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Our Problem, Our Path

Our Problem, Our Path
Collective Antiracism for White People

August 2022 | 344 pages | Corwin

A healthy multiracial society could be ours

Building a healthy multiracial society is possible, but not without millions of White people seeing racism as our problem and choosing to walk an antiracist path. It will take us supporting and challenging one another on this journey to learn more about the realities of racism and what we can do about it. In Our Problem, Our Path, award-winning author Ali Michael and clinical psychologist Eleonora Bartoli invite White people to join them on an antiracist journey to learn to talk about race with one another in ways that lead to real change.

Drawing on decades of personal and professional experiences engaging in antiracism, the authors:

  • emphasize the need for White people to have honest, meaningful relationships not only with People of Color and Native people, but also with other White people, in order to change systems shaped by racism
  • provide strategies for parents and teachers to support White children to become contributing members of a healthy multiracial society
  • introduce trauma-informed tools from psychology that enable readers to understand and overcome their own resistance and fear around taking antiracist action
  • demonstrate how White people can take antiracist action today, exactly where they are and as they are

Grounded in an understanding of antiracism as a daily, lifelong practice, Our Problem, Our Path supports White people to help one another find the trailhead and start moving on the path toward a more just, equitable and loving multiracial society for all.

Publisher’s Acknowledgments
About the Authors
Part 1: Beginnings
About This Book
Ali’s Journey
Eleonora’s Journey
Part 2: Seeing Ourselves Clearly in the Here and Now
Chapter 1: Racism Is a White Person’s Problem
Internal Work: Antiracism in a Human Body
Chapter 2: Myths of White Supremacy
Internal Work: To Act, You Must Pause
Chapter 3: What White People Learn About Race
Internal Work: Antidotes to White Supremacist Priming
Chapter 4: Now We Know What Not to Say . . . What Do We Say?
Internal Work: Empathy Is Our Superpower
Chapter 5: Can White Antiracist People Feel Proud of Being White?
Internal Work: Don’t Get Stuck in Stereotype Threat
Chapter 6: Who Is White . . . and Why?
Internal Work: But It’s Not Fair!
Part 3: Who Will We Be as the Racial Hierarchy Falls?
Chapter 7: Taking Feedback and Using It Wisely
Internal Work: On Moral Injury and Racial Competence
Chapter 8: Talking to Other White People About Race
Internal Work: Healing Is Essential to Antiracist Practice
Chapter 9: Creating and Sustaining White Antiracist Learning Spaces
Internal Work: To Prepare for Antiracist Action, You Must Train for Courage
Chapter 10: Taking Action
Appendix A: Common Unproductive, Possibly Biased Behaviors of Some/Many White People That Perpetuate Racist Dynamics and Structural Racism
Appendix B: Examples of White Group-Level Behaviors/Privilege

"With compassion and humility, Michael and Bartoli offer a practical handbook for white antiracist awareness and practice. Filled with relatable examples and nuanced explanations, this is a step-by-step guide for responding to the obstacles - both internal and external - of unlearning our white socialization and challenging systemic racism. Our Problem, Our Path is a must-read for starting and maintaining the life-long process of white anti-racist practice."

Robin DiAngelo, Ph.D.
Author of White Fragility and Nice Racism

"If you’re a white person looking for a guide to transition you away from racial complacency and towards an antiracist practice, this is it. Our Problem, Our Path starts with something rarely articulated: What does the path look like and where might it lead us? This story-rich jewel promises to gather up white people and equip us with strategies that build the awareness, knowledge, and skill we need to find and support one another on the path to liberation for all."

Debby Irving
Author of Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race

"Our Problem, Our Path lays the groundwork for engaging in compelling and critically important conversations to understand how to enter productive, honest discussions and reimagine what is possible when discussing how we think and feel about race. This book will challenge and energize anyone who reads it and takes the journey to widen their path; it is visionary, practical, courageous, and invitational."

Peggy Brookins, President and CEO
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

“This book serves as a master class and recipe for what is practically needed to talk about and address racism in the world along with the mental and emotional steps needed to accomplish genuine change, one person, one family, one neighborhood and one community at a time. As a member of the global majority, as an African American, cisgender Black man with a clinical psychology doctorate degree, reading this book provided me with much needed and timely hope that someone understands us and that we have at least two allies on the inside. We have a least two superheroes mightily using their superpowers of empathy to educate, challenge, and awaken those willing to listen. Readers are provided well-outlined steps to break down hate and fight for a just and equitable world for us and for all of our children.”

Dr. Tim Barksdale, Senior Executive Director, Clinical Services
Merakey IDD Services

Our Problem, Our Path: Collective Antiracism for White People is a roadmap to intercept Whiteness and define key practices necessary to embody Anti-Racist leadership. As a Black woman leading efforts toward systematizing equity, I sought out the expertise of “Ms. Ali.” She humbly supports and models the unpacking of various complexities nestled with intersections in walking the path towards transformation. Although her work is framed for a White audience, through her discourse and facilitation I have witnessed People of Color and Indigenous folk grapple with the manifestations of their own internalized oppression. Dr. Michael’s work exemplifies that the study of self is one of the greatest tools in addressing racism.”

Myla Pope, Director
Office of Equity, Saint Paul Public Schools, St. Paul, Minnesota

“It is rare to find a book that places White people at the center of understanding their Whiteness. Our Problem, Our Path is exactly what it says: a path for White social justice activists to take if they honestly want to understand the impact of their Whiteness on themselves, on society, and on systems.  This will not be an easy read, but it is a must-read. Take the Path and start creating #GoodTrouble.” 

Dr. Eddie Moore Jr., Founder
The White Privilege Conference

“The hard work to ensure a more racially just American society cannot live solely in the work of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people alone. Many claim to be anti-racist, but too often gleefully swim in the most shallow of waters, ignoring the depth of work it takes to actually be anti-racist. Our Problem, Our Path is both a powerful roadmap and book that lights a path of action to create a society that is more consistently educationally and racially just. We all deserve nothing less.”

Sharif El-Mekki, CEO
Center for Black Educator Development

"Michael and Bartoli have written the book I’ve been waiting for, one for all the white people who know racism is wrong, who want to do the right thing, and who want their children to live in a better world.  Writing with clarity and from deep experience, the authors explain what antiracism means and how to do it without adopting the hectoring tone that can turn people away from this essential work. While James Baldwin correctly identified racism as a white people’s problem, Michael and Bartoli manage to frame it as a positive life mission that will benefit us all in the end. 

Above all, Our Problem, Our Path offers the wise guidance, with generous helpings of empathy and compassion, that white people need if we are to talk with one another about (and eventually eradicate)  the invisible caste system in which we all live."

Maureen Costello, Executive Director
Center for Antiracist Education, STAND for Children

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ISBN: 9781071851326