This blog is mostly about race and racism in America and less about families and wealth although I do make some connections there. Racism and inequality are big issues and many, myself included, would like to see more progress. This blog includes references to some of my earlier blogs about race and wealth and details some of my recent experiences of the dynamics of racism in my professional world. I end with a collection of helpful resources for anyone looking to be part of a productive solution.
I understand many good people with very good hearts and intentions see race and racism in a variety of different ways (in America in particular). They have just as many ideas about how to improve things. I’d like to share a few ideas about race and then share some resources I’ve found powerful and helpful for anyone who wants to see improvements to the situation of race in America. I hope you will engage with these resources and reach out to me for deeper discussion.
When I was four years old, my mom started talking to me about the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr., and separate water fountains and bathrooms for Blacks. At age four separate bathrooms based on the color of your skin sounded absolutely insane. “Have adults gone crazy?” I wondered. As I got older, mom gave me more background about slavery and the continuing violence against people of color. I learned violence can be overt and physical, and also subtle, insidious and just as painful.
I always kept an open eye on race and the subtle and not-so-subtle dynamics of race in America. It was important for me to try to see how race and power played out, how BIPOC people (acronym – Black, Indigenous, People of Color) have been negatively affected, and what could be done to improve things. I watched for these dynamics in all areas of my life – work/professional, community, political, sports, family.
As I shifted my career 25 years ago to working with business and legacy families, many of whom were extremely wealthy, I paid the same attention. In April 2018 I wrote a blog entitled Black Males, Wealth Depreciation & Racism, based on a NY Times article discussing research on how difficult it is for Black males born into wealth to remain wealthy. The same is not true for Black women and the research indicates racism against Black males is the culprit.
In September 2019 I wrote a blog entitled, Race and the Field of Wealth, which detailed a particularly upsetting incident at a professional conference. Last week I gave a “TED”-style talk on the topic of race at the same conference a year later, and it was well-received by many and frustrating/angering for some. I welcome discourse, especially with those who disagree with me.
For anyone interested in being part of the solution, please take a look at these ways to engage and dive in:
White Fragility – Robin Diangelo
Decolonizing Wealth – Edgar Villanueva (Particularly relevant to the field of philanthropy)
Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates
How to be an Antiracist – Ibram X. Kendi – https://www.ibramxkendi.com/how-to-be-an-antiracist-1
BU Center for Antiracist Research
(Ibram X. Kendi is Founder) – https://www.bu.edu/antiracist-center/
“The mission of the BU Center for Antiracist Research is to convene varied researchers and practitioners to figure out novel and practical ways to understand, explain, and solve seemingly intractable problems of racial inequity and injustice. We foster exhaustive racial research, research-based policy innovation, data-driven educational and advocacy campaigns, and narrative-change initiatives. We are working toward building an antiracist society that ensures equity and justice for all.”
Color of Change
“We design campaigns powerful enough to end practices that unfairly hold Black people back, and champion solutions that move us all forward. Until justice is real.”
NY Times 1619 Project
“The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.”
The Equal Justice Initiative (Bryan Stevenson)
“Mr. Stevenson is a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated, and the condemned.”
NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
Black Lives Matter – What We Believe: https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/
***Extensive Data Shows Punishing Reach of Racism for Black Boys
***A Letter to my White Male Friends: https://nonprofitquarterly.org/a-letter-to-my-white-male-friends-of-a-certain-age/
Tools referred to in above article:
Racism Hurts Everyone – Costs to White People
White Supremacy at work:
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
The Costs of Racism to White People
***Racism as Public Health Crisis in Ohio
***Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – Op-Ed LA Times
***97 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice
Bryan Stevenson (Equal Justice Initiative) speaks at the Opening Plenary at the Skoll World Forum
Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man (Conversations with Emmanuel Acho about race that many white people have never been able to have.)
These 8 Videos About Racial Justice Are Essential Viewing for People Who Want to Become Effective Allies