Top 5 Must Reads to Increase your Knowledge on Racial Equity

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NC Early Childhood Foundation’s (NCECF) staff meetings may look a bit different than yours – twice a month, staff members facilitate guided conversations using a list of curated materials by our Organizational Equity Officer that are broadening perspectives and building a shared language of understanding around racism, anti-racism, and white privilege within NCECF. Through this process, we have had some tough and engaging conversations, and ultimately learn to listen deeply and become mindful of our differences and lived experiences. Below you can find our top five staff recommendations that have impacted our learning on racial equity. 

When I read about the Courageous Conversations protocol on Mindshift, I thought Eureka! I had found a roadmap to engage people that I might not otherwise attempt to do so. As a start, I am going to ask my book club to work through it together. My second thought was about the former Broward County Superintendent of Public Schools in Florida that offered training on the protocol to teachers in the school system in 2015. I wondered what would happen if he offered this training today. With the vilification of race exploration and anyone that would want to engage students about it, and the squelching of free speech in many schools, I realized how important it is to support educators that want to move issues of race forward in our country. We can all find ways to do so.  - Lisa Finaldi, Community Engagement Leader

This slim book (140 pages), On Juneteenth, by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Annette Gordon-Reed, is a personal narrative of the author growing up as a Black woman in Texas during the Civil Rights Era. Gordon-Reed paints a succinct historical narrative to give better context to the uniqueness of the Black American experience in Texas anchored by slavery ending in the state of Texas on June 19, 1865, after the Emancipation.  - Muffy Grant, Executive Director

The TED Talks - School Suspensions are an Adult Behavior and The Cost of Code-Switching - made me think about how we have some generic expectations for how children should present themselves with their behavior, mannerisms, learning styles, and overall self. What if we focused inward to better understand children? Sometimes children are not equipped with the tools or words to communicate what they feel or think so they may act out. Let’s find out why their behavior is impacted. Let’s stop putting pressure on children to conform and allow them to bring all their culture, interests, and traits to their classrooms and communities.   - Lindsay Saunders, Marketing & Communications Leader

Skulls and Skins, from Scene on Radio’s series Seeing White, puts a historical perspective on human taxonomy and the definition of race: from the 1400s when the term didn’t exist to how we define it today. The science, at that time, was not made of facts - it was made of opinions, aesthetic preference, skull size measurements, unproven conclusions, geography, or religious beliefs of the time. I recommend listening to this podcast episode to learn more about how racial science was used to justify white people’s superiority, the slave trade, eugenics, and its influence on our thinking today.  - Kaylan Sloane, Finance and Operational Manager

Do you know what the acronym MENA stands for? According to the US Census categories, anyone with origins in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa are considered white. For the past 30 years, Arab and Iranian communities have been advocating for people of Middle Eastern and North African descent, also known as MENA, to have their own category on the Census and in other demographic data collection surveys. In the podcast, Me & My Muslim Friends, Yasmin Bendaas interviews Abdullah Dorgham and Ahmed Amer, who are of Palestinian and Egyptian descent, and feel misrepresented and confused about being labeled as white and lacking recognition of their Middle Eastern and North African heritage.  - Sumera Syed, Organizational Equity Officer