Race, Toxic Masculinity, Paternalism, Formation: 9 Articles I’ve Been Reading This Week

From Literary Hub: Why James Baldwin’s Truths Still Holds Today

“This climate of fear forces black parents to impart particular lessons to their children. We fear for our children’s lives every time they leave the relative safety of our homes, and depending upon where you live, that fear varies in intensity.

I once called my son away from the comfort of his bedroom and forced him to walk outside with me. He looked stereotypically suburban: pajama bottoms, a T-shirt, and Nike running shoes. The police were at a neighbor’s house. Apparently one of their boys had gotten into trouble. Instead of taking the young man to jail, they had brought him home.

Even though I am a Princeton professor, I turned to my boy, and without blinking, I told him, “They would not have brought you home to me. They would’ve taken you to jail.”

From Moontime Warrior: I’m Concerned About Your Academic Career If You Talk About This Publicly

“What truths would be written if academics weren’t afraid of losing their jobs? What truths would be written if you followed through, with practice, the type of sovereignty and decolonization you theorize in journals?”

From Everyday Feminism: 6 Ways Well-Intentioned People Whitesplain Racism )And Why They Need to Stop)

“Because regardless of your intentions, whitesplaining has a damaging impact–silencing people of color, shutting down vital racial justice conversations, and often spreading misinformation.”

From The Michigan Daily: Not Black, But Mixed

“As for me, I am fortunate to not have dealt with the systematic racism that many Black and mixed people have faced in the past and face in the present. I haven’t been kept out of places because of my race and haven’t faced hate speech or lived in fear every day like some have and still do. But the subtle racism and racist jokes that have been directed toward me have made me realize that my racial identity has been defined by others in terms of my Black half or my “Blackness.”

From Medium: Formation Doesn’t Include Me, and That’s Just Fine

“It’s time for us to stop singing along — to Formation, to Kendrick Lamar’sAlright, to any song that has the N-word or celebrates blackness in a way we will never understand. Our ancestors signed away that right when they signed their names to contracts that said they owned human beings or signed tabs in restaurants that didn’t allow “colored people.”

If your ancestors were abolitionists or civil rights protestors, maybe you knew these things a long time ago, but for the rest of us, our people were either active racists or passive enablers, a pitiful legacy if ever there was one.”

From Salon: The Guys Who Won’t Hear “No”: Movies, Masculinity, and the Toxic Myth of the Romantic Stalker

“From an early age, we’re taught bumper-sticker-ready lessons “never give up” and “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” They offer us necessary lessons about the value of perseverance, but rarely do they illustrate the importance of consent.

Rarely are we taught that it’s OK to try your best and not get what you want—because your desires aren’t the only ones that are important. Rarely are we taught that “no” deserves respect.”

From The New York Times: Racial Bias Even When We Have Good Intentions

“Even if, in our slow thinking, we work to avoid discrimination, it can easily creep into our fast thinking. Our snap judgments rely on all the associations we have — from fictional television shows to news reports. They use stereotypes, both the accurate and the inaccurate, both those we would want to use and ones we find repulsive.”

From Medium: The Reductive Seduction of Other People’s Problems 

“If you’re young, privileged, and interested in creating a life of meaning, of course you’d be attracted to solving problems that seem urgent and readily solvable. Of course you’d want to apply for prestigious fellowships that mark you as an ambitious altruist among your peers. Of course you’d want to fly on planes to exotic locations with, importantly, exotic problems.

There is a whole “industry” set up to nurture these desires and delusions —“

From B3 Chronicles: Everyone Wanted to be a Black Girl Until Beyonce Dropped “Formation”

“As an African American Woman- first generation Nigerian, to be exact- I have been explaining my identity, culture, name, shape, hair texture, hips, lips, thoughts, personality, feelings, and DNA to people who don’t look like me, my entire life.

I’ve been teased, taunted, objectified, but most recently, appropriated by a world that loves everything about me, my music, my culture, and body shape, as long as it can be replicated and reproduced into a form that doesn’t require any accountability, apologies, or acknowledgement- as long as it can be reproduced into something that makes the “average American” feel comfortable.”


From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins-Jones, MSW, LLMSW



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I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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