Starter Resource List

The METCO Coordinating Committee (MCC) put together this list of resources we’ve found most helpful in starting our own education about race and racism. It is divided into three topic areas – Understanding the History of Race and Racism in America, Resources for Parents and Children, and Additional Resources for White People. We intend to send out an updated list every few months as new resources become available. If you find a resource you think everyone should know about, send it to Kristen Ferris and we will work to keep our list updated! At the end, we’ve also included a “list of lists” that pulls together a broader group of other resource lists you might find helpful. 

Understanding the History of Race and Racism in America

Our long read:

Kendi shares his own personal history with respect to racism as a way to explore and define racism across history and from many angles, including class, color, gender, behavior, ethnicity. He challenges thinking and behavior many of us would consider mainstream, and even anti-racist. This is very helpful reading for understanding the many ways in which racism can play out in our country today, the history behind that, and for acquiring at least one set of very good definitions for terms we all use in discussions about racism.

  • If you don’t have time for the book right now, here’s a great interview with Ibram X. Kendi.

Add to your daily listens:

  • 1619 Podcast. Podcast inspired by the Pulitzer Prize winning articles, traces the history of our country from the arrival of chattel slaves in 1619 to present day and how it influences our current economy, music industry, health care, and ideas about democracy.
  • NPR Code Switch Podcast. Code Switch is a multi-racial, multi-generational team of NPR journalists who cover race and identity. A great place to go for a weekly dose of thoughtful, current discussions about race in the United States. 

Save for movie night:

  • 13TH. A movie that explores the intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the United States. 

Quicker reads/watches/listens

Resources for Children and Parents

Resources to help parents talk with their children about race:

  • An example of a talk with children about race done very well: an Open letter read from a black head of school to her students of different races after the killing of George Floyd.
    • Parenting for Liberation: Parenting for Liberation is a virtual community that connects, inspires, and uplifts Black folks as they navigate and negotiate raising Black children within the social and political context of the US
    • LatinX Parenting: Latinx Parenting is a bilingual organization rooted in children’s rights, social and racial justice and antiracism, the individual and collective practice of nonviolence and reparenting, intergenerational and ancestral healing, cultural sustenance, and the active decolonization of oppressive practices in our families. This website includes book recommendations, podcasts, a blog and other resources.

A few books for children of all ages:

Pre-K, K, 1 & 2

  • Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly. Based on the New York Times bestselling book and the Academy Award–nominated movie, author Margot Lee Shetterly and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award winner Laura Freeman bring the incredibly inspiring true story of four black women who helped NASA launch men into space to picture book readers.
  • Black is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy. Joy’s rhythmic verses and Holmes’s vivid artwork combine to offer a celebration of Black American culture and history that connects current movements for social justice to past Civil Rights movements, offering context and continuity between generations.

Grades 3-5

  • Hammering for Freedom by Rita Lorraine Hubbard. A little-known historical story that is all the more impactful because it is true. Born into slavery in Chattanooga, Tennessee, William “Bill” Lewis learned the blacksmith trade as soon as he was old enough to grip a hammer. He proved to be an exceptional blacksmith and earned so much money fixing old tools and creating new ones that he was allowed to keep a little money for himself. With just a few coins in his pocket, Bill set a daring plan in motion: he was determined to free his family.
  • Trombone Shorty by Troy Andrews. Winner of both a Caldecott Honor and a Coretta Scott King Award, this beautiful picture book for older kids is an inspirational look at overcoming our circumstances to follow our dreams, in this case that of a young musician in New Orleans.

Middle School/ High School

  • The Seeds of America Trilogy: Chains;Forge;Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson. Parents need to know that this trilogy holds no punches and depicts a real view into the harsh reality of wartime and slavery.

Chains: Powerful depiction of slavery in 1776 New York.

Forge: Brutal yet educational depiction of slavery and wartime

Ashes: Exciting, hopeful end to Revolutionary War saga

  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You by  Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds. Book for kids/teens about racism and the history of the country, written in a very accessible and engaging way. From the author of How to be an Antiracist.

Other good children’s booklists

Additional Resources for White People: Understanding White Fragility, and Becoming an Ally

Our longer read:

  • Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor, by Layla Saad. If you want one deep and comprehensive educational experience to challenge and reflect on your own biases and consider how you can take action, this is a great book to start with. It is structured as 28 days of short reads on topics such as White Privilege, White Supremacy, and tone policing, followed by a set of reflective journaling prompts. It pulls together the work of many other writers in its short essays for each day, including many of those mentioned in other places here.  

Add to your daily listens: 

  • Nice White Parents: This is a newly released podcast exploring the relationship between “nice white parents” (who ideologically support ideas like racial justice and integration) and schooling. It’s a great listen, especially for white people, to continue to raise our awareness and effectiveness of how to be effective advocates for justice as it relates to schools. 

Quicker reads/watches/listens:

  • Podcast on White Fragility. This podcast with Robin DiAngelo quickly explains why white people have a hard time talking about race and how we might begin to approach racism in a more constructive way. Many of the white members of the MCC have found DiAngelo’s resources compelling and helpful, especially in guarding against our own defensiveness and silence on topics surrounding race. But be aware there is some criticism out there as well:
  • Unpacking the Invisible Backpack- Peggy MacIntosh . One of the most often cited works describing White Privilege, this short essay lists 50 daily effects of white privilege that the author has observed. Though it was published in 1988, it’s concrete and helpful in teaching those who have white privilege to be able to observe it more deliberately.
  •  Don’t Be A Savior, Be An Ally. This is a quick watch, a short TedTalk discussing the difference between being an ally and being a savior, and the importance of allyship.
  • As Mayor of Minneapolis, I saw how White Liberals Block Change. Former Minneapolis mayor reflects on how she saw White Liberals block change and how we can do better.    

A List of Lists! If you want more reading/viewing/listening, here’s a list of various resource lists that we’ve come across in the last several months. 

Educational resources to support anti-racist practices (provided by Kathy Lopes in the session she facilitated for parents in June) 

Lincoln Family Association resource list 

Anti-racism resources for white people 

NPR Code Switch List of Books, Films and Podcasts about Racism

A Letter to Take Action for Equality

Black Lives Matter Instructional Library, a library of children’s books, complete with read alouds. 

PBS Learning Media Resources to Support Discourse

Parent Toolkit, Talking to Kids about Race and Racism

Parade Magazine, the Anti-racist Starter Pack

29 Movies, Shows and Documentaries to Watch to Education Yourself on Racial Justice

Learn about Opportunity Hoarding

Rose Levine, a 5th grade teacher in Cambridge, MA, wrote an article this summer sharing her perspective on reopening schools. In it, she included a discussion on the ways that schooling during COVID-19 was creating more ways than ever for those with the most privilege – often white, and/or affluent families – to engage in the hoarding of resources and opportunities for our own children. The MCC met subsequently to discuss how this kind of opportunity hoarding might play out in our community, and what steps more privileged members can take to share instead of hoard the opportunities available to us. This document shares our list of actions. We share it not in the spirit of proposing a checklist by which to judge ourselves, but rather to begin an ongoing conversation in our families, and among our friends. We welcome your feedback and additions – please send to  [MCC email address].

Use the power of your voice for equity by advocating for all children, not just your own child/children:

  • When you are asked for input, use this as an opportunity to amplify voices not typically heard from or with less power in the system.
  • When you are advocating for something for your child, first ask – does this support or work against equity? Am I closing the gap between those with more and less privilege or widening it? Your voice matters and has consequences.
  • Educate yourself about how inequities tend to play out in our schools and ask the school system about what’s happening in Lincoln. Do we know our opportunity gap? Rates of exclusionary discipline by race? 
  • Do not demand extra attention or accommodations for your child if others without that voice cannot have access to the same.
  • Think broadly when making requests or offering help: beyond just my child, how can I help the class? The grade? The school? The district?

Work to build genuine, inclusive relationships with other parents, caregivers, and families. Check in with one another and share resources.

  • Organize inclusive WhatsApp, Email, Text parent groups to share communications broadly with your cohort or grade rather than sharing in small and homogeneous groups.
  • Offer to organize an inclusive cohort parent meeting to help the parents in your cohort get to know one another. 

Through your actions, model for your kids the value of diversity, and help them to build diverse relationships in their lives.

  • Do not form study groups or “learning pods” exclusively made up of kids from privileged backgrounds. 
  • Actively maintain social connections with students who are learning in other models or cohorts this year.
  • Reach out to organize play-dates that help your child build and maintain relationships across differences; don’t limit your child’s circle to the parents you know well and feel comfortable with.

Share resources that you have access to more broadly (note: it’s important when sharing resources to be aware of our biases and not make assumptions about who might need certain resources; rather, make an effort to offer resources in ways that make them available to all)

  • Getting a tutor to support remote learning?  Invite other families in your students’ cohort to join you while you cover the cost.
  • Have extra supplies (masks? sanitizer?) or technology? Offer them to your cohort or to the school.
  • Offer to walk, drive, or bike to school with other families/children who might have less flexibility in work schedule. Rather than making assumptions, do your homework through inclusive relationships and check-ins to know who needs help!

When you see inequity, invest in the system to eliminate it vs. relying on your own personal efforts (donations, etc.) to put on a bandaid.

  • Have you found a particular extra resource helpful or necessary in supporting your child’s learning at home? Work with the school to see if access can be provided for all students.

Consider stepping back from opportunities that your kids already have through other avenues when there are limited spots.

  • Is there a new music program with limited spots and your child has access to private lessons? A math club and your child is enrolled in Russian math? Consider waiting to enroll until other families who might not have these outside opportunities have the chance to do so.

Build your own awareness by educating yourself about your own privilege, and the experience of those who are a part of a group that has been historically oppressed. 

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