Paul Kivel's Newsletter 
Resources for Racial Justice

A Note from Paul                                 Winter 2019
Dear People, 

This newsletter provides relevant resources related to some of the salient issues of the end of 2018: the climate report from the U.N. and our state of environmental degradation; the immigration/refugee crisis at the US/Mexican border and throughout the country; and the devastating effects of Christian dominance in enacting and justifying exploitation and violence. My goal is to help furnish a sense of hope and direction by providing access to books, videos, and organizations doing effective social justice work so you can join with others to work on these issues. For articles and other resources on anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish oppression see my Spring 2018 newsletter. For resources on men and sexism see the Fall 2017 newsletter, and for resources on environmental justice, anti-Muslim oppression, and racial justice see the Spring 2017 newsletter.

As always, your efforts to increase visibility of these resources are greatly appreciated. Let me know if you have ideas about how to disseminate the information, and please spread the word.
In This Issue

Climate Crisis
At this point we know that given what we are currently doing to the planet and life on it we face (and many are already experiencing) massive displacement, upheaval and violence from global climate change. The IPCC report states that we have around 12 years - until 2030 - to make drastic changes in our societies so that the damage is mitigated as much as possible and doesn't pass a "cannot return" point leading to truly massive and widespread destruction of life on the earth. I think we each need to take stock of how we are (or are not yet) working collectively with others to stem this tide of destruction. How are we addressing the driving forces of climate change including capitalism, western imperialism, white supremacy, patriarchy, and a dominant Christian worldview which holds that humans were given dominion over nature and that the earth and life on it is not inherently sacred.

Panic, overwhelm, and apocalyptic thinking are counterproductive. Beyond self-reflection and examination of our personal choices and behavior, now is a time for commitment and sustained action, joining the efforts of so many of the young people who are already on the front lines of the struggle. 

Find a Local Organization Doing Climate Work
There are many approaches to thinking about and reacting to the impacts of severe climate change. Though we all need to know more about how climate change is happening and what its impact is, our more important task is to get together with others to do the prevention, mitigation and adaptation work required in this historical moment. These resources are a good place to dig deeper into the issues and to find an organization (or start one of your own) which has a vision, intersectional analysis, and effective strategies for mobilizing people and shifting power.

Grist is a good resource for climate news and information.

Related Articles, Books, and Curricula 

Naomi Klein's This Changes Everything

(this link brings you to the .pdf version of the full book, for free!)


Migration Crisis
Immigration is a racial issue. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials do not stop and interrogate white people or conduct raids to stem the flow of large numbers of illegal Canadian, British and eastern European immigrants. There are not hundreds of miles of barbed wire fencing between Canada and the US. And vigilante groups do not patrol that border.
Obviously, it has been to the advantage of Canada, the United States, New Zealand and Australia to welcome the presence and contributions of new immigrants. But not all immigrants and not all the time. Recent immigrants have always been both feared and disdained by older residents. And immigrants of color, during the short periods when they were allowed to enter these countries, have always been treated differently than lighter skinned arrivals.
Throughout most of US history the immigration of Asians, Africans (except those enslaved), South and Central Americans and people from the Middle East has been restricted if not totally forbidden. Citizenship and therefore voting rights was explicitly limited to being white. Not all Europeans were welcomed either, and many returned to their countries of origin because of the harsh treatment they received. But over the last 400 years, there has been almost continuous opportunity for white Europeans to arrive and settle in the US, find jobs, establish families and build communities.
Many of us in the West like to think of our countries as magnets for immigration because of the opportunity to be found here. Many of us believe that our countries are the most civilized in the world, with coveted resources that everyone else is desperate to gain access to. This misperception has allowed us to construct a fantasy about alien invasion - hordes of people massed at our borders, frantically trying to sneak across only to overrun our communities, take our jobs and use up our social services. To complement this image we have constructed metaphors of immigrants as carriers of disease, infection, vermin - or simply as invaders. This is a story we tell ourselves but it is not accurate.

Please click here to read the full article.  

Related Articles, Videos, & Curricula
"Migration is a Form of Fighting Back" - by David Bacon in People's World

How U.S. Involvement In Central America Led To a Border Crisis| AJ+
How U.S. Involvement In Central America Led To a Border Crisis| AJ+

Rethinking Schools' The Line Between Us 

Questions & Actions: Recent Immigrants
1. Were your foreparents legal immigrants to the US when people of color were excluded? 

2. In what ways do you benefit from the work of immigrants (including those who are undocumented) for clothes, meat, vegetables, fruit, electronic goods and other household items? 

3. In what ways do you benefit from the work of immigrants for services such as domestic work, gardening, childcare, elder care, nursing, transportation (taxi, bus and van services), hotel room services and restaurant work? 

4. What are the largest communities of recent immigrants in your area? What challenges are they facing? What kind of marginalization or exclusion? 

5. How can you get to know and support those communities? 

6. How can you challenge those who argue that immigrants are dangerous to our communities and deserve to be racially profiled, criminalized and punished? 

7. In what ways can you support just, non-racist immigration reform?

Immigrant Advocacy Organizations

We're All Under Attack: Looking at Christian Dominance
Sometimes these days it seems like just about everybody is under attack. That only rich white heterosexual, able-bodied men have any kind of security. If that seems true to you perhaps it is because it is true. In fact, this is the same white male Christian property-owning ruling class that established our country in the late eighteenth century. Even earlier this small segment of the European population set up the capitalist structure and dominant Christian worldview that determined that only they had legitimacy in God's eyes and the authority to rule over all others. I want to look specifically at the dominant Christian part of this history because it helps to explain so much of what is going on today.

Within a Christian framework we have witnessed 1700 years of crusades against "evil" non-Christians, those branded as primitives, savages or terrorists, with results most currently manifesting in the US's participation in attacks on 7 Muslim countries and large-scale state-sanctioned violence against people of color, immigrants, women, people who are queer and trans, Jews, Muslims and people with disabilities. Within this framework all those labeled Other have been marginalized and are vulnerable to violence...
Please click here to read the full article.  

Highlights: Books
  1. Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good by adrienne maree brown and Favianna Rodriguez
  2. Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure by Eli Clare
  3. The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love by Sonya Renee Taylor
  4. Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Recent Interviews

Highlights: Film
ROMA | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix
Blindspotting (2018 Movie) Official Trailer - Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal

RomaA year in the life of a middle-class family's maid in Mexico City in the early 1970s. Available on Netflix. 

If Beale Street Could Talk: Based on the novel by James Baldwin, a  woman in Harlem embraces her pregnancy while she and her family struggle to prove her fiancĂ© innocent of a crime.

BlacKkKlansmanRon Stallworth, an African American police officer from Colorado Springs, CO, successfully manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan branch with the help of a Jewish surrogate who eventually becomes its leader. Based on actual events.

Blindspotting : The story of two best friends, one black and one white, set in Oakland. 
Explores racism, class, gentrification, police brutality and the criminal legal system.   

Paul & Family