This is a collection, contemporary for the most part, of poetry, fiction, non-fiction books, articles, podcasts, videos, artworks that I have found inspiring and helpful. Some of you might have already read, listened, watched what is included here, please feel free to suggest more.
This is just a place to start.
BOOKS & ARTICLES
Citizen; An American Lyric, by Claudia Rankine, 2014 - Poetry
In Citizen, Rankine recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named “post-race” society.
The History of White People, by Nell Irvin Painter, 2011 - Non-Fiction book
Telling perhaps the most important forgotten story in American history, eminent historian Nell Irvin Painter guides us through more than two thousand years of Western civilization, illuminating not only the invention of race but also the frequent praise of “whiteness” for economic, scientific, and political ends.
Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, by Dee Brown, 1971 - Non-Fiction book
A meticulously documented account of the systematic destruction of Native American's Tribes during the second half of the nineteenth century.
The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee; Native America from 1890 to the Present, by David Treuer 2019 - Non-Fiction Book
The received idea of Native American history--as promulgated by Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee--has been that American Indian history essentially ended with the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee. Growing up Ojibwe on a reservation in Minnesota, David Treuer has uncovered a different narrative. Because they did not disappear--and not despite but rather because of their intense struggles to preserve their language, their traditions, their families, and their very existence--the story of American Indians since the end of the nineteenth century to the present is one of unprecedented resourcefulness and reinvention.
The Fire Next Time, by James Baldwin, 1963 - Non-Fiction book
The Fire Next Time galvanized the nation and gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement. At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin's early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document, that exhort Americans, both black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism.
White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism, by Robin DiAngelo, 2018 - Sociology
This book explicates the dynamics of White Fragility and how we (white people) might build our capacity in the on-going work towards racial justice."
Whereas, by Layli Long Soldier, 2017 - Poetry
Written in Lakota and English, WHEREAS confronts the coercive language of the United States government in its responses, treaties, and apologies to Native American peoples and tribes, and reflects that language in its officiousness and duplicity back on its perpetrators.
The Case for Reparations, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic, June 2014 - Article
“What’s Wrong with All Lives Matter?”, Judith Butler and George Yancy, New York Times, January 2015
“The White-Savior Industrial Complex,” by Teju Cole, The Atlantic, March 2012 - Article
Lose Your Mother; A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route, by Saidiya Hartman, 2008 -
In Lose Your Mother, Saidiya Hartman traces the history of the Atlantic slave trade by recounting a journey she took along a slave route in Ghana. Following the trail of captives from the hinterland to the Atlantic coast, she reckons with the blank slate of her own genealogy and vividly dramatizes the effects of slavery on three centuries of African and African American history.
Counternarratives, by John Keene, 2016 - Fiction
Ranging from the 17th century to our current moment, and crossing multiple continents, Counternarratives' stories and novellas draw upon memoirs, newspaper accounts, detective stories, interrogation transcripts, and speculative fiction to create new and strange perspectives on our past and present.
PODCASTS & VIDEOS
A fourteen-part documentary series produced by the Center For Documentary Studies at Duke University that explores constructions of whiteness. Where did the notion of “whiteness” come from? What does it mean? What is whiteness for?
Layli Long Soldier - The Freedom of Real Apologies, On Being with Krista Tippett, 2017 - Podcast
In this interview, Oglala Lakota poet, Layli Long Soldier talks about her book WHEREAS, written in response to the U.S. government’s official apology to Native peoples in 2009, which was done without ceremony, almost secretly.
The Racial Imaginary Institute, 2017- Ongoing, website
The first issue of The Racial Imaginary’s website centers around constructions, deconstructions, and visualizations of/around whiteness, white identity, white rage/fragility/violence, and white dominant structures. Gathered here are work by scholars, MFA students and cohorts, theater artists, photographers, sound artists, painters and multimedia artists, poets, and essayists in order to create a matrix of interconnected work, both new and previously shown, that interrogates one of the most toxic ideological strongholds threatening our collective survival.
"Ever find yourself in a conversation about race and identity where you just get...stuck? Code Switch can help. We're all journalists of color, and this isn't just the work we do. It's the lives we lead."
Artist Titus Kaphar makes paintings and sculptures that wrestle with the struggles of the past while speaking to the diversity and advances of the present. In an unforgettable live workshop, Kaphar takes a brush full of white paint to a replica of a 17th-century Frans Hals painting, obscuring parts of the composition and bringing its hidden story into view. There's a narrative coded in art like this, Kaphar says. What happens when we shift our focus and confront unspoken truths?
Artist Talk: Glen Ligon, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 2019 - Video
Glenn Ligon, an American conceptual artist whose work explores race, language, desire, sexuality, and identity, discusses his art and practice. Based in New York City, Ligon engages in intertextuality with other works from the visual arts, literature, and history, as well as his own life. He is noted as one of the originators of the term Post-Blackness.
With Claudia Rankine, Nell Painter, Lauren Berlant, Sadhana Bery, Jane Caflish, Lori Gruen, Saidiya Hartman, Jeff Chang, Aruna D’Souza, Daniel Borzutsky, Sarah Lewis, Doreen St. Felix, Patricia Williams, and more.
“When we talk about these losses and these traumas" says Faith Spotted Eagle, "it is not to impart a sense of guilt. It is to impart a sense of freedom from denial. The Native people’s objective is to heal. The non-native people’s objective is to come out of denial. "
Alexandra Bell, artist
Through investigative research, Alexandra Bell considers the ways media frameworks construct memory and inform discursive practices around race, politics, and culture.
Ken Gonzales-Day, artist
Ken Gonzales-Day is a Los Angeles based artist whose interdisciplinary practice considers the historical construction of race and the limits of representational systems ranging from lynching photographs to museum displays. His widely-cited Erased Lynching series (2006), along with the publication of Lynching in the West: 1850-1935 (2006), has slowly transformed the understanding of racialized violence in the United States and specifically raised awareness of the history of lynching, Latinos, Native Americans, Asians, and African-Americans in California.