life Reading

Anti-Racism Exploration, ~1 year in

June 22, 2021

June 2020 was a tipping point for many, and like millions of others, I jumped in and started paying a lot more attention to learning about racism and the structural inequities built into our country’s history.

I have learned a lot, which is bittersweet because it means I hadn’t learned it before.

I would not say I was entirely naive to the imbalance before. Because of my professional role (ie, physician) I have been exposed to how different populations live and are treated in a way that wouldn’t have happened if I were a corporate executive (or something to that effect).

But I still didn’t have a grasp on the history, and I did not spend much time thinking about how much harder it is to live every single day as a Black person in this country.

I do think about those things now. I will see two white teens hanging out outside and reflect on the fact that if their skin was darker, someone might stop and question them, and how incredibly unfair that is and how stressful it would be to have to think about that. I spend a lot of time thinking about bias in the residency interview process and in hiring processes. I think about how much I have grown to hate the word “fit”.

I still carry my own unconscious biases. I have come to believe that we all do, though the biases may vary. But at least I am more aware of them. We have donated to anti-racism and Black Lives Matter efforts (like Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights), but could do more. I support Black businesses and creators with my $ and again — could always do more. We have shared more diverse voices and perspectives on BOBW, and on BLP as well and plan to continue on both fronts. 2020 was a the start of a lifelong journey, not some project to finish and put a check mark next to.

If you are interested in Black-owned businesses and creators to support, here are some of my favorites:

Layered Living Planner

Notiq (this is the only thing I am dying to add to my planner armistice in 2022)

Lush Saffiano

Cloth & Paper (planner inserts, covers, and really great pen subscription boxes)

The Stationery Muse

Routine & Things (love her menu planning pad + podcast)

Planners & Wine (listen, or join their Patreon — I am a member! I really enjoy the extra episodes!)

Some of the related reading I have done over the past year and can highly recommend:

Caste by Isabel Wilkerson

Medical Apartheid by Harriet Washington

How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Code Switch Podcast

Throughline Podcast

no affiliate links were used in this post


  • Reply Irene June 22, 2021 at 8:40 am

    Thanks for this reminder. I also have work to do, and it’s easy to get complacent when so many other things are going on.

    Just purchased one of the books from your list so thanks also for the recommendations. I need more diverse voices in my life since I’m still stuck at home so much.

  • Reply Omdg June 22, 2021 at 9:07 am

    Yes very easy to get complacent.

    On the day of the Derek Chauvin verdict a parent of a patient wore blue scrubs with “Thin Blue Line” emblazoned on the breast pocket. I wouldn’t have known what that meant a year ago. And also when someone tried to tell me that “Thin Blue Line” was not anti-BLM, just “supportive of law enforcement” I had the balls to say, at work, “It’s perfectly possible to be supportive of law enforcement without being deliberately antagonistic to black people.” I probably got a bad eval from the nurses in the room that day, but it was totally worth it. I’ve always been pretty outspoken, but not like this before, and I think it’s positive that I felt empowered to say something. I obviously can’t speak to what it’s like to be black now compared to a year ago, but hopefully this signifies a shift in workplace culture at least where I work. (Maybe I’m being too optimistic.)

  • Reply Omdg June 22, 2021 at 9:11 am

    Dylan recently read “inside Out and back again,” which is EXCELLENT. Also read one Crazy Summer. Children of Blood and Bone is pretty good too. If you go to Amazon and search for Newberry award winners you will get more diversity than I expected.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 22, 2021 at 9:20 am

      Thank you for recs! I have not been as proactive about A’s reading list as compared to my own. Will check those out!

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns June 22, 2021 at 10:08 am

    This is something I have focused on during this past year as well. I live in Minneapolis so we were very clearly at the epicenter of this and have a lot of work to do as a city. I did a lot of reading this year and have been thinking a lot about how to raise our boys to be anti-racist. I read “Raising White Kids” and it made me think but I think I need to re-read it in a couple of years. It’s never too early to focus on raising anti-racist kids but this book is more directed at parents of school-aged kids. I would like to take a parenting class on the topic as well – just need to seek out opportunities for that, but I’m sure they are out there.

  • Reply YS June 23, 2021 at 7:40 pm

    How was your experience of reading Caste? I keep hearing how important this book is. Important as well as highly readable, but there’s a part of me that’s apprehensive. I read her previous book The Warmth of Other Suns, and it devastated me. I mean, that sounds melodramatic, but it really affected me so much. I think I cried through most of my time reading it. It was incredibly eye-opening, infuriating, and sad. I could not believe that such a gigantic American experience had been left out of my school history lessons. I want to read Caste but am also kind of afraid to. I need to just suck it up and do it!

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