The New Book “Fieldnotes On Allyship” Is A Great Tool To Help New Allies and Anti Racism Advocates On Their Journeys.
Achieving equality feels hopeless most days because so many people are so unwilling to invest in educating themselves about racism. Racism is the primary driver of inequality in America. Understanding racism is the only way we can do the work of making things more fair, and I’m all for that. It’s one reason I write so much about race. I’m vested anti-racism education because I benefit from it even the road is slow going. There aren’t many good resources that describe racism using first-hand accounts and experiences through the eye of victims.
Often, when we writers talk about racism and inequality, there is no dictionary or definitions describing what we are referring to in our pieces to help novice anti-racists understand what we mean. With anti-racism, it’s not always good for allies to lean on other own understanding. Their understanding (or lack of understanding) about racism is part of the problem. White anti-racists often have a very limited definition in their minds of what racism is. For victims, their definitions and interpretations of what we experience daily don’t compare. Any effort to talk about it is like striking a match.
When it comes to deciphering racism and White Supremacy, the victims deserve to have their say. Perpetrators of racism shouldn’t be the ones dictating what we feel and experience, and they shouldn’t define what racism is for us or themselves. For me, a person living with Black skin, this has been one of the most perplexing challenges of racism. It’s weird too.
I Did A Thing
I’m proud to share I recently had the honor of contributing my thoughts for a new anti racism resource created specifically for this moment. This book addresses some challenges surrounding racism we’re dealing with today. It’s a responsible resource, thoughtfully created to help challenge the way anti-racists see and experience racism.
Earlier this year, Our Human Family (OHF), a Medium Publication and nonprofit organization, approached me about being a part of a resource for Black Lives Matter allies and good people interested in achieving equality. OHF is committed to having those difficult discussions on issues surrounding race and inequality in America not covered by traditional mainstream media. We all realize there has never been a social change in America’s for any group of minorities that hasn’t included White people. But somewhere along the way, it seems the ball was dropped and White people are in the dark about the devastating impact inequality has on Blacks and minority populations.
It doesn’t matter at this point if it the lack of understanding was because of willful ignorance or intentional miseducation by America’s educational and political systems. The impact of ignorance and planned inequality has been devastating to Black and Brown people everywhere. Education needs to happen ASAP, and we cannot go another year without having allies understand the importance of their actions. We victims of racism can’t achieve inequality without White allies understanding their power in the dynamics regardless of their socioeconomic status.
Anti-racism is an individual journey and sometimes it needs to begin privately, alone. Investing in educating yourself is one of the best ways to begin your journey.
Learning from the experts, the people who experience racism is essential to gaining understanding, is a must. Listening is required, and sometimes that just doesn’t happen when allies and victims converge because allies are often centered or their feelings and needs and instead of the victimization occurring. It’s a lose-lose.
I Believe In Anti-racism Education
Because I’m a systemic thinker and I understand the way progress works in America, being a part of the project was an easy decision for me. Educating allies is the only way to get America out of this. You can’t build a better nation with the same ignorance and racism we’ve had for hundreds of years. Something has to give.
I’m a non-traditional, grassroots kind of gal, so the Fieldnotes on Allyship project was right up my alley. I believe OHF understands there is a huge knowledge gap among anti-racists and new allies where racism, microaggressions, and bigotry are concerned. Not a week goes by that I don’t have White readers and followers seek additional supports and resources to help them along their journeys. That makes me happy. While I appreciate them reaching out for help and support, often I don’t really have anything tangible they could use in the privacy of their own homes that I like. Sometimes folks just want something simple. You need not be from academia or a sociologist to understand it. I also get tired too. Sometimes, some weeks, life comes at Black folks hard. Sometimes I just don’t have the energy to teach. Racism kicks our asses repeatedly. Some days we just have nothing to give.
This is the part of the lesson anti-racists don’t experience, at least not in the beginning, anyway.
Anti-racism education can be difficult. Sometimes words of anti-racism educators and victims like myself can cut deep, especially when accusations of inequality and racism levied hit close to home. The truth hurts, just like life does. When we’re hurt, we try to make ourselves better. When you have a cold, you buy cold medicine. When you have gas, you take something to treat it, or just fart (lol). When you have cancer, you may have aggressive chemotherapy or other treatments used to bring the disease into remission. With racism, there are few tools to help everyday people decrease racism in America. With the federal government reducing the number of tools and resources available to us, it’s up to community-based organizations and anti-racism advocates to step-up their game plans to ensure the gaps are filled.
Hence Fieldnotes On Allyship, Achieving Equality Together was born.
In order for us to live together more peacefully, we must understand how racism drives inequality war and social chaos. Fieldnotes On Allyship, Achieving Equality Together is a raw, original educational resource specifically designed for allies and White people interested in anti-racism. I say White people because I’m pretty sure most non-White people with Brown skin experience racism. The perspectives are different. The writing styles are distinct. The writers are diverse, and there is so much to learn from the impactful resource.
Most importantly, it’s an easy read! I know that’s important these days. Your time is valuable. You don’t have to be afraid or intimidated to read this book.
Allies and those new to anti-racism advocacy are always seeking tools and buying up books from many sources. Books written by White people, for White people, published by White people saturate the market. This book has lots of voices, covers lots of subjects that are written by some of the best writers and educators on Medium. Fieldnotes On Allyship reflect what the OHF is working to achieve in America, a racially diverse nation of enlightened and inspired people. There is no one size fits all approach to fighting or experiencing racism. The essays written show that.
There is one common throughout the book, and that’s the sting of racism is the same, no matter which of the writers experienced it. The harm that stems from racism lasts a lifetime. In order for us to move beyond the talk about it and fight about it phases to doing something about this mess we’re in, we must do a better job of helping allies (also known as good White people) understand racism. I think we’ve done that.
I am one of 17 writers who contributed to the book Fieldnotes On Allyship, Achieving Equality Together. I wrote Chapter 4 of the book titled The Secret Lives of Black Women. I have not and will not receive any compensation for my contribution in the book. I am committed to working towards achieving equality and having those difficult discussions on long-standing issues preventing us from attaining it. All proceeds from this book go directly to Our Human Family, Inc,. a newly formed, minority-run, all-volunteer, 501 © 3 nonprofit organization dedicated to racial equality and inclusion in America. Their specific purposes for operating are to:
a. Educate people about the damage bigotry causes
b. Equip people with the tools and skills to dismantle bigotry
c. Celebrate our perceived differences, and
d. Inspire others to love one another
By the time you get to the end of the book, Fieldnotes of Allyship will have done these things. I understand that in order to achieve equality and justice, we all must make some sacrifices for the greater good of mankind. I have spent most of my life working in the nonprofit and advocacy sectors. Sacrifice is my middle name, and I find joy in serving others. Working on this project extends my love for people and a desire to live in peace.
About My Chapter
“The Secret Lives of Black Women” was an interesting and stressful time for me as I’m sure it was for a lot of Black women dealing with agent orange, the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, I had my grand kids for 2 weeks, and I was living in these raggedy States of America. It taxed me. I had nothing to give like so many of other Black mothers, sisters, friends, wives, partners, significant others, and coworkers. We were tired. After evaluating the state of my life, the lack of supports Black people have and the burdens we often carry alone, I let it all flow into my chapter. If you want to read it, you’ll have to buy the book. I’ve spilled all the beans I can spill. Other and anti-racism educators who also contributed to the book include Lecia Michelle 📃 who runs a social media group for allies which includes an online boot camp. If you think I’m hard, she’s much tougher. Other contributors include nationally renowned anti-racism educator and speaker Tim Wise, Director, Policy Strategy & Analysis at Antioch University Consuelo G. Flores, and one of the most compassionate, patient White allies I’ve ever come in contact with, Sherry Kappel. These writers have different takes on racism. They’ve been doing the work for sometime and I love how they each deliver truth.
History Is Front And Center
The thing I love most about Fieldnotes On Allyship is the historical contexts on racism and inequality provided by fantastic writers like historians Michael Greiner, William Spivey, and writer John Metta. We cannot move forward without understanding our past, and I feel writers do a phenomenal job connecting the past with today’s racial unrest. It’s imperative for those engaging in anti-racism to understand how we got here. Fieldnotes offer unique perspectives on that too. From “talking white” (yes, it’s a real thing) to understanding the history not taught in America’s public and private school systems, Fieldnotes On Allyship covers so much. History continues to repeat itself because we don’t learn from it. We can break the cycles that keep us marching in circles to nowhere slow. When you care, you learn so that you can change. Allies educating themselves is showing us how much they care.
The Personal Stories Are The Best
Writers such as stephen matlock, Estacious(Charles White), Glenn Rocess, Jesse Wilson, and Kim McCaul share very personal stories about racism, microaggressions, and inequality they’ve each experienced or witnessed. While each of their perspectives may be different, there is a resounding theme throughout the book that helps to fill in some blanks that I believe anti-racists would appreciate. Writers in Fieldnotes On Allyship are from all walks and all over the world, showing we here in the United States are not the only folks dealing with racism and microaggressions. Reading the different perspectives in one easy-to-read book is a great way to learn. If you have an open heart, you can learn from anyone. There is an invaluable lesson in each essay.
Who This Book Is For
This book is for anyone interested in anti-racism, people who value different perspectives, people interested in learning what anti-Blackness looks and feels like, individuals interested in learning more about the nuanced racism and microaggressions, anyone considering themselves an ally 2020, White people not familiar about the whole ally thing, anyone actively engaging in White Supremacy or racism (willfully, accidentally, directly, or indirectly), and non-Black people who believe they know everything there is to know about how racism works. You can never know too much about racism because it evolves as it’s recognized and called out. I believe if you’re White, you can never get too many perspectives on racism. The more you learn, the more you understand.
How To Buy The Book
Fieldnotes on Allyship (the print version) is available for purchase on Amazon for $14.99 (paperback) and $9.99 (Kindle). The eBook versions are available for purchase on Our Human Family’s website (www.ourhumanfamily.org), on Medium Publication’s homepage and under the Shop tab. Other distributors include Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo (Canada). Visit OHF often, as new distributors will be added in the coming days. If can’t afford the book right now, perhaps consider making a donation. It would be greatly appreciated.
What Happens Next
I’d love to do a book club for Fieldnotes on Allyship to discuss each chapter once per week on YouTube, Twitch or something. I think it’s a nice way to connect with readers, answer questions and have genuine discussions that can possibly move us forward towards achieving equality. The next couple of months are going to be difficult for those of us who sane and who care about the country. We need to start having the hard conversations now so that we can restore and transform our communities when some semblance of stability and decency return to this country.
We must understand the root of Trump’s Presidency a deep-seated racism that has been around this nation since the Civil War. What are we planning on doing about it? I’m doing my part by creating tools, starting conversations, and talking about all the unmentionables and secrets that are a part of racism. I’d also like for you to work with other writers already doing the work in established work groups. Most importantly, support Black-run publications that address racism. No need to get second hand info when you can get it straight from the horse’s mouth. Black and Brown people can tell you about our suffering, losses, frustrations, obstacles, and denigration better than anyone.
Anti-racism isn’t easy. It requires one to know him or herself first before attempting to be an advocate for someone else. Learn your blind spots. Work on your empathy. Understand what racism is and what it’s not. You can’t help others new to anti-racism if your shit isn’t together. You cannot be an effective ally if you cannot accurately assess and sufficiently address racism on the spot where it lives, breaths, and thrives. As a minority, I get weak sometimes. Living in a world and a country that doesn’t love you back is hard, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Learning how to be an ally to help us fight would be a great asset for us. The thing White Supremacy hates the most is White people waking up and fighting back. When you stay ignorant, White supremacy wins.
Buy the book. Read the book. Become an ally. Do the work. Make real friends for life. Change lives. Help save our lives, and join us in making an America that’s fair to all people, not just White ones.
I appreciate your feedback. If you buy it, please don’t forget to go back and review it. Your critique will help others interested in allyship but too afraid to ask questions. Your reviews and feedback will help us create more resources and tools soon. God knows we’re going to need them. We cannot let evil win.
Ya’ll, please be safe, take care, wear a mask, and buckle up. The worst is yet to come. But if White allies understood the depth and breath of racism a little better, they’d know how to fight this thing and kill it, or at least beat it back into submission.
Marley K in Quarantine… Still (2020)
To preview an excerpt from “Fieldnotes For Allyship, Achieving Equality Together,” click the link below :