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Anti-Racism Book Club in Brainerd


I think that there's a lot of things that show up....it's learning not only in the larger scope of how our world and society function, but also the little things...micro aggressions and things like that that come along that have just been a part of the way that many of us were raised...the impact that it has on people...and how that's gone on to impact things as they are today. - Erin Wilmot, Brainerd Anti-Racism Book Club


What started as something called the "Brainerd Lakes Area Anti-Racism Conversations" morphed into an anti-racism book club in the Brainerd area that has its members taking a deep dive into racism and its history in the United States and beyond.  Club members Lowell Johnson and Erin Wilmot joined the morning show to discuss how the books they've studied so far have impacted their lives and they also shared how this unique book club is designed for safe vulnerability and intimate conversations.  It's all come to be in response to the killing of George Floyd.   Over the course of one year, members have realized there is much about race and race relations they were not taught in school.   

Many people do not do not know that race is a socially constructed concept. There is no biological basis to race as we deal with it. And the concept of race was invented by rich European men who wanted to become wealthier. So they figured out that if they could get African peoples to come to America by force and be slaves and do all the manual labor, they would get richer... and it worked.  So that's the basis of why we had slavery and why historical trauma of African-Americans has continued...one of the other of the many stimulating thoughts, this is from Resmaa Menakem's book, My Grandmother's Hands... he talks about the concept of racialized trauma-that trauma is stored in our bodies and we inherit it from our our  ancestors, basically, starting with our parents, going back through all the grands...this opened my eyes to the idea that our European ancestors, when they lived in Europe, they were traumatized, brutality to other people was part of normal life, so they came over as victims of trauma... And as the slave masters set up the idea of black people being inferior, they could identify with that...if they could look down on somebody else, that made them feel better. And interestingly, the concept of who was white has changed over the years...At one point when Germans came, Germans were not white people. When Italians came, Italians were not white people. When the Irish came, they were not white people.  So, who's in and who's out has changed over the years in our history...and then [Menaken] also goes on to talk about the trauma experiences of the people who are in the police force as well...a multifaceted approach in that as well. - Lowell Johnson - Brainerd Anti-Racism Book Club

Click on the link for the full interview! 

Books the group has read so far are: 

So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo

White Fragility by Robin Diangelo

My Grandmother's Hands by Resmaa Menakem

Caste by Isabel Wilkerson