As you may have read on our social media accounts, this week we’re taking a pause from ‘business as usual’ here on The Mom Edit. After this weekend, our hearts are heavy, our minds are tired. We’re on day three of citywide curfews in response to the riots, and the last thing any of us are able to focus on is fashion.
And yet: there’s work to be done.
So this next week will look a little different. Over the weekend, The Mom Edit committed to increasing our coverage of black-owned business to 15% to be better representative of our country. This commitment will last long past this week. But to start, we’re creating a Mom Edit resource guide of our favorite black-owned brands and retailers, as well as highlighting our favorite products resulting from that research. We’re also dedicating our “Oooo…THIS” section of our daily newsletter to featuring drool-worthy products from black-owned businesses.
We’re also going to be sharing some resources that we’ve personally found helpful in this journey to not only be actively anti-racist, but to raise actively anti-racist kids.
To kick things off, here are six powerful messages to read or watch. These are the ones we encountered over the weekend that deepened our understanding and challenged us to stay in this very uncomfortable space, looking inward and confronting our own biases.
Do the work.
1. This Speech From Rapper Killer Mike
Now more than ever, we need good leaders. And Killer Mike’s speech in Atlanta brought me to tears. “We don’t want to see Targets burning. We want to see the system that sets up for systemic racism burnt to the ground.“
2. Trevor Noah Talking About the Protests
This is almost 20 min. long, but totally worth the watch. Trevor Noah has a way of navigating through complicated situations to allow for deeper understandings. This one will challenge you to think. I watched it twice: once by myself, and then again with the kids.
3. 75 Things White People Can Do For Racial Justice
This Medium post from Corinne Shutack about what white people can actually do — like, right now — was sent over to us from many readers. It’s a really solid compilation and a good place to start.
4. 5 Racist Anti-Racism Responses “Good” White Women Give To Viral Posts
Hoo, boy. This post on five things that “good” white women say (that are actually racist) from writer Katie Anthony is a must-read. It’s funny (#notallsharks), well-written, and should be taken to heart. I do have one bone to pick, however. In the article, Katie states that all white women are racist. I personally would tweak that sentiment to read that all white women, because we live in a racist society, have all engaged in racist behavior. Still, totally worth a read.
5. Today’s Brian Lehrer Show
This was Lex’s top pick — she loved how the three segments of the show really contextualized the week’s events and where we are as a nation in regards to the protests and anti-racism. She highly recommends listening to all three segments because the people who call in — including white moms trying to raise anti-racist sons — help to provide a fuller picture of what’s happening. The first segment with Jamil Smith, senior editor of Rolling Stone, puts the uprisings into context nationwide; the second is with Brooklyn Borough president Eric Adams (22 previous years as NYPD) about police behavior and protesting this weekend; and the third segment We Want to Talk About Race, features Ijeoma Oluo author of So You Want to Talk About Race discussing how Americans can have honest conversations about these killings, race, racism and white supremacy. “Altogether,” Lex says, “the show ties up where we are right now and why, in case it’s just all a big jumble in your head”. Yup. This is next on my list.
6. Remember, No One Is Coming to Save Us
This is thought-provoking read from the Times’ Roxanne Gay. The ultimate reminder that this fundamental system of systemic racism, aka our current “normal” is to blame: “The rest of the world yearns to get back to normal. For black people, normal is the very thing from which we yearn to be free.”
Brava, again, Shana and team!
I’d recommend reading Layla Saad’s, Me and White Supremacy. It’s incredibly important and will help clarify the statement referenced above about the racism in all white women.
Over the past weekend my husband and I showed our 13 year old son the first two pieces linked above. We will be checking out the rest.
Thank you for using your platform to seek and understand.
Thank you for this … while I didn’t fully agree with or support your weekend post, “I defend to the death your right to say it.” I am so appreciative of the information provided in this post and TMEs efforts moving forward.
THANK YOU! TME is dope.
Thank you for sifting through and compiling the resources in this manner. It’s a bit overwhelming right now.
Hey Shana! Great post. I’m literally listening to Robin DiAngelo (author of “White Fragility”) right now as the keynote speaker of Rutgers’ 4th Annual Challenging Racial Disparities Conference, and she just said that the culturally accepted definition of racist is “An individual who consciously does not like people based on race and is intentionally mean to them.” She then explained that this definition actually protects the system of racism and white supremacy. I think we should name that we are racist and that’s exactly why we are actively practicing anti-racism, to unlearn the racism that we have been socialized to.
I think one of the things that a lot of white people are grappling with is WHAT to say and HOW to say it in a way that is clear, supportive, and concise. Social media, blogs, and other platforms allow for everyone to have a voice. One of the things that we as white people need to commit to is saying something, and if we get it wrong, finding out why, unlearning, relearning, and getting it right.
I think your weekend post was really powerful. I read each and every comment and the dialogue you started was fascinating. I am here in support of TME and was really glad to see the readers who chimed in as well.
Thank you for your commitment to helping us all learn how to be better, do better, and live better. I commend you for ‘letting burn’ the idea that this website somehow should be restricted to just fashion and that something that seems as simple as fashion is a really complicated business and where we put our dollars matters (in so many respects – environmental, racial, etc.). Aja Barber on Instagram and Patreon is a great follow and highlights a lot of fashion-focused racial and inequality issues. I’m making a commitment to try and eliminate the fast fashion in my life because holy hell is it problematic. Keep posting, keep sharing, keep trying. Thank you for compiling resources for us.
Thank you!! For the thoughtful comments, words of support, and the helpful accounts. xoxo
Thank you for this.
These are great resources. Thank you.
Thank you for committing to this. Here is something I have personally been working on that it sounds like you may decide to work on too during your research: I think you should sit with how uncomfortable it makes you to hear and feel that all white women are racist. Because it’s true. No amount of sugar coating or change in wording will change that fact. You have to simultaneously accept that you have been living in a system that made you racist against your will practically from birth and ALSO be actively anti-racist. You have to see and acknowledge your own racism and constantly fight against it. If you split hairs and instead describe your racism as “racist behaviors” that feels like denial and also makes it sound like you only engage in those behaviors some of the time; but everything white people do is racist because we live in a systemically racist society. Saying you are racist doesn’t mean you can’t also be anti-racist. Saying you are NOT racist gaslights Black people everywhere who have experienced our racism. Again, just an opinion from another white woman who is trying her best to learn and do better. I don’t mean to come across as judgmental in a rude or mean way- simply in a “we all have to do better” way.
Totally get this – and appreciate the comment. I’ve been thinking about it, and I *think* that my discomfort stems from a general discomfort of labels themselves. I hate labels – even good ones – because I find them so limiting. Telling Raines, for example, that he’s “nice” also seems to imply (unsaid, of course), that he is not mean. Leaving him also feeling afraid of that feeling, and feeling misunderstood (of course he IS sometimes mean – it’s a human thing). Anyway, Mike and I have both tried really, really hard never to label our kids – I think humans in general are more complex than labels. So when I read an interview with Ibrahm X. Kendi and he was talking about switching the terminology from labeling someone as racist to instead saying that someone is engaged in racist behaviors…that was a lightbulb moment for me. You can never know what is in someone’s heart, and I think so much of white defensive behavior stems from that very fact. But since we’re all living in a racist society…OF COURSE we’ve engaged in racist behaviors. And that is something we can actively work to change. This was the whole premise behind being actively anti-racist – you actually work to stop all racist behavior. Let me see if I can find that article – he obviously says it better than I.
Oh good – found it: https://www.npr.org/2019/08/13/750709263/ibram-x-kendis-latest-book-how-to-be-an-antiracist
Please do this. It it vitally important to protect and support Black people right now. And also remember that we need to amplify other people of color too. I want shipping lists with Black businesses, Latinx business, Native business, queer and trans-people of color owned business…you get the picture.
How about Asian representation? You don’t have any Asian member for TME, and no exposure for Asian owned businesses?
I’m so glad you’re listing some resources for folks. And I do not understand why time and again you provide direct links to Amazon instead of independent booksellers, and particularly in this moment, Black booksellers. Is it because you make money as an affiliate? I really wish you’d be transparent about this. Part of doing antiracist work is to realize how the systemic economic inequalities of white supremacy have prevented Black Americans from accruing wealth and economic power, and working to remedy that. Linking to Black businesses is a small but important step in that direction. Why are you choosing to send dollars towards Amazon, which has devastated Black independent businesses, instead?
Ok – let me try to address your concern – it’s a good one. Bottom line: it’s not about commissions. Frankly, commissions on book sales are pretty small – not worth making it our hill to die on. Amazon has always been the *easiest* place for us to link. They’re integrated into our affiliate networks which makes it possible for us to build fancy shopping widgets that you can see on our front page. Amazon also tends to have the most stock…and even if a book is sold out, the Kindle version or Audible version or used version is usually available. Even Rachel Cargle (a black activist I respect) has been encouraging people to purchase the kindle version of her now sold-out book.
And finally, our audience is primarily a well-educated, highly-opinionated bunch. There’s no doubt in my mind that if they want to support their local bookstore, or a black-owned bookstore, or check the book out of their library…they’re going to do just that.
That said, we’ve been trying to figure out how to offer alternative online links. In my weekend post, I was hoping to use bookshop.org…but they were sold out of the books I recommended. So I figured that Amazon was better than not reading the book at all. In hindsight, maybe I should’ve linked bookshop.org anyway, just so people know about it. That’s fair. The weekend post was a pretty emotional one for me, and I think I was just….done.
Going forward, we are going to try and link to other purchasing options, when it makes sense. Our shopping widgets will never work that way (unless we literally write our own software…which wouldn’t happen anytime soon), and I’m not totally convinced that linking to books at Target or Barnes and Noble are *that* much better than Amazon. IDK. I’m such a huge kindle reader (that’s seriously the only way I read these days) so I will always be buying books I’m reading on Amazon….but books for my kids? I tend to stay local (as much as I can).
IDK Teri. Thoughts? We’re trying to navigate all this shit as best we can. xoxo
Japanese American sister jumping in to say this is not the time. We can take this opportunity to explore the anti blackness in our communities. This was a helpful read for me:
I also appreciated the recent PBS series Asian Americans, which explores the LA uprising/riots as a part of our history.
One thing that has been bothering me a bit about your coverage of racial injustice (which I appreciate!) is that it has been extremely Shana-centric. While it’s important for white people to be reflective, it seems odd that we haven’t heard from any of the Black women on your staff (or other POC). Obviously they don’t have any obligation to post if they don’t want to, or to educate anyone, but it would be nice to see their voices elevated if they have something to share.
So here’s the consensus from the black women on our team…as well as what *seems* to be the consensus of the black community: they are tired. They are tired of white people “suddenly” caring about injustice when they have been fighting it their entire lives. They have said all of the important things, numerous times. And while it’s great (awesome!) that we’re now all trying to help, we need to find a way to be allies without putting an additional burden – the one of the education of ourselves – on the black community.
The black team members of TME know that this is their platform, too. If they have something to say, they’ll say it. Furthermore, we’ve been reaching out to other black influencers, letting them know that – if they choose – they can use our platform as well.
But in the meantime, you guys are stuck with us. We’re trying to place the burden of responsibility where it belongs: on the oppressing group. It is up to us to educate ourselves, to really seek how to behave in a way that is actively anti-racist. And there’s a ton of ways to do this!! What we’re trying to do is provide you with the resources that we, ourselves, have found helpful. If those resources aren’t speaking to you, then do a quick google search on ‘how to be anti-racist” and TONS of information will come up. And if you find a resource that you’ve found really helpful, we’d love to know about it, too.
Hopped on here to say, (and I’m sure I’m probably in the minority) that I unsubscribed to the newsletter because hearing your social commentary is just a bit too much (especially your “burn that shit down” piece). I’m weary of reading everyone’s opinions on everything currently happening (esp from a white woman’s perspective in an attempt to educate me), and I can find my own resources. Just sayin’ it’s a bit too much right now.
Hello. I totally agree with H. I have been a very loyal and faithful follower for over a decade- since Ain’t No Mom Jeans, but I have to tap out. I will not be checking back in. Be well friends.
Thank you for all of this. Your article is thoughtful and helpful, and I am grateful (and weirdly a little surprised?) that most of the comments are as well. There’s some incisive, self-reflective, and unsparing communication happening here. As a racial minority, I disagree with the notion that social commentary doesn’t belong here. You have a platform, and you are trying to use it responsibly. I also appreciate that you and your readers aren’t shying away from (i) the critical self-examination (which can be really uncomfortable, because we all want to think we’re non-racist good people), and (ii) the effort it takes to educate oneself. I’m trying to do the same things. I’ve realized in these past few days how little I know about certain things and how much I need to listen.
I understand that the burden should be on white people to educate themselves. But, I have heard from a lot of POC that an important part of being an ally is elevating their voices instead of our own, which is why I was concerned that TME seems to have one (white) voice only, at least right now. But of course it is their decision whether to use the platform, and all you can do is offer.
Thanks for speaking out. On number 4 I want to share an op-Ed by a UC Berkeley Professor… rather than taking it personal as a progressive, we need to dig deep into systemic issues and implicit biases. As she says:
“It is rare for anyone to grow up in the United States — where racism and white supremacy are in the air we breathe and the water we drink — and not be racist.“
TME is not an airport – no need to announce your departures! If reading about racism is too uncomfortable, bu-bye!