efforts and explain their absence as due to them being “too busy” or because diversity and inclusion efforts do not benefit them.
This article explains what underlies these statements and suggests that although privilege and individualism certainly are primary issues, what it will take to shift the dynamic involves organizations creating incentives for white men to take part in DEI efforts, to make participation a factor in what it means to succeed in their roles.
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