Let's talk about race.

In light of recent events and the current political environment, Tulsa City-County Library invites our community to have courageous conversations about race, political violence and power in institutions. Books and literature can be powerful tools to spark conversation, build empathy, and promote healing, transformation, and change. Libraries and library resources are here for you. For customers searching for information on race, our librarians have brought together a wide range of resources that we hope you will find helpful in these uncertain times. Whether you are discussing current events with your children, engaging in dialogue with other community members, or simply looking to educate yourself, the resources on this page are a great place to start. 

Content
Terms to Know

Anti-Racism or Antiracism

Anti-racism or antiracism is the active process of recognizing, challenging, and working to dismantle racist structures and attitudes in economic, political and social life.

Sources: Center for the Study of Social Policy and Racial Equity Tools.

For more information on anti-racism, listen to the Aspen Institute's podcast by Ibram X. Kendi', What is Antiracism and Can It Save Society?. The National Museum of African American History and Culture's topic page on being antiracist is also an excellent resource. 

Implicit Bias or Unconscious Bias

Implicit biases or unconscious biases refer to beliefs and attitudes that shape our understanding and influence our decisions and actions without our conscious awareness.  

Sources: Center for the Study of Social Policy and Racial Equity Tools

For more information on implicit or unconscious bias, visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture's topic page on bias.

Individual Racism

Individual racism refers to internalized biases that shape a person's beliefs, attitudes and behaviors towards people of color. Individual racism may be conscious or unconscious. 

Sources: Center for the Study of Social Policy and The Aspen Institute.

For more information on racism, visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture's topic pages on race and racial identity and historical foundations of race

Race

Race is a social construct (idea) that is used to label and divide groups of people primarily by skin color and other physical characteristics. There is no biological or genetic basis for race, so the term race refers to a social concept rather than a scientific one.   

Sources: Center for the Study of Social Policy and Racial Equity Tools    

For more information on the concept of race, visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture's topic pages on race and racial identity and historical foundations of race

Structural Racism

Structural racism refers to the political, legal and social structures that reinforce White supremacy and harm people of color. Structural racism is deeply rooted in history, and perpetuated by cultural beliefs and representations.

Sources: Center for the Study of Social Policy and The Aspen Institute.

For more information on structural racism, visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture's topic pages on race and racial identity and historical foundations of race

White Privilege

White privilege refers to the unearned power, choices and advantages afforded to those who are White or who are perceived as White.

Sources: Center for the Study of Social Policy and Racial Equity Tools.

For more information on White privilege, visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture's topic page on Whiteness.  

Book Lists by TCCL Staff

Anti-Racism and Activism: When They Call You a Terrorist

Racism is embedded into the laws that govern our country, the stories told in history and the language used to describe the Black Lives Matter movement. Learn how you can better support the goal to end structural and cultural racism in America.

Go to "Anti-Racism and Activism: When They Call You a Terrorist"

Black Lives Matter: Protest, Movements & Revolution

The story of the fight for equality is a long one. Learn more about the movements that have shaped civil rights for Blacks in America.

Go to "Black Lives Matter: Protest, Movements, & Revolution"

Tear it Down: White Privilege, Implicit Bias & Racial Profiling

Want to become a better ally in the Black Lives Matter movement? Phrases like "White privilege," "implicit bias" and "racial profiling" can be hard to understand without a little bit of background. Educate yourself on the concepts that contribute to structural and cultural racism in America.

Go to "Tear it Down: White Privilege, Implicit Bias, & Racial Profiling"

1921 and Today: Remembrance and Protest

May 31, 2020, marked the 99th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre. The 1921 event devastated Tulsa's Black Wall Street and shaped the Tulsa that exists today. This reading list is in commemoration of that historic event. We hope that it will spark important conversations about topics that are still relevant today.

Go to "1921 and Today: Remembrance and Protest"

1921 and Today: Building Empathy Through Fiction

May 31, 1921, marked the 99th anniversary of the tragic Tulsa Race Massacre. To commemorate the event that devastated so many in the Tulsa community and beyond, we have compiled a list of fiction titles across genres and reading levels that we hope can shine a light on anti-Black racism in America. Books are a window into another person's reality. Reading builds empathy. Empathy leads to understanding.

Go to "1921 and Today: Building Empathy Through Fiction"

Paper dolls in different skin tone colors against a grey backdrop.

 

Listen & Watch

Podcast Series

1619 

1619 is a New York Times podcast that explores the history and far-reaching consequences of slavery in the United States.

Code Switch

Code Switch is a NPR podcast by journalists of color that examines the topic of race from political, cultural and historical angles. 

Pod for the Cause 

Pod for the Cause is a new podcast from The Leadership Conference that discusses current civil and human rights issues. 

Seeing White

Seeing White is a Scene on Radio documentary series that explores the history of racism and the meaning of whiteness. 

TED Talks

An Interview with the founders of Black Lives Matter: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tomet

Leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement talk about the growth of the movement and what inspires them to keep going with hope.

Verna Myers: How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward them

Verna Myers asks everyone to “acknowledge your biases” and engage with groups who make you uncomfortable.

Color blind or color brave? | Mellody Hobson

Hobson makes the case that speaking openly about race — and particularly about diversity in hiring — makes for better businesses and a better society.

The urgency of intersectionality

Kimberlé Crenshaw discusses the importance of recognizing being in the path of multiple forms of exclusion so that you can be and ally for victims of prejudice.

What it takes to be racially literate

Priya Vulchi and Winona Guo use statistics they’ve gathered to help everyone “understand, navigate and improve a world structured by racial division.”

Is My Skin Brown Because I Drank Chocolate Milk?

Psychologist and author of Why Are All the Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? Beverly Daniel Tatum shares her first experiences with discussing race with her child.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Discussing Race

Radio Host Jay Smooth asserts that "we are not good despite our imperfections," but rather "it is the connection that we maintain with our [personal and common] imperfections that allows us to be good."

We all have implicit biases. So what can we do about it?

Dushaw Hockett explains the importance of discussing implicit bias in order to reduce harm stemming from racial bias and to begin moving society forward.

Films

Check out TCCL staff recommended films on race and social justice.

Go to Race and Social Justice in Film

Local Support

Organizations

John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation

The John Hope Franklin Center is a local nonprofit that seeks to promote reconciliation and social harmony through community engagement. Donate online.

Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice

The Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice works to build respect and understanding in our community through education and meaningful dialogue. Donate or or become a member online. Contact 918-583-1361 or info@occjok.org.

 

Support Entrepreneurs

TulsaPeople's Black Business Guide

Find and support black-owned business in our community through Tulsa People's Black Business Guide. This list is updated periodically.

Resources for Parents, Caregivers & Educators

Websites

Anti-Defamation League

The Anti-Defamation League offers a variety of resources from lesson plans and booklists to conversational guides for parents and educators to discuss diversity, bias and social justice with youth.

EmbraceRace

EmbraceRace offers articles, webinars, action guides, children’s book lists and short audio pieces to help parents and educators “raise a generation of children who are thoughtful, informed and brave about race.”

Teaching Tolerance

Teaching Tolerance provides free resources for educators and practitioners working with children from kindergarten through high school, including lesson plans and professional development trainings.

Children's Books for Anti-Racist Activism

Check out TCCL staff recommended titles for kids on famous civil rights activists and stories about people of color. 

Go to "Children's Books for Anti-Racist Activism."

Library Statements on Racial Inequality

Oklahoma Library Association

The Oklahoma Library Association (OLA) stands in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and condemns racism and violence against Black people and all people of color. We stand with library workers, library users, and members of our community who are susceptible to acts of prejudice, threats of violence, and even death based solely on their race or ethnicity. The systemic racism in our nation, as well as individual prejudice, are barriers to social equity and are in opposition to our vision of enriching the lives of all Oklahomans.

As we marked the recent anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, we remember our state’s history of racism and violence and reflect on the continuing effects of oppression. It is with deep sorrow that we remember those who have suffered or lost their lives due to bigotry and abuses of power. We recognize also that we must acknowledge our own biases and the impact of our words and actions. It is only through confronting our discomfort and holding ourselves accountable that we can begin to create meaningful change.

OLA urges its members to actively oppose systemic social injustices against Black people and people of color. We encourage libraries and library staff to promote equity in our state—with diverse programming and collections, inclusive hiring and workplace practices, and using our voices as leaders in our communities. OLA recently voted to create the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Intellectual Freedom Round Table which will support these efforts now and continually. We call on library and information services leaders, staff, and advocates to abolish racism in all its forms and stand together to support those who need it the most.

Read this statement on the Oklahoma Library Association's website

American Library Association Black Caucus

Statement Condemning Increased Violence and Racism Towards Black Americans and People of Color [NEW YORK, NY, May 28, 2020]

The Black Caucus of The American Library Association has a history of not only opposing racist acts against Black people, but condemning such acts. BCALA roundly condemns the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers within the Minneapolis Police Department. Since George Floyd is the latest in a long line of recent and historical violence against Black people in the United States, the BCALA takes this moment to encourage BCALA members to take proactive and preventative measures in the fight against racism. To take action against injustice, BCALA encourages its members to use both the methods employed by our predecessors and those unique to the 21st century:

  • Calling politicians in the Minnesota area.
  • Participating in active, but peaceful protests on the streets.
  • Using vlogs, blogs and other social media platforms. Initiating letter writing campaigns.
  • Creating podcasts.
  • Voting (both locally and nationwide).
  • Attending policy making meetings in your area to make your opinions known.
  • Running for office to be a voice for historically disenfranchised groups and librarians.

BCALA stands firm in its condemnation of the systematic social injustices of Black people and People of Color. It is necessary for the membership to be proactive not only when someone in our community is harmed, but preventative in anticipating historically sanctioned violence by participating in local efforts to counter racism and violence against Black men and women. The systemic machinery of racism does not sleep and neither should we in our efforts to counter it.

Respectfully submitted,

The Officers and Members of The Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

Read this statement on the ALA Black Caucus' website

American Library Association

CHICAGO — The Executive Board of the American Library Association (ALA) stands with the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) in condemning violence and racism towards Black people and all People of Color. The ALA Executive Board endorses BCALA’s May 28 statement, in which the caucus decries the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police Department officers and cites Floyd’s death as “the latest in a long line of recent and historical violence against Black people in the United States.” The ALA Executive Board stands in solidarity with BCALA, with library workers, with library users, and with members of the communities we serve and support who are susceptible to acts of prejudice, threats of violence, and even death based solely on their race or ethnicity. The pervasive racism present in our nation denies its residents equal rights and equal access and as such is a barrier to the goals of this association and to the wider profession. Wherever it resides, racism leads to degradation. It weakens our institutions and destroys our communities and is one of the greatest obstacles to the American Library Association’s mission “to enhance learning and ensure access to information to all.” Diversity is one of ALA’s key commitments and guiding principles. For this reason, the Executive Board calls on library and information services leaders, staff, and advocates of all races and backgrounds to abolish racism against Black people and against all People of Color and to see to it that it has no place in our institutions, our policies, our practices, or our behaviors. Just as the BCALA statement urged its members to take “proactive and preventative measures in the fight against racism” such as participating in protest and other forms of activism, promoting and creating anti-racist media content, becoming actively engaged in local policy development, exercising the right to vote, or “running for office to be a voice for historically disenfranchised groups,” the ALA Executive Board similarly calls on the entire association to work against racial bias and prejudice actively and intentionally through one or more of these means. The Executive Board therefore urges ALA members and member organizations, members of the wider LIS community, and library institutions everywhere to join it and BCALA in condemning the systemic and systematic social injustices endured by Black people and People of Color and in working not only responsively, but also preemptively, to eradicate racism anywhere and everywhere it exists.

Read this statement on the American Library Association's website

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