GSA Anti-Racism Resource Guide

The task of tackling systemic racism, both inside and outside of academia, is a daunting one. How can we, as individuals, change something so interwoven into the fabric of society?

The short answer is that we have to start somewhere: educate yourself, then take action. As individuals, we can do things—large and small—both to help dismantle systemic oppression and to create more welcoming, inclusive, and safe environments for our Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and other underrepresented peers to live and work in. We have to be actively anti-racist. Below we’ve compiled some resources for our members who are looking to educate themselves in being anti-racist and better allies to their underrepresented colleagues. This is by no means comprehensive, and we encourage you to take your time exploring and reflecting on these difficult topics. And remember—educating yourself is just the first step. Being anti-racist means acting on the information and perspective you gain to make meaningful change.


Starting out: Educating Yourself about Anti-Racism

(*Note: It’s important to prioritize reading books on anti-racism by Black authors)

Book: So You Want To Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo

Book: Me and White Supremacy, Layla F. Saad

Book: How to be an Anti-Racist, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

Book: White Rage, Dr. Carol Anderson

Book: Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race, Reni Eddo-Lodge (UK perspective)

Articles: Being Antiracist, from the National Museum of African-American History and Culture at the Smithsonian

Articles: Showing Up for Racial Justice—resources

Article: Who gets to be afraid in America?, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi (The Atlantic)


Racism in the U.S.: Police Brutality, Urban Planning, Voting, Feminism, and More


Podcast: 1619 (NYT)

Podcast: Code Switch (NPR)

Podcast: Intersectionality Matters, with Kimberlé Crenshaw, J.D.

Podcast: Floodlines (The Atlantic) [on Hurricane Katrina]

Podcast episode: Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Ezra Klein Show 

Podcast episode: The transformative power of restorative justice, The Ezra Klein Show

Podcast episode: American Police, Throughline (NPR)

Podcast episode: Milliken v. Bradley, Throughline (NPR) [landmark Detroit school busing case]

Podcast episode: Mass Incarceration, Throughline (NPR)


Book: One Person, No Vote, Dr. Carol Anderson (interview with Dr. Anderson on the book) [historical and modern racial discrimation in voting and voter suppression]

Book: Stamped from the Beginning, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

Book: The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander, J.D. [critique of mass incarceration]

Book: Evicted, Matthew Desmond [race and housing discrimnation]

Book: The Color of Law, Richard Rothstein (and an NPR interview on the book)

Book: The End of Policing, Alex S. Vitale

Book: They Were Her Property, Dr. Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers [white women’s role in slavery]

Book: People Before Highways, Dr. Karilyn Crockett [race and urban planning]

Book: A Black Women’s History of the United States, Berry and Gross

Book: Hood Feminism, Dr. Mikki Kendall

Book: Bad Feminist, Dr. Roxane Gay

Book: Black Feminist Thought, Dr. Patricia Hill Collins

Book: A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism…, Harriet A. Washington

Book: This Bridge Called My Back, edited by Moraga and Anzaldúa

We focused on historical/educational materials here, but remember that reading Black fiction, Black poetry, memoirs, and other creative works are an equally essential part to expanding your horizons and understanding new perspectives!


Race and Education/Academia (not limited to geosciences)

Shut Down STEM—organization, with more recommended reading and listening

Wheaton College’s resources for being an anti-racist educator

Book: Degrees of Difference, edited by McKee and Delgado

Book: Dismantling Race in Higher Education, edited by Jason Arday and Heidi Safia Mirza

Book: Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?, Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum

Book: Unequal Profession, Dr. Meera E. Deo

Article: Race and racism in the geosciences, Dr. Kuheli Dutt (Nature Geoscience)

Article: Earth science has a whiteness problem, Emma Goldberg (NYT)

Article: 10 Simple* Rules for Building an Anti-Racist Lab, Drs. Chaudhary and Berhe

Article: #BlackintheIvory, Nidhi Subbaraman (Nature)

Article: Academia isn’t a safe haven for conversations about race and racism, Dr. Tsedale M. Melaku and Dr. Angie Beeman (Harvard Business Review)

Article/speech: Intersectionality as a blueprint for postcolonial scientific community building. Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinsten, whose book Disordered Cosmos comes out in July 2020.

Article/speech: The self-construction of Black women physicists. Dr. Prescod-Weinstein.

A long list of reading materials on colonialism and science

Open Faculty Letter (Princeton)


What Can I Do?

On Your Own

  • Get used to discomfort and being okay with being corrected
  • Support Black-owned businesses (e.g., buying your anti-racist literature from Black-owned bookstores)
  • Reflect daily on how you were (or were not) anti-racist
  • Expand what you read, see, and listen to—a diversity of perspectives is crucial to widening your worldview and understanding other people’s experiences.
  • Recognize that “staying out of politics” is a privilege, and keep up to date with the news.
  • Recognize that staying silent on issues around systemic/cultural racism and anti-Blackness is not a privilege—it’s taking a side.
    • Be sure to amplify Black, Indigenous, and Latinx voices rather than making yourself/white guilt the center of the conversation.
  • Remember that reading about anti-racism is good, but that alone is not enough.
  • Realize that you cannot change yourself, your social circle, or systems overnight—dismantling racism in society is a long, arduous fight, one that you may just now be becoming aware of.
    • Worried that your social media posting is just virtue signaling? Give this NYT article a read.
  • Be active in ways that are safe for you (e.g., if you are at high COVID-19 risk, you can stay in and call congresspeople rather than protesting in public).

In Academia

  • Fight against systemic racism in admissions, hiring, and tenure by actively working to change these systems. Examples include removing standardized testing from both the undergraduate and graduate levels (SAT/ACT and the GRE), 
  • Be aware of how race intersects with field components of your programs (coursework and research). 
  • Adjust your perspective as an educator to be actively anti-racist.
  • Recognize the demographics and shortcomings of your field and STEM broadly.
  • Create a culture of calling out microaggressions; use it as an opening for dialogue rather than an opportunity to chastise.
  • Advocate for departments and libraries to supply anti-racist and history of race reading free of charge (e.g., unlimited online access).
  • Fund, attend, and support student/professional organizations for underrepresented groups (e.g., National Association of Black Geoscientists (with AGI), SACNAS, National Society for Black Engineers, GeoLatinas, AISES, Geoscience Alliance, and other such organizations).
  • Volunteer at the organizational level to push professional societies to change.
  • Be aware of funding/academic opportunities for scientists of color, and advocate for them.
  • Do not ask Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian-American, or members of other underrepresented groups to do uncompensated emotional labor by serving on Diversity/Equity committees, lead workshops on race, give talks on diversity, or other similar activities. (This includes graduate students and non-TT faculty.)
  • Ensure that any workshops or courses on the subject of race are taught by trained experts and professionals; be willing to pay someone external to do this work.
  • Create Wikipedia pages for notable scientists of color, especially women, in your field.

Outside Academia

  • Keep the conversation going—it’s one thing to hold a department meeting on ditching the GRE, it’s another to have tough conversations with your family and friends.
  • Donate to organizations doing good anti-racist work and supporting underserved populations.
  • Be active in your community; being a visible ally is important to making your Black peers feel supported.
  • Vote!

Organizations and Accounts to Follow

The big ones—ACLU, NAACP (find your state/regional chapters to support!)

Color of Change

Black Lives Matter (why “all lives matter” is damaging)



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