After the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd sparked protests across the country, many “anti-racist reading lists” began popping up all over my social media feeds. I’m a librarian and many of my friends are librarians (or book-people), so maybe I saw more of this than others, but I think we were all seeing lots of resource lists.
As much as I believe in the power of information, I also realize that without accountability, discussion, and action, reading about racism and anti-racism isn’t going to get us far along the path to justice and equity. My job as Associate Director of the Faculty Center at UNLV puts me in a position to plan and facilitate learning and development opportunities for faculty members, so in a somewhat self-interested way I put out a call for folks to join me in an anti-racist reading group for the summer.
We’re meeting weekly, discussing articles and book chapters from this list (bit.ly/ANTIRACISMRESOURCES) and coming up with ways that all of us, in our various spheres, can work to dismantle systemic racism by examining policies and practices in our offices and classrooms. There are about 20 of us, from around campus, and most of us identify as white. Those of us who are white have had the privilege of not really talking or thinking about race, we’ve been fooled into thinking it doesn’t affect us, but talking about it now among ourselves and educating ourselves on systemic racism in higher education is helping us to take steps towards the just and equitable place that we want UNLV to be.