We have a zero-tolerance policy against racism or any other form of discrimination. But, in light of recent global events, we know that it’s not enough to simply state what you are for and against. Forward-thinking organizations like DAC have a duty to affect meaningful change by sharing our experiences, challenging our preconceptions, and enriching our collective mindset.
That’s why we devised and launched The Open Book Club, a monthly virtual conference that continues our education on various social justice topics. Club rules and recommendations are kept to an absolute minimum to allow discussions to flow naturally. In fact, we really only have two guidelines to speak of:
- Everyone is welcome
- The club is completely optional, with absolutely no pressure to join
We also observe the general principle that it is not incumbent on anyone except us to educate ourselves. For example, while discussing our first book, it was not the burden of our BIPOC colleagues (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) to act as our Google or Wikipedia. The intention is that we discuss the books and topics at hand; it is not expected that anyone will teach.
So You Want to Talk About Race – Ijeoma Oluo
Last week’s inaugural edition of the club discussed Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want to Talk About Race, a “hard-hitting but user-friendly examination of race in America”.
It was the ideal book to launch with, serving as an approachable account for people with varying levels of knowledge about racism (e.g. systemic racism) as well as varying levels of experience discussing it. Critically, Oluo not only focuses on the issue of racism but also explores how to have conversations about it.
If you’re interested in following us on our journey, here’s what we’ll be reading and watching next month:
🎞️ 13th – Ava DuVernay
Ava DuVernay’s 2016 documentary, 13th, examines the systems, policies, and decisions that have caused systemic racism. It is very US-centric, but is an excellent primer to understand how racism has been embedded in the foundation of the country for hundreds of years. It’s available on Netflix (US/Canada) and on YouTube in some regions.
📖 Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates
Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me is not an academic book. Instead, it’s a beautiful and heartbreaking narrative as told from a black author’s lived experience. It’s written as a letter to his son, but it is ultimately a treatise on the world today and how racism affects black lives.