Lessons from "How to be an Anti-Racist," "The Maid's Daughter," and Netflix's "Grand Army"
By Linxuan Shu
In our evolving society, the fight against racism has taken on new dimensions. It is no longer sufficient to be passively "not racist." The books "How to be an Anti-Racist" by Ibram X. Kendi, and "The Maid's Daughter" by Mary Romero, and the Netflix series "Grand Army" provide valuable insights into the path of becoming antiracist. As we delve into the themes explored in these works, we find connections that deepen our understanding of racism, cultural assimilation, resilience, and the need for transformative action. Through this blog entry, we will explore the key themes and lessons derived from these thought-provoking works.
Early Education and Knowledge Creation
Kendi's reflection on racial puberty in "How to be an Anti-Racist" highlights the importance of early education and the creation of knowledge. Similarly, Olivia's experiences in "The Maid's Daughter" showcase the impact of upbringing and education on identity formation. Grand Army also emphasizes the power of education in shaping individuals' perspectives. These texts underline the significance of shared experiences and perspectives in challenging societal norms and fostering understanding.
Stereotypes and the Marginalized
Kendi's exploration of stereotypes in "How to be an Anti-Racist" resonates with the experiences of Olivia in "The Maid's Daughter" and the characters in "Grand Army." The societal stigmatization faced by marginalized communities perpetuates discrimination and inequality, leading to systemic biases. All three works call for the dismantling of these harmful stereotypes to foster a more equitable society.
Cultural Assimilation and Identity
Kendi's personal experience with cultural assimilation in "How to be an Anti-Racist" mirrors Olivia's journey in "The Maid's Daughter." Both authors highlight the need to celebrate and preserve cultural heritage without subscribing to a hierarchy of superiority. "Grand Army" also addresses the challenges of cultural assimilation and the impact it has on personal identity. Embracing cultural diversity promotes a more inclusive and antiracist society.
Resilience and Overcoming Adversity
"The Maid's Daughter" and "Grand Army" delve into the resilience and strength exhibited by marginalized individuals in the face of adversity. Olivia's story in "The Maid's Daughter" showcases her determination to embrace her authentic self despite societal expectations. The characters in "Grand Army," particularly Dominique, demonstrate resilience and agency in overcoming challenging circumstances. These narratives remind us of the importance of resilience in the pursuit of justice and equality.
Transformative Action and Policy Change
Kendi's belief in transformative action through antiracist policies in "How to be an Anti-Racist" aligns with the lessons from "Grand Army." Both emphasize the significance of challenging existing policies and structures that perpetuate inequality. They call for collective action, shared knowledge, and continuous dialogue to foster lasting change. The journey toward a just society requires ongoing efforts from individuals, communities, and institutions.
To conclude, the analysis of "How to be an Anti-Racist," "The Maid's Daughter," and "Grand Army" provides valuable insights into the complex nature of racism, cultural assimilation, resilience, and transformative action. By exploring the themes of early education, stereotypes, cultural assimilation, resilience, and policy change, we develop a more comprehensive understanding of systemic racism and its implications. These texts remind us that antiracism is an active and continuous process that requires critical self-reflection, education, and collective action. Let us embark on this journey together, creating a society where everyone is treated with dignity, respect, and equality.