Anti-Racist Leadership

Our Commitment

The Office of Student Activities (OSA) is committed to fostering an equitable, inclusive, and accepting environment for all students. We recognize and affirm the experiences of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) students involving racial bias and discrimination on our campus and in our community and firmly believe that equity, inclusion, and anti-racism is central to the mission of our office. As a predominantly White institution, we believe it is necessary to commit to ongoing learning, growth, and action to challenge and dismantle systemic racism and White supremacy on our campus. 

Breaking down “leadership”

As an office dedicated to supporting and developing student leaders, we find it critical to acknowledge that our common, conventional understanding of leadership is rooted in dominance, whiteness, and patriarchy. If we understand “leadership” solely through a Euro- and U.S. centric lens, we root our work and engagement in a hierarchical, mechanical, title-driven structure, effectively erasing the community-based, humanistic possibilities within a critically-conscious leadership approach.

As such, we believe all students and student leaders must actively work to become anti-racist leaders by educating themselves and reflecting on privilege, White supremacy in leadership, and the historical and continued oppression of BIPOC in the United States. We, too, have work to do in this realm and plan to cultivate opportunities for our community to come together in critical dialogue around leadership in the future.

Anti-racism learning and unlearning resources

In the work to strive to be anti-racist, it is on us to seek out our own education. Below you will find various films, books, articles, short videos, and more that are resources that our OSA team has found meaning in. While most resources on this page are free, some may involve a separate cost. Many of these resources that are books and films can be found at the St. Olaf Library, Northfield Library, and in the PAC library located in the OSA. The resources are very roughly grouped by themes and category but many intersect with a multitude of issues.

This is certainly not an all-encompassing list. If you have any questions, want to discuss these resources, or have ideas for resources that could be added, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the OSA staff as we all collectively have learning and unlearning to do.

-> STARTING POINTS

Are you new to anti-racism and want to learn more?  Here are some great introductory resources to help build foundational knowledge.

Movies
“The Hate U Give” – George Tillman, Jr. (20th Century Fox)
“Selma” – Ava DuVernay (Paramount)

Articles, short guides, and toolkits
Showing Up For Racial Justice’s Educational Toolkits
The Anti-Racism Starter Kit
White Ally Toolkit
Campus Toolkit for Combatting Racism
“White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” – Peggy McIntosh

Books
How to Be an Antiracist – Ibram X. Kendi
Race on Campus: Debunking Myths with Data – Julie Park
So You Want to Talk About Race – Ijeoma Oluo
Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor – Layla Saad

Short videos
A Conversation on Race [Video Series] (New York Times)
The History of “Sundown Towns” – This Day Forward, MSNBC, reported by Melissa Harris-Perry

-> ON SYSTEMS OF OPPRESSION

Racism and oppression has deep roots in our society, these resources focus on the ways these are baked into the roots of every part of our lives.

Short videos
Systemic Racism Explained – act.tv (Youtube)
Let’s Get to the Root of Racial Injustice – Megan Ming Francis (TED Talk)
Black Feminism & the Movement for Black Lives: Barbara Smith, Reina Gossett, Charlene Carruthers [Creating Change Conference Recording] (YouTube)

Articles, Essays, Etc
”Maintaining Professionalism In the Age of Black Death Is…A Lot” – Shenequa Golding (Medium)
Racist Origins of U.S. Policing – Julian Go (Foreign Affairs)

Films
Slavery by Another Name, Samuel D. Pollard (PBS)
“When They See Us” – Ava DuVernay (Netflix)

Books
Hood Feminism: Stories from Women a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall

-> HEAR PEOPLE’S STORIES

One of the strongest ways to learn about somebody’s life is to hear their story, here are a collection of such stories.

“Say It Loud” Playlist – various storytellers from The Moth, a storytelling show of personal experiences (Podcast)
“We Do Belong Here”: Father Teaches Daughter To Have Black Pride – Erin Haggerty and George Barlow on Storycorps, a short form storytelling show on NPR (Radio show)
When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir – Patrisse Khan-Cullors & Asha Bandele (Book)
The Autobiography of Malcolm X – Malcolm X and Alex Haley (Book)
Notes from a Young Black Chef  – Kwame Onwuache (Book)
March and Run  – John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell (Graphic Novel Series)

-> MINNESOTA-SPECIFIC RESOURCES

Minnesota is no stranger to racial inequity and ranks consistently amongst other states in the nation as low on metrics of racial equity.

“A Good Time For The Truth: Race in Minnesota” – Edited by Sun Yung Shin (Book)
Mapping Prejudice from the University of Minnesota, a history of racial covenants in the Twin Cities (Website)
How A Mother Protects Her Black Teenage Son From The World – NPR article on Minnesota House Representative Ruth Richardson and her family (Article)
Addressing Racism as a Public Health Crisis – Andrea Jenkins, Sida Ly-Xiong, and Michele Alan (Article)
Minneapolis Ranks Near The Bottom For Racial Equality – Greg Rosalsky (Article)

-> ON MASS INCARCERATION

The incarcerated population of the United States makes up a disproportionate amount of the world’s incarcerated population.  Prisons and jails are used as forms of oppression of Black and Brown people.

Short videos
Mass Incarceration, Visualized – Bruce Western, for The Atlantic (YouTube Video)
The Problem with the US Bail System – Camilo Ramirez (TED Talk)
The Human Stories Behind Mass Incarceration – Eve Abrams (TED Talk)

Books
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness – Michelle Alexander

Films
Thirteenth – Ava DuVernay, film on Netflix

-> ON BLACK JOY

Often conversations and resources surrounding anti-racism focus on the horror stories and huge issues, these resources help to celebrate Black Joy.

Why Black Joy Is Absolutely Necessary – Christy DeGallerie (Medium)
Black Joy, We Deserve It – Cody Charles (Medium)
Black Joy – Roya Marsh (YouTube)

-> ON THE APIDA EXPERIENCE

Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi American (APIDA) folks both belong at the table in conversations around anti-racism anti-blackness and experience harm by systemic oppression.