(Episode webpage)

Rayah: Hi friends. This week we have a short episode for you while we prepare for some larger conversations. Every other week, Amira and I will put out mini episodes with tips, updates, challenges or practical tools to use in your daily justice work. This week, I wanted to talk about a few of the books and podcasts that have helped me in my journey of learning and unlearning. I linked to some Amazon listings so you can see the books themselves, but I highly encourage you to order these from local independent bookstores. If you’re in the Portland area, check out Third Eye books.

The first book up is The End of Policing by Alex Vitale. This book is excellent for understanding the historical and current role of the police in our country and their ties with racism and white supremacy. Not only does it break it down into the categories of policing, like gang suppression, drugs, mental health calls, and border policing. Each section also talks about reforms and alternatives to the current methods.

Next up is Eloquent Rage by Brittany Cooper. The subtitle to this book is a Black feminist discovers her superpower and it is a powerful and honest volume from the inside. Brittney explains her experiences in a raw, bold, yet elegant way. The ‘angry Black woman’ is a longtime trope that has been weaponized against Black women as a way to minimize and write off their experiences and this book explains why that idea needs to die. While at times funny and exciting. It also had me in tears as I recognized just how much harm is piled on black women by both stereotypes and the systems of power and the United States.

Last recommendation for this mini episode is The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk. This book is about trauma and mental health and not race specifically. It is an invaluable work on how important human relationships are, what is happening in the body and mind what kinds of events caused trauma and what we can do about it. This book is probably one of the most influential books I’ve ever read and completely transformed the way I look at myself, others and the grand whole of humanity. One of my favorite quotes that continues to fill me with hope about the work we are doing comes from this book.

“The brain disease model overlooks four fundamental truths. Number one, our capacity to destroy one another is matched by our capacity to heal one another. Restoring relationships and community is central to restoring well being. Two, language gives us the power to change ourselves and others by communicating our experiences, helping us to define what we know and finding a common sense of meaning. Number three, we have the ability to regulate our own physiology, including some of the so called involuntary functions of the body and brain through such basic activities such as breathing, moving, and touching. And four, we can change social conditions to create environments in which children and adults can feel safe and where they can thrive. When we ignore these quintessential dimensions of humanity, we deprive people of ways to heal from trauma and restore their autonomy. Being a patient rather than a participant in one’s healing process, separates suffering people from their community and alienates them from an inner sense of self.”

Next up, we have podcast recommendations. With each of these podcasts. I also linked three of my favorite episodes.

First up, we have Throughline. Rund Abdelfatah and Ramtin Arablouei are incredible hosts and masterfully weave together the connection between current events and their historical contexts.

Next up is Faith and Capital. Faith and Capital is a show about the intersections of Christianity and capitalism by Chase Tibbs.

Code switch is the fearless conversation about race that you’ve been waiting for. Hosted by Shereen Marisol Meraji and Gene Demby. This podcast tackles the subject of race head on.

Then we have Radiolab hosted by Jad Abumrad, Lulu Miller and Latif Nasser. Radiolab is a beautifully crafted podcast about a huge range of topics and in-depth explorations.

Lastly, we have Behind the Bastards, Robert Evans brings on a guest and uses his platform to talk about all of the worst bastards in history and how they got there. This podcast is definitely more of an adult show that uses humor to break up some truly horrifying history.

The other thing that I wanted to talk about is that soon we’re going to be digging into white supremacy, the history of whiteness, and why that matters to all of us. Often, white folks will brush off conversations about white supremacy, thinking that it doesn’t apply to them, especially if they don’t consider themselves to be racist. White supremacy is about so much more than simply skin color based prejudice. As a white person, you will never wake up one day and be Black, but you absolutely could wake up disabled, to find out you have a queer or trans loved one, or join the masses at the bottom of the financial system. We’ll be diving into the reasons and relations between white supremacy and our social system in August, and we are excited to explore it with you.

Lastly, we have a Patreon that helps us pay for this podcast. And we would love to get to the point that the podcast pays for itself. We’d love to continue to do this work and you can help make that possible. Patrons also good to submit questions for us to answer on the podcast. All right, that completes the roundup for today. So thank you so much for joining me today and we will see you next time.