A Few Thoughts.

A Few Thoughts, cleo wade quote
cleo wade

Mondays are usually my list of distractions but it felt wildly inappropriate to post anything meant to be distracting at all today. Distractions are just not the point right now. So today we’re going to talk a little, and next Monday you’ll get double the distractions.

A Few Thoughts

Like many of you, I spent the weekend feeling sad and heartbroken (and helpless!) over George Floyd’s murder. I spent a lot of yesterday thinking about ways that I can help. I thought a lot about the words “ally” and “advocate,” and what they mean and how I can do a better job at being both of those things to people of color. I’ve been spending a lot of time researching organizations to support, small Black-owned businesses, Black authors, anti-racist books, Black artists, and so on and so forth. Over the next few weeks I will be sharing posts about all of those things. Some of these posts may take me a little while; as you may notice (like with beauty products for example) I like to do my research and be really thoughtful about anything I post here. But they’re coming.

In the meantime, here are four things I’m implementing immediately. I am not perfect, I’m still learning every day, but I know these things will add up. You will notice this list is concrete; I wanted to set some hard, actionable goals for myself (and my readers, hoping you will join me for some of these!) I posted an instagram yesterday but want to share a bit more detail here.

one // I will use my blog as a place to highlight more people of color.

Especially Black women. I’ll highlight my favorite authors, small businesses, artists. etc. This week you’ll see a list of my favorite books by women of color and a guide to my favorite Black-owned small businesses. Next week you’ll see a list of anti-racist books and a roundup of incredible Black artists.

Beyond these lists I will actively work to ensure that all organic content is always diverse. An example of this could be something as simple as a “follow Friday” list on Instagram or a gift guide on the blog… or even a list of my favorite wines.

two // I will push my advertising partners to do better.

I will ask them if they are including women of color in the campaign. If it’s all white women, partnering will be a no for me. This is an easy thing to ask of brands. The term “inclusivity rider” has been thrown around a lot on Instagram this week and I really like that.

three // For the next 12 months, I will read (at least) 1 anti-racist book/month.

I will talk about what I learn on the blog. I know that I am not racist, but that’s not enough. “Not racist” and actively “anti-racist” are two very different things (I loved this post from Cup of Jo, if you haven’t already read it – I’ve now read it three times.)

Reading books has always been an escape for me but I want to use my love of reading to help myself and others learn. I’m starting with So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. Let me know if you want to read it with me. I will be sharing what I learn here as I read. My copy is on its way to me, more to come once I dive in.

I’ll also have a list of anti-racist books to share with you sometime this week or next. We can work our way through the list this year.

four // For the next 12 months, I will donate $1,000 to support POC.

I will be spending some time this week researching the best orgs to donate who need it the most. I’m open to your suggestions here, and will share the organization I choose for June as soon as I make my donation.

This month, I donated to Campaign Zero. I chose them as I admire the work they’re doing to end police violence using research-based policy solutions. Every month I will share which organization I support.

Please let me know what’s on your mind, what you are doing to help, what you are reading. I’d love to know and I think it’s really important to have a healthy conversation about this stuff.

Leave a Comment

Comments

  1. Emily says 6.1.20

    Thanks for sharing! Some books I have found particularly meaningful are Between the World and Me, Just Mercy, Born a Crime, and The Color of Law (about structural and interpersonal racism in housing). Also the documentary I Am Not Your Negro.

  2. Kristen says 6.1.20

    Thank you, Grace. I am a white woman raising a black daughter. I educate myself everyday. It’s everything you listed and more. May every space where we have privilege turn into a spotlight shining to lift up black lives.

  3. Ana says 6.1.20

    BIPOC reader here. I recently learned a lot from The Lynching: The Epic Courtroom Battle That Brought Down the Klan Paperback by Laurence Leamer.

  4. Jessica Kirby says 6.1.20

    Thanks Grace. I’m looking forward to your reading list in particular as you always have such great recommendations. I’m starting with So You Want To Talk About Race and White Fragility.

  5. Katie S says 6.1.20

    Thank you, Grace, for using your platform this way. I can’t wait to follow along. ❤️❤️❤️

  6. Kelly says 6.1.20

    Thank you for using your platform like this Grace and sharing so many great resources! Highly recommend reading The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander if you want to learn about mass incarceration (and watch 13th on Netflix!).

    One thing that I’ve committed to doing is buying all of my books through black-owned bookstores via Bookshop.org. This seems like a concrete action that I can do to support black-owned businesses long-term. No, it’s not going to stop police brutality, mass incarceration, or deep-rooted racism but as a white woman, it’s one way that makes me feel like I can be a better ally even after the riots stops and justice prevails for Geroge Floyd (especially during a pandemic when let’s face it, I’m ordering half a dozen books each month anyway!).

    There’s a great list here of black-owned bookstores that have set up online shops: https://afrotech.com/10-black-owned-online-bookstores-to-support-while-at-home

  7. Elizabeth says 6.1.20

    I feel like the events and responses this weekend have really helped me see who I really want to give my time and attention to and I am so glad I follow you and your blog. Thank you for providing resources and leading by example.

    • Thank you for the note. I feel like there’s so much more all of us can be doing. xx

  8. Christina says 6.1.20

    Thank you for this! I’m going to join you in the monthly donation pledge. And making a big POC book purchase this week. AND doing much more self educating by reading/watching/listening to POC on these topics.

  9. Julia Dzafic says 6.1.20

    Thank you for sharing this, friend! Proud of you and hope that our voices will continue to be used to spread anti-racism.

  10. Jessie says 6.1.20

    Long time listener, first time caller here. I just had to say how impressed I’ve been with your response to this issue over the last few days. I hope other influencers are watching and learning from you.

  11. Katie says 6.1.20

    Thank you for putting in the work. I am so grateful that you are planning to be consistent and longterm with this antiracist work, instead of pushing out a week of inclusive content and then going back to “normal”. I’m hoping your work and the community interaction on the blog will help to hold us all accountable. Thanks for using your platform in this way!

    Also, I’m in an anti-racist book club with a few friends and we’ve really been challenged by Ibram X. Kendi’s books, “How to Be an Antiracist” and “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You”. The second is the remix for teen readers but I highly recommend it.

    • THank you. And thank you for the recs! xx

    • Emily says 6.2.20

      I am genuinely curious – do you have any POC in your book club who can speak to their experience?

  12. Kristen says 6.1.20

    Thanks for sharing! I’m so glad to learn about Campaign Zero and plan to donate today. Heads up that the Campaign Zero link leads to So You Want To Talk About Race on bookshop.org!

  13. Anne says 6.1.20

    I love all of your actions and that you are using your platform for good.

    Wanted to make a gentle push back on your statement that you know you aren’t a racist. As white people, we like to say that, but human nature tells us we all have racial bias, we we should lean in to that discomfort and recognize those feelings in ourselves and work to change.

    I love this Ijeoma Oluo quote about this, “The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward.”

  14. Liz says 6.1.20

    Thank you for writing a post on this and addressing what is going on in society, as well as ways to help the community and educate ourselves and support POC and Black Lives Matter. I think the monthly book is a great way to educate ourselves on systemic racism, how to dismantle it and have thoughtful discussion and enact change. Thank you again, Grace!

  15. Sarah says 6.1.20

    Grace, I love that you listed specific, measurable steps your taking! My friend just texted how impressed she has been with you and Becca. I worry that so many people are going to post on their social media platforms, but then go back to the status quo.

  16. Caroline says 6.1.20

    Proud of you for using your platform for good in the world!

  17. Phoebe says 6.1.20

    Thanks for sharing this Grace. Its clear that you are taking actionable steps to make a difference and that goes a long way. I look forward to following to see how the conversation develops further.

  18. Cynthia says 6.1.20

    Hi Grace – I really appreciate this post, and I was especially glad to read about Campaign Zero, which has strong data-based proposals. I am looking to donate to organizations too, and this looks like a good one. But there’s some key information missing – do you know if they are a registered nonprofit and what they spend donations on? I can’t find any indication on their site and I went down a rabbit hole reading about them and looking at the related organizations ThisIstheMovement.org and WetheProtesters.org which are led by the same people. All three websites look like there hasn’t been much (anything?) updated or added for more than three years. This is not to knock them — they could be great. But I prefer to support organizations that are financially transparent and commit to not spending a high amount on admin and fundraising expenses. If you have any more information, I’d love to see it, so I can feel good about donating. So far I’ve made a donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and would like to do more. Thank you

    • Hi Cynthia, Thank you – I totally understand if you choose to donate to someone else! I will try to find out more. I know they are really inundated right now so I don’t want to bother them but I will come back here and let you know if I discover anything else!

  19. barb says 6.1.20

    As a black woman, I thank you – you did not just place an image in your post.

    You conveyed concrete things you would be doing going forward.

    I appreciate and salute you.

    Barb – Brooklyn, NY

  20. Lily says 6.1.20

    Thanks for using your platform in this way, Grace! I work in criminal justice policy (and studied it in college), and I’ll second the recommendation of The New Jim Crow as an important read and Thirteenth as an important watch. I also recommend When They See Us (on Netflix, as is Thirteenth). And Bryan Stevenson’s book, Just Mercy, is another amazing one. Actually, everything he does is worth watching and listening to, but I particularly recommend that book and his TED Talk, We Need to Talk About Injustice.

  21. kim says 6.1.20

    you have always been vocal in your support of small businesses, inclusion, and giving back…thank you for sharing the steps you’ll be taking and continuing this important conversation. xx

  22. Jenny says 6.1.20

    Thank you for sharing, Grace! And thank you for using your platform to help others learn and do better!

  23. Amy says 6.1.20

    Thank you so much for sharing! As a white woman, these are great ideas to help better my education & understanding of racial inequality in our country. Ordering “So You Want to Talk About Race” now!

  24. Michelle says 6.1.20

    I would love to see POC owned artists (graphic prints, or paintings where you can buy prints, ceramics, etc.) if you have any ideas or submissions!

    • Both are coming! I’ll have a small business guide this week and am also working on a roundup of artists! x

  25. Katie Wheeler says 6.1.20

    This is a great post! I’d written a “catching up” post with what’s happening in my life to publish today and decided to push it back a week. It just felt so silly to share. I’m looking forward to your list of books! I would love to read some antiracist literature but it’s hard to know where to start. Having someone to discuss it with would be great.

  26. Anna says 6.1.20

    I am so glad I started following you a few months back! This is a great actionable list and in addition your donation is inspiring and impressive. Thank you.

  27. Lori in Toronto says 6.1.20

    These are great actions.
    I’m trying to make similar choices, and to make sure my money supports people and groups working towards justice. We (white women) need to take the time to educate ourselves and do more than “feel badly” about what’s happening.
    It’s not a new series, but I constantly recommend OJ: Made In America, the docu-series about the OJ Simpson trial. The first few episodes really show how policing of minorities, and turning police departments into paramilitary operations, have had generational negative impact.
    Take care, and I hope Brooklyn will be OK.

    • Sabrina says 6.1.20

      It’s so interesting you bring that up Lori.
      Over Memorial Say Weekend I began rewatching that doc and I invited a friend to watch it with me.
      He had never seen the doc because “he wasn’t into the OJ thing.

      He watched it with me all last week.
      And our conversation at the end(Saturday night we finished it) was so different in light of this week.
      It’s an outstanding doc.

      Add to that list “The N word”

    • Thank you so much for the recomnendation!!!!

  28. Raquel Fancher says 6.1.20

    this is excellent!

  29. Kate says 6.1.20

    Great to read this today.

    I’m sure there’s lot on your mind and I think that the main good thing you’re doing is stepping aside and amplifying the voices of BIPOC. I would ask, how can I best amplify the voices of BIPOC on my platform? (if i had a platform lol!)

    I’m a lawyer (a public defender, actually…I see police brutality regularly in my job, but that is not the point of this comment ha) and something that rocked my world when I was in law school was how much harder the black law students had to work at everything. They had to be twice as well dressed, twice as on top of everything, twice as professional, check their grammar on emails twice, etc. to get the same results as everyone else. Now, as a lawyer I watch my black colleagues face twice as much scrutiny in court, work twice as hard under twice the pressure. It is exhausting just to WATCH. I feel sad for people who for whatever reason have not had their eyes opened up to these kinds of issues that are just completely pervasive in our lives. It’s all wrapped together…anyway this is all to say that I would love to see these kinds of voices and women amplified on your platforms. There is so much room to listen, so much room to amplify others!

    Also, someone commented about the book “Just Mercy” and I second that (as well as The New Jim Crow, of course!). Bryan Stevenson is just incredibly powerful and inspiring, and he is out there doing the work every day!

    Thank you!

    • Agree so much – I just finished Andre Leon Talley’s book and he talked about that a lot too.

  30. Gayle says 6.1.20

    I just got the book. I’m in.

  31. Rosie says 6.1.20

    Thank you for this Grace. Looking forward to all of this content very much. Nothing could really distract me from this anyways.

  32. ShanghaiSue says 6.1.20

    Thanks for using your platform to advocate for other voices, especially black artists, bloggers, and creators. I consistently find most of my friends have basically an all white Insta feed. Diversifying our media and the creators we follow is a key step.

    To combat racism, two favorites are: How to be An Anti-Racist by Ibram X Kendi (for current action) and A More Beautiful and Terrible History: the Uses and Misuses of a Civil Rights History by Jeannie Theoharis.

    But one point I’ve seen made is that black literature is more than oppression and cruelty. So I’ve made an effort to pick up fun reads and recs from @BlackgirlsRead on Instagram. Love Alyssa Cole’s A Princess in Theory, Talia Hibbert’s Get a Life Chloe Brown, and Justina Ireland’s Dread Nation. All so fun in different ways.

    • YES – that’s been going around my group too – I think it’s so important to read a mix of heavy and light. (I REALLY loved Get a Life Chloe Brown!!!!)

  33. Alanna says 6.2.20

    Thanks for sharing the concrete steps you’re taking and inspiring us to act by leading by example. As a first step, I just ordered So You Want to Talk About Race, The Hate U Give, Just Mercy, The New Jim Crow, Between the World and Me, and How to be an Antiracist from Bookshop based on many of the recommendations in the comments. I plan to donate to a few organizations next, and Campaign Zero seems like a great one! I’d love to see more recommendations from your readers!

  34. Emily says 6.2.20

    Thank you for sharing! Just donated to Campaign Zero.

  35. marys says 6.2.20

    This is great, Grace. Your blog and your podcast have already introduced me to WOC influencers and books that I probably wouldn’t have know about otherwise. I know there is still so much work for all of us to do, but because of you, I don’t feel like I’m starting at square one. I know a lot of people are feeling anger and shame right now and that’s okay. We are still learning. Like Maya Angelou says, “When you know better, do better.” I want to help support black artists, authors and designers, so please keep introducing them to us. And most importantly, let’s VOTE out the divisiveness in our government. That’s a drumbeat I want to hear from every influencer until November. Thank you!

  36. Pia says 6.2.20

    I will be reading So You Want To Talk About Race along with you!

  37. Kaira C. says 6.2.20

    Thank you for stepping into allyship. You are greatly appreciated.