Blue Further Reading

BLUE FURTHER READING

 

Online Resources

Campaign Zero advocates for policies – informed by data, research and human rights principles – to change the way police serve communities.

 

Race Forward brings systemic analysis and an innovative approach to complex race issues to help people take effective action toward racial equity. Race Forward offers online resources as well as in-person trainings.

 

The United Nations offers a variety of resources for combatting racism. 

 

The Center for Popular Democracy and Policy Link, two nonprofit advocacy organizations, partnered with various protesters and street-level organizers to identify concrete steps toward promoting justice and equity in law enforcement. Highlights from their report were published by mic.com as 15 Things Your City Can Do Right Now to End Police Brutality.” 

 

Articles and Essays to Read Online

 

Letter to My Son First published in The Atlantic, this adapted excerpt from Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book Between the World and Me finds him explaining the construction of race and its inseparable ties with the idea of an American national identity. Interweaving history with personal anecdotes, Coates’ moving letter depicts the institutionalized racism that both forms and punishes black bodies, instilling a fear that governs black lives.

 

Letter from a Region in My Mind Writing for The New Yorker in 1962, James Baldwin recounts his life through navigating various faiths; in the process, he elucidates the religious underpinnings behind constructions of race in America and worldwide.

 

The Long History of Black Officers Reforming Policing From Within Part of The Atlantic’s project “The Presence of Justice,” Taylor Hosking’s contribution documents the ongoing project of minimizing racial bias in police operations from the Reconstruction Era to today. As Hosking illustrates, not only are minority civilians consistently targeted and punished to greater extents than their White peers, but black officers continue to face racism both in the field and internally within their departments.

 

Police Officers Tell of Strains Of Living as a “Black in Blue” Lena Williams’ 1988 report for the New York Times profiles black officers who feel a tension between their jobs and their racial identity. These officers express how this tension affects their job performance, their perception of their communities and how white officers perceive them.

 

How to raise a black son in America In his brief TED Talk, poet Clint Smith remembers a night from his boyhood when he played with water guns in an empty parking lot with his white friends. He paints the scene of his father’s furious and fearful response.

 

Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death Crisis In 2018, “Black infants in America [were] now more than twice as likely to die as white infants,” and “Black women [were] three to four times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as their white counterparts.” Full of statistics and first-hand accounts, Linda Villarosa’s article for the New York Times claims that systemic racism causes adverse health effects in black women that can jeopardize pregnancy, and that racial bias and inequalities in health care put black mothers and black babies at risk.

 

America’s Unfair Rules of the Road Corinne Ramey at Slate gives detailed accounts of how public transportation in many U.S. cities fails to provide quality access and service to neighborhoods of racial minorities and low income. Not only do recent transportation projects devalue and destroy minority neighborhoods, they also negatively impact the health and wellness of communities of color.

 

Spike Lee on Gentrification When an audience member at the Pratt Institute in New York asks film director Spike Lee to consider the positive impacts of gentrification, Lee fires back with stories from his own lived experience to evidence the real harm faced by displaced black communities in Brooklyn.

 

The Long, Painful History of Police Brutality in the U.S. Digging through the archives of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Katie Nodjimbadem finds that today’s concerns over police brutality date back to decades before the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

 

Policing the Police: A Civil Rights Story Historian Sarah Brady Siff at the online journal Origins details how the problem of “policing the police” stretches back decades and is rooted in the structure of American politics itself. U.S. federalism has created a tension between rights guaranteed by the Constitution and police authority that resides at the state and local levels, and sorting out those tensions remains an unfinished part of the civil rights movement.

 

Books for Further Exploration:

Between the World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates) pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, offering a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis.

 

The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race (edited by Jesmyn Ward) gathers some of today’s most original thinkers and writers in response to James Baldwin’s 1962 classic, The Fire Next Time. The collection is divided into three parts that shine a light on the darkest corners of our history, wrestle with our current predicament, and envision a better future.

Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools (Jonathan Kozal) reports on the author’s two-year tour of U.S. public schools, which revealed extreme divide in the quality of resources, facilities and staffing between the country’s richest and poorest schools, challenging the belief that our country provides all children with equal opportunities.

 

White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son (Tim Wise) is personal examination of the way in which racial privilege shapes the daily lives of white Americans in every realm: employment, education, housing, criminal justice, and elsewhere.

 

Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America (Michael Eric Dyson) argues that if we are to make real racial progress we must face difficult truths, including being honest about how black grievance has been ignored, dismissed, or discounted.

 

The New Jim Crow (Michelle Alexander) is an account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status—denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement. 

 

Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice  (Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins and Ann Hazzard) follows two families – one white, one black – as they discuss a police shooting of a black man in their community. The story aims to answer children’s questions about such traumatic events, and to help children identify and counter racial injustice in their own lives.

 

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