Pagans & Politics: The Power of Pagan Activism

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Resources for anti-racism work

This is the final in my series on racism in Paganism. It is devoted to resources we can use to educate and challenge ourselves with the long-term results of having a multiracial Pagan movement where all feel welcome.



Black Lives Matter


Monroe County Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)


While this is a Bloomington, IN-area group, it posts one or two articles a day on becoming anti-racist. Many of the resources below came from this page.


Examples of white privilege


10 ways white liberals perpetuate racism


Why racist politics appeal to white women


The “angry black woman”


Black women have never had the privilege of rage


What is white supremacy


Why “I’m not racist” is only half the story


Racism in medicine


Witnessing Whiteness blog


Decolonize your mind this Thanksgiving


How to raise less racist kids


Children’s stories by writers of color


10 books by Indigenous authors


How to talk to your mixed-race kids about race


How white parents are addressing racism — by reading to their children


How do I tell my darker-skinned son that the world isn’t as safe for him?


The heavy burden of teaching my son about American racism


7 books that teach kids about social justice and activism


Guide for selecting anti-bias children’s books


Fear of losing white privilege led to Trump’s election


Test your implicit biases


Four ways you might be displaying hidden bias in everyday life


A museum that makes white liberals see the horror of white supremacy


White people are noticing something new: Their own whiteness


Must-read race and culture books


What great allyship looks like


Bystander intervention


The racist history of banking


“Whites as minority”


When feminism is white supremacy in heels


Police militarization fails to protect officers and targets back communities, study finds


How two fathers charged with murder are covered by media


A resource guide for understanding white supremacy


Why POC need spaces without white people (also good for understanding need for womyn-only space, LGBT+ space, etc)



[Note: I keep a spreadsheet of all the books I read and in order to make things go faster I type in lowercase. Rather than laboriously go through and fix all of that, i’m leaving it lowercase for you. Also, I did not link the books to Amazon in the hpoes you will order them from your local bookseller. Buy local!]



Bringing Race to the Table: Exploring Racism in the Page Community

Blanton, Ellwood, Williams, eds.

The book that started it all. Somewhat surfacey but examines the role racism plays in contemporary Paganism. Essential reading for gatherings and events.


The Atlantic Presents: MLK

Spring 2018

Over twenty authors penning essays on different aspects of King and especially his beliefs and tactics. Also copies of key King sermons and writings, including the seminal "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." One essay showed the tension between the old-school civil rights movement and contemporary activists in the Black Lives Matter movement.

the negro

w.e.b. du bois

obviously dated so just read chapters on culture and american history and skimmed pts of others. too dated to be really useful, tho gave interesting things to consider. 


charleston syllabus: readings on race, racism, and racial violence

ed by williams and blain

looking for readings on white privilege. first third of book on us leading up to and thru civil war. most interesting parts were the many ways blacks resisted enslavement - thank u! then a big section on civil rts era, which i skimmed. best part was shortest and at the end, dealing w charleston and contemp issues. not so much abt white privilege but abt black experience. very pertinent. WISH there were more of this. 


the meaning of freedom: and other difficult dialogues

angela davis

some insightful stuff. i really like reading these cross-sectional views rather than silos of feminism vs black lives matter, etc. 


women, race, & class

angela davis

fantastic. learned SO much. love the intertwining of the three threads - this holistic approach is exactly how we should be thinking. i kept finding my knowledge of first-wave feminism challenged by the virulent disgusting racism of even such greats as stanton and anthony. my big blind spot is the reality of black women as workers from slavery on. they didn’t get the middle class lifestyle of jane addams etc. its so easy to overlook them. this really inspired me to stretch. i wish the book weren’t so dated. required reading for all the privileged. 


racism in america: cultural codes and color lines in the 21st century

leonard pitts

collection of essays on race from miami herald columnist. tons of essays but read it all in one day. lots of good stuff. some provocative. he’s a reasonable man so its easy to identify ur prejudices. however he’s so moderate it made me want to read malcolm x or some angry black persons writings so i can get that perspective too. not that id agree w it, i just want to try to understand. this is my fave book so far on racism in general but he only mentioned class a handful of times and gender maybe twice. 


they can’t kill us all: ferguson, baltimore, and a new era in americas racial justice movement

wesley lowery

good at giving me more context and insight into black peoples lives and endemic racism. smooth read, tho he has a totes irritating habit of injecting how he reported on this or that rather than letting people tell their own stories. really focused on ferguson w a middle chunk on baltimore and then lots of short bits on similar incidents. cant believe he barely touched on eric garner. but overall an insight into the last 3 years and how it all happened. 


this bridge called my back: writings by radical women of color

moraga & anzaldua, eds

good. i really started to understand the specifics of how white women treat women of color, like inviting them to JOIN our group so we can get their INPUT. the narrative still belongs to the whites. what was interesting was how non-radical this was to me. seemed perfectly mainstream, save for one CRAZY essay on how all women should choose to be lesbians because that’s the ultimate revolution against men and another one that droned on about women overthrowing imperialism. everybody referred to themselves as third world women, which i’d never heard before. i asked LC and he says its out of date but you sometimes hear anti-colonial. i learned. it was good. 


hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet

jamie ford

while i didn’t read the book, i did attend a talk and reading by the author and found his words to be provocative and evocative. sounds like a lovely way to learn about an asian american’s experience.


the fire this time: a new generation speaks about race

jesmyn ward, ed. 

really good. read it in a few hours. essays about slavery all the way up to aftermath of black lives matter. am starting to get a grasp of the suffocation many blacks feel in this racist society. i’m starting to get "walking while black." state violence. disappearance of black men. really learned a lot. 


waking up white and finding myself in the story of race

debbie irving

PERFECT. deep dive on personal journey thru received racism and how she’s grown beyond it. TONS of real-world examples that point to a larger issue. really thought-provoking and helpful. i still have a long way to go but i’m beginning to understand how my white culture affects poc and myself. not a scholarly tome with stats. very personal, downhome, very real. could really relate. tremendously helpful. 


yellow: race in america beyond black and white

frank wu

i tried. i really did. but didn’t even make it halfway. each chapter is thesis-exploration-policy-thesis. not an easy read and not what i’m looking for. very pointy headed. i wanted more first-person backed by statistics and history. something more immediate and from the heart. frequently found my mind wandering so sadly finally gave up. i’m going to read the atlas at the library, which is more of what i’m looking for. felt like i needed a phd to read this. bummer. 


indian voices: listening to native americans

alison owings

took a long time to read because there was so much to absorb. really was about listening. almost all quotes, stories. made me feel lonely for a tribe. she went easy on addictions and especially domestic violence. overall really got a feel for a cooperative way of living and seeing things. really good book. 


jailbreaking the goddess: a radical revisioning of feminist spirituality

lasara firefox allen

wow. amazing to find a pagan book that takes on intersectionality. connected w the fivefold goddess and will incorporate some elements in my work. especially in the second half i felt like she wasn’t specific enough about how to change our ways. general principles but mostly left it there. she also used “woman” instead of “womyn” and used latin for the names of the goddess; latin, the most patriarchal language on earth. i found a lot of little things to quibble with but am thrilled to see Pagans taking this on. 


a people's history of the united states

howard zinn

finally read it! it was always out at the library so i just bought it. gripping first chapter about euro conquest of the first nations, positively THRILLING chapter on early 20th c labor resistance, the rest interesting but he is certainly not a dramatist. very very focused on class. got the feeling he was sincere abt race but was not immersed in it and he frequently left out native peoples. lots abt women, esp early 20th c. later decades got more cursory looks, which was frustrating. very little on bush and nothing on cheney. by then focused on corporatism and military-industrial complex. very glad i read it, learned a lot, but man it was long and took the right kind of mood. and wish he hadn’ been so old so we could’ve gotten more intersectionality. 


the N word: who can say it, who shouldn’t, and why

jabari asim

pretty interesting but very narrowly focused on the one word


1621: a new look at thanksgiving 

catherine o'neill etc

collab of plimoth plantation and natl geographic. lots of info on the wampanoag. very interesting.


i know why the caged bird sings

maya angelou

sublime. beautifully written. unforgettable stories. what a childhood! very vivid. excellent insights into southern and californian racism. loved by her caretakers yet also neglected. left to be self sufficient. rich, rich writing. had to keep stopping to take it all in. learned a lot but more was riveted by the memoir. 


bone black: memories of girlhood 

bell hooks

great book, excellently written, poetry as prose. two and a half pages in a chapter on a different topic, mostly jumps but sometimes continuations of scenes. intersection of race, class, gender, sexuality. growing up poor black in the south. some sim themes to i know why the caged bird sings. def want to read something more by her. she really Gets It. told mostly from a child’s point of view. the theme of being pulled in so many directions from who you really are is familiar. quiet, evocative book. 


dear white people: letter to a new minority 

tim wise

absolutely packed with every counter argument and statistic to white privileged americans. written during the crash, before black lives matter, so it’s not totally current, but very, very useful.


invisible privilege: a memoir about race, class, and gender

paula rothenberg

published 2000 by college academic,. first third took your avg white privilege list and really drilled down well. but then most of the book was abt philosophers and the academy - boring and mostly irrelevant. last two chapters reverted to real life pretty well. the one thing i really liked was she said we talk abt tolerance and diversity rather than race and privilege. i skimmed and skipped a lot of this book. 


race relations

opposing viewpoints

publ 2011, so no BLM - more abt obama and recession  mostly liberal studies with occasional rightwing head whippers like spanish language websites treat latinx like second class citizens. a survey book with short chapters, it looks at race relations primarily from the 1990s to the first decade of 2000. good content for self-education, as opposing viewpoints are shared. 


we were eight years in power: an american tragedy

ta-nehisi coates

title is clickbait only one essay on obama. the rest is a collection of essays written for the atlantic centered primarily on the experiences of black men (there is very little about black women specifically, nothing about trans people etc). he writes about race, particularly black/white relations. he glides effortlessly between the origins of slavery, the civil war, jim crow, and some more recent history (though not much), at times too quickly for me to follow his argument. book includes his seminal article on reparations and a must-read essay on the incarceral state. good book for readers wanting a stereophonic view of american mainstream racism. for those who are already really familiar with the civil war and the civil rights movement, you can pick and choose essays. 


the nazi persecution of the gypsies

guenter lewy

took a lot of concentration because author was SO precise. really lost the big picture in the multitude of tiny data. but scary stories abt sterilization (chemical) and mengele medical experiments really got me. bottom line: 90% of gypsies killed but not persecuted like jews because himmler thought they had a connection to the aryan race. also scary anti-gypsy laws were older than the nazis, going back before and continued in weimar. sometimes tedious read. could only take in small bits. 


eloquent rage: a black feminist discovers her superpower 

brittney cooper

fantastic. total analysis of being both black and female, all in the framework of feminism. plenty of critiques of patriarchy, relationships, church, state. some statistics, lots of analysis, good stories, and wonderful glimpses of personal vulnerability. really made me think. learned a lot. 


when they call you a terrorist: a black lives matter memoir

patrisse khan-cullors and asha bandele

really good. largely a memoir, which puts a very human face on a black experience. towards the end it delves into the black lives matter movement, which is deeply inspiring. but the stories of police brutality are utterly horrifying and you can’t help but ask yourself why this state is allowed to exist. i wept and i gasped and i dreamt as i read this book. required reading for anyone who wants an introduction to what the black lives matter movement is demanding and why. 


the myth of equality: uncovering the roots of injustice and privilege 

ken wystma

first third almost as good as waking up white as it exposed the history of racism in this country. said racism as we understand it today didn’t come abt until the late 18th c. also talked redlining: A sections were those that “lacked a single foreigner or negro.” the rest of the book was all abt Christan stuff and tepid solutions to racism that made me think this guy’s got a long way to go. disappointed by ending but may have gotten more out of it if i were Christian. this is the second book on race i’ve read that was written by a pastor and they seem to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to convince people via the bible that racism exists and they should do something about it. white evangelicals have a long road ahead. 


how not to get shot: and other advice from white people

DL hughley

finally! a great book about racism that deals with recent issues! published 2018. very, very funny and sarcastic and then suddenly you realize how real this is, that black people are getting shot, primarily by the police. heavy use of swear words and the N word, which was uncomfortable, but a great book for understanding racism and the gaps between whites and blacks. 


big little man: in search of my asian self

alex tizon

excellent book extensively covering experiences of asian and asian american men (and some women), engaging with stereotypes and tracing them to their source and then examining how they manifest today. sort of a memoir, but this pulitzer-winning journalist keeps expanding the scope so you can see how his personal story fits in with asian men as a whole. fascinating book, very compelling read, great content. highly recommended.


white fragility: why it’s so hard for white people to talk abt racism 

robin diangelo

definitely read this after reading a lot of stuff by POC so you’re ready to be open to their points of view. very good book, gave lots of very deep, clear ways racism is embedded in society and how white people resist any challenge to their white comfort. many examples from corporate training and racism study circles, which is not surprising since because of racism we don’t have as many personal experiences to draw upon. very thought-provoking; very useful; gave me concrete ways to challenge my inherent white superiority.


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Cairril Adaire is a solitary Celtic Witch and lapsed Discordian. She is the founder of Our Freedom: A Coalition for Pagan Civil Rights. She is an entrepreneur and also a professional musician with the world music ensemble Kaia. She blogs at  


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