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Transnational Racism

Selected resources for learning more about racism in all its forms around the world.

In addition to suggesting books for the W&M Libraries' Anti-Racist Bookshelf, the staff of the Reves Center have suggested some other resources for education and information that specifically address racism as a transnational phenomenon. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list, but rather a starting point for better understanding of the issues, systems and people involved. If you have other suggestions, please send them to [[international,the Reves Center Diversity Committee]].

Books
list of books
Americanah
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.
The Americans are Coming!: Dreams of African American Liberation in Segregationist South Africa

Author: Robert Trent Vinson
For more than half a century before World War II, black South Africans and “American Negroes”—a group that included African Americans and black West Indians—established close institutional and personal relationships that laid the necessary groundwork for the successful South African and American antiapartheid movements.  Many African Americans, regarded initially by the South African government as “honorary whites” exempt from segregation, also saw their activities in South Africa as a divinely ordained mission to establish “Africa for Africans,” liberated from European empires. The Jamaican-born Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association, the largest black-led movement with two million members and supporters in forty-three countries at its height in the early 1920s, was the most anticipated source of liberation. Though these liberation prophecies went unfulfilled, black South Africans continued to view African Americans as inspirational models and as critical partners in the global antiapartheid struggle. The Americans Are Coming! is a rare case study that places African history and American history in a global context and centers Africa in African Diaspora studies.

Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza

Author: Gloria Anzaldúa 

 Anzaldúa, a Chicana native of Texas, explores in prose and poetry the murky, precarious existence of those living on the frontier between cultures and languages. Writing in a lyrical mixture of Spanish and English that is her unique heritage, she meditates on the condition of Chicanos in Anglo culture, women in Hispanic culture, and lesbians in the straight world. Anzaldua is a rebellious and willful talent who recognizes that life on the border, “life in the shadows,” is vital territory for both literature and civilization. She has produced a powerful document that belongs in all collection of books about racism with emphasis on Hispanic American or feminist issues.

Born a Crime

Author: Trevor Noah
Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Kaffir Boy: An Autobiography--The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa

Author: Mark Mathabane
Mark Mathabane was weaned on devastating poverty and schooled in the cruel streets of South Africa's most desperate ghetto, where bloody gang wars and midnight police raids were his rites of passage. Like every other child born in the hopelessness of apartheid, he learned to measure his life in days, not years. Yet Mark Mathabane, armed only with the courage of his family and a hard-won education, raised himself up from the squalor and humiliation to win a scholarship to an American university. This extraordinary memoir of life under apartheid is a triumph of the human spirit over hatred and unspeakable degradation. For Mark Mathabane did what no physically and psychologically battered "Kaffir" from the rat-infested alleys of Alexandra was supposed to do -- he escaped to tell about it.

Long Walk to Freedom

Author: Nelson Mandela
Since his triumphant release in 1990 from more than a quarter-century of imprisonment, Nelson Mandela has been at the center of the most compelling and inspiring political drama in the world. As president of the African National Congress and head of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, he was instrumental in moving the nation toward multiracial government and majority rule. He is revered everywhere as a vital force in the fight for human rights and racial equality.

Mountains Beyond Mountains

Author: Tracy Kidder
Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World is a non-fiction, biographical work by American writer Tracy Kidder. The book traces the life of physician and anthropologist Paul Farmer with particular focus on his work fighting tuberculosis in Haiti, Peru and Russia.

Night

Author: Elie Wiesel
Born in the town of Sighet, Transylvania, Elie Wiesel was a teenager when he and his family were taken from their home in 1944 to Auschwitz concentration camp, and then to Buchenwald. Night is the terrifying record of Elie Wiesel’s memories of the death of his family, the death of his own innocence, and his despair as a deeply observant Jew confronting the absolute evil of man. This new translation by his wife and most frequent translator, Marion Wiesel, corrects important details and presents the most accurate rendering in English of Elie Wiesel’s testimony to what happened in the camps and of his unforgettable message that this horror must simply never be allowed to happen again.

Obstruction of Justice: The Search for Truth on Canada's Highway of Tears

Author: Ray Michalko

"The Highway of Tears" is a lonely seven hundred kilometer stretch of road that winds through the Coast Mountains wilderness of British Columbia. Over the last four decades nine young women have been murdered or gone missing from this remote highway. All but one were Aboriginal. To date not one case has been solved.

Fueled by frustration with the police's inability to solve any of these crimes, inspired by the belief that someone somewhere knew something, and driven by his inexplicable personal commitment, ex-RCMP turned private eye Ray Michalko embarked on a life altering journey to unlock the secrets of these cases and, in the process, discovered as much about the crimes as he did the reasons they've gone unsolved.

Podcasts
list of TED Talks
Missing and Murdered: Finding Cleo

Where is Cleo? It’s a mystery her family has been trying to unravel for decades after the young Cree girl was apprehended by child welfare workers in Saskatchewan in the 1970’s. Her siblings say she was stolen, and then raped and murdered while trying to hitchhike back home, her body left at the side of the road somewhere in the United States. They have no idea where she is, whether her name was changed, or if anyone has been charged in her murder. Listen to podcast

Rough Translation: The Global Legacy of George Floyd

The killing of a Black man at the hands of police is not a new headline in the United States. But never in this generation has such a death catalyzed so strong a response both in and outside the US. From Syria to New Zealand, Kenya to the Netherlands, protesters are taking to the streets and social media in solidarity. They are speaking out against not just the killing of Black Americans by police in the United States, but also the racism and oppression they see where they live. Listen to podcast

TED Talks
list of podcasts
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The danger of a single story
Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding. Watch TED Talk
Kimberle Crenshaw: The Urgency of Intersectionality
Now more than ever, it's important to look boldly at the reality of race and gender bias -- and understand how the two can combine to create even more harm. Kimberlé Crenshaw uses the term "intersectionality" to describe this phenomenon; as she says, if you're standing in the path of multiple forms of exclusion, you're likely to get hit by both. In this moving talk, she calls on us to bear witness to this reality and speak up for victims of prejudice. Watch TED Talk
Priya Vulchi and Winona Guo: What it takes to be racially literate

Priya Vulchi and Winona Guo traveled to all 50 US states, collecting personal stories about race and intersectionality. Now they're on a mission to equip every American with the tools to understand, navigate and improve a world structured by racial division. In a dynamic talk, Vulchi and Guo pair the personal stories they've collected with research and statistics to reveal two fundamental gaps in our racial literacy -- and how we can overcome them. Watch TED Talk

Bryan Stevenson: We need to talk about injustice
In an engaging and personal talk -- with cameo appearances from his grandmother and Rosa Parks -- human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson shares some hard truths about America's justice system, starting with a massive imbalance along racial lines: a third of the country's black male population has been incarcerated at some point in their lives. Watch Ted Talk