This page is a gathering spot for sharing things I’ve found useful over the years. Much of the content is links to other web-based resources, as well as book recommendations.
I have tried to organize it loosely by subject matter to make it easier to navigate – there is a lot here. I’ve also tagged the nature of various resources; they mostly fall into “informational” (great places to learn) and “actionable” (concrete, real things we can all do at any time to make a difference).
Note that the “information” links are still great resources for action, but they may not directly suggest things to do – turning that information into action requires some work on the part of the reader. These are, for the most part, the more important resources; but for those who are unsure of how to start taking action, the “actionable” links may be a more useful place to begin developing habits for better praxis (turning theory into action).
Please be aware that this collection is not curated for avoiding triggers. It is only reasonable to expect strong (and often difficult) emotions when engaging with these resources. Please take time to learn to invest in yourself so you can sustain this work.
Also, a minor caveat. I will update and refine this list from time to time, although it is not a huge priority for me; I need to allocate my spoons carefully. So over time, I may grow away from some of these that I may have once recommended highly. I leave the list intact as much as I can to help illustrate my own path of change and growth in life.
I hope these can be of value to you as well.
Scaffolded Anti-Racist Resources – information – this is a Google Doc with a huge collection of useful tools and additional links and recommendations. I found many of the referenced works massively informative early in my own effort of understanding systemic racism and how I am a part of it (and what I can do to work against it). Like many of the resources I link to here, it is most valuable as a jumping-off point to many, many other places to learn.
Anti-racism resources for white people – information – another really large and excellent Google doc with a ton of great links and resources, ranging from articles to books to podcasts and videos. Also links to even more excellent collections.
White Supremacy Culture (Still Here/2021 Update) – information – this is a wonderful PDF and an updated version of an older resource by Tema Okun about the elements of white supremacy culture and how it manifests. Vital reading for anyone interested in engaging in racial justice efforts on any level. The update includes some very important observations about how these kinds of resources can become weaponized and used to cause other kinds of harm, even by careless but well-intentioned users.
Radical Dharma – information – this is the web site for an excellent book which I highly recommend to anyone interested in Buddhism or other dharmic traditions, especially anyone who is white. It addresses the ways in which misuse of such traditions can perpetuate harm upon Black people, especially Black queer people.
13th (documentary) – information – this is a full version of the documentary 13th from Netflix, hosted on YouTube. The documentary explores ways in which the governmental structure of the United States has been deliberately shaped to oppress and enslave Black people, and how the foundations for the carceral system that unjustly and disproportionately imprisons and kills Black people is written into the actual Constitution itself.
Weapons of Math Destruction – information – a book that explores the ways in which mathematical research and computer algorithms are used to contribute to oppression, especially in terms of upholding systems of racial injustice.
Algorithms of Oppression – information – another look at the digital tech sector and the ways that software perpetuates racism and harm.
Ijeoma Oluo – information – website of an excellent author whose works include the book So You Want to Talk About Race. Good additional resources linked from her site.
Black Trauma and work – information – a good article for helping white colleagues begin to understand how the lifelong trauma of being racialized may affect those around us. Introductory level, but a great conversation starter for those new to the idea of racial inequity and injustice.
Why Tech Degrees Are Not Putting More Blacks and Hispanics Into Tech Jobs – information – warning: paid New York Times article. Still a useful examination of the reality of systemic racism in the digital-technology sector. This article is from 2016 and remains painfully relevant in the closing days of 2022.
The Dos’ and Don’ts of Being a Good Ally – actionable – quick and easy steps for checking ourselves and making sure we’re not being a problem with our good intentions. This is a great starting place, but please keep in mind that it’s just that – a way to get going on building better habits and ways of relating and connecting with people. Don’t expect this advice to fix everything by itself!
Short Checklist for Allies Against Racism – actionable – PDF document; another (slightly more in-depth) list of things we can do to check whether or not we’re doing effective work when it comes to racism. This is a slightly older resource, and please be aware that it does have some suggestions that may become problematic in many contexts (when applied carelessly) – for example, some of the actions on this list can easily turn into “speaking over” people instead of amplifying what they have to say for themselves. Use with care and always defer to the experiences and feedback of racially oppressed people first and foremost.
21-Day Racial Equity Challenge – actionable - this is an excellent set of actionable, concrete things we can do to build our understanding of racism and to take part in anti-racist work. It is framed as a “challenge” and designed as a way to help build long-lasting habits. I think it is a good tool for those who can form habits using such structures.
Justice in June – actionable – this is a Google Doc with a very useful set of resources for getting invested in the work of supporting the Black community. It also contains links to some other excellent resources and collections. It’s a great tool to use in group settings, like a circle of friends, a workplace, a family, and so on.
Race Implicit Association Test – actionable – the IAT methods can have some shortcomings and limitations, but this test in particular can be a very eye-opening tool for those just beginning to explore the realm of racial justice. Especially effective for those who don’t think they could possibly have racial biases.
Common English Words/Phrases with Racist Origins – actionable – for all English speakers, a great introductory list of things we might say that are connected to systemic racism. Very much a “tip of the iceberg” kind of resource, but useful for helping to start conversations and get people to start thinking more about the ways we perpetuate harm without even knowing it.
A guide on how to collaborate with anti-racist Black people for activism – actionable – a great introductory resource; the title nicely covers the subject matter. Short and easy to read and pass around for starting (or refocusing) conversations.
Decolonizing (Theory and Practice)
Decolonization is not a Metaphor – information – PDF, academic paper. This is heavy, but in my opinion, it is nigh-on required reading about decolonial theory and how to put it into practice.
Native Land – information - this site is an interactive map of some of the parts of the world that are most heavily damaged by ongoing settler-colonialist activities. It displays information about the Indigenous people who were in these places since time beyond memory. For those of us who are not Indigenous to a region, it is a very useful tool for understanding who our presence has displaced and impacted. It is not just a history lesson; it is also an effective jumping-off point for learning more about local efforts we can participate in to work against the continuing harm of colonialism.
LAND BACK! What do we mean? – information – a useful, introductory-level resource about the Land Back movement and what the phrase can mean to various Indigenous communities and causes.
A People’s History of the United States – information – this is the complete text of the work by Howard Zinn, offering a pointed counter-narrative to the typical story told of “history” in the US. It is a long and heavy read, and by no means an “authoritative” work (there are many different perspectives of that history and this is only one, a fact attested to by Zinn himself) but it is nevertheless an extremely eye-opening book.
Real Rent Duwamish – actionable – The Duwamish are the original, rightful caretakers of the area around what has become the city of Seattle. They are not formally recognized by the United States federal government and are severely impacted by the legacy of extremely wealthy companies extracting profit on their land. Supporting the equity, recognition, and return to stewardship of the tribe should be a priority for anyone living in the region.
Faculty/Staff Page for Robin W. Kimmerer – information – Dr. Kimmerer is a very notable voice for Indigenous tradition and wisdom, especially in the realm of ecology. Her book Braiding Sweetgrass is also an excellent resource; it (among many other projects) are listed on the linked page.
Worldwide Story Structures – information – a fascinating collection of ways in which stories are told in various cultures and frames of reference. Excellent antidote to the “conflict is the core of narrative” poison often found in and around white supremacy culture. Humans relay information and wisdom in many, many ways; this is a great look at how some of those forms and structures work, and a good jumping-off point for exploring more ways of relating to each other in the form of shared culture.
How to be a Good Relative – information – an excellent zine that covers some solid, practical advice for being in good relationship with Indigenous people and communities. It’s also just generally good advice.
Abolishing Policing and Prisons
The End of Policing – information – this is a book that I have not personally read but is on my list as being a useful introduction to prison-abolition and related causes.
Intersectional Feminism and Gender Justice
The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls – information – a truly wondrous book by Mona Eltahawy; explores various facets of patriarchal violence and oppression, and what can be done to counter it. I found it pleasantly inclusive for those of us who are not women but are also directly subjected to violence and oppression by patriarchy. As with many of these resources, this is a phenomenal collection of even more resources and authors to explore – be sure to look into the work of the thinkers she cites, and the rich bibliography.
Article about gamer demographics – information – this is mostly just heartbreaking, but I keep it around as an example of how bad problems really are, and how hard it is to change large systems. This article is from 2014 (8 years before I posted this collection for the first time) and talks about how adult women are the single largest demographic within gaming. And yet, nearly a decade later, women remain severely underrepresented in both games and the companies that make them. This is to say nothing of those of us whose experience of gender is neither male nor female. We all have much work to do.
How to Kill Your Tech Industry – information – another pointed look at how sexism has become rampant in the digital-technology sector, and some of the catastrophically bad results that have come from this trend.
all about love / communion / the will to change – information – this set of three books, all by bell hooks, offers a dramatic departure from the usual rhetoric of control and struggle that appears in much literature about subjects like oppression. By focusing less on the way domination and oppression play out, hooks creates room to think about what could replace it, and how love as a verb must be the foundation of anything we build in the effort to undo oppression of all kinds. These ideas have become truly foundational elements of my own thinking about liberatory efforts and continue to motivate much of my own writing.
Trans and Queer Justice
Disclosure – information – this is a Netflix documentary (subscription required). It explores the historical ways in which media like films and TV have contributed to harm and oppression of the trans community.
The Voice Book for Trans and Non-Binary People – focused resource – this book is less of an “ally” resource and more directly for the affected audience (who, conveniently, are named in the title). I list it here because it is easy to read, easily actionable, and contains a good selection of techniques that can be practiced for anyone wishing to alter their speaking voice, especially through the lens of gender/identity congruity. I have found it immensely helpful in my own struggles with voice dysphoria and often recommend it to others in similar situations.
Automating Inequality – information – this is a book I have not yet read personally, but was given as an excellent recommendation for understanding how technology is used to perpetuate class-based oppression of the poor and working-class.
Accessibility in Gaming Resources – information – a Google Doc by Jennifer Kretchmer with a great collection of resources about making games (both digital and physical) more accessible and less violent and oppressive towards Disabled people.
How to be an Ally for People with PTSD – information – this article is a decent introduction to the lived experiences of those enduring the aftereffects of trauma. While it has a lot of great suggestions, please keep in mind the single most important one: every person who has survived trauma is unique and different. We may all want and need different things, and that may change over time. When trying to support trauma survivors, defer to their needs and preferences, always, not just what’s on a checklist somewhere on the internet – and be prepared to adapt and change alongside them.
Community and Connection
Bystander Training within Organizations – information – PDF paper about the value of training people to actively get involved when oppression and marginalization occurs on the small-scale, especially in work environments. Taking action is vital, and the small things matter; bystander trainings can help people take positive action instead of watching idly as problems fester.
Building Resilient Organizations – information – a great article about ways in which our organizations can become mired in problematic dynamics, even ones that are aimed at justice and liberation causes. Lots of concrete advice and recommendations for how to avoid and grow beyond such issues, whether on a personal level or a collective one.
Web page of Kat Vellos – information – Kat offers a number of invaluable resources and ideas for building community. I’ve found ideas from her book Let’s Get Together (many of which are also available via the site We Should Get Together) to be very useful in both formal settings (like a company) as well as informal/casual settings (like a circle of friends).
We Should Get Together – actionable – direct suggestions and tools for building better interpersonal connections and relationships, in a variety of settings. From the work of Kat Vellos.
Better Than Small Talk – actionable – more great suggestions from Kat Vellos on starting discussions and conversations that have substance and meaning and depth. I’ve also found that these resources are useful in helping allistic (non-autistic) people understand how I prefer to communicate and relate with others; one of my autistic traits is a strong dislike for small talk, which feels shallow, empty, meaningless, and stressful to me.
How to Eradicate Toxic Culture from Your Workplace – actionable – an easy-to-watch YouTube video about ways to reduce problematic behavior in an office environment. Fairly introductory and basic, but a decent conversation-starter.
Post-Meritocracy Manifesto – actionable – recommendations for eradicating the poisonous mentality of “meritocracy” from tech-creation environments.
Polysecure by Jessica Fern – information – this is a brilliant book about consensual non-monogamy. However, I recommend it even for those who are quite comfortable with monogamous life, for a few reasons. First and foremost, this book offers a brilliant collection of tools that can help any relationship, including our relationships with ourselves; I’m confident that anyone could find useful things to glean from the exercises and suggestions it contains. Secondly, the text is unapologetic about naming a rather under-acknowledged form of oppression, mononormativity - the pervasive assumptions about what relationships, love, and fulfillment are “supposed” to look like. This oppression affects both those of us who enjoy relationships in far more complex and variegated ways than monogamous culture deems acceptable, as well as those who have no cause to participate in certain kinds of relationships, notably the aspec community. Lastly, the text also refuses to depart from gender-neutral language throughout, and yet remains clear and easy to understand; for any writer concerned about excising gender-assumptions from your writing on the grounds of reducing clarity or creating awkward results, please read this book to learn how it can be done (at least in English).
Immunity to Change – information – this is a popular book about various ways in which we can unconsciously or subconsciously resist change, even changes we desire. It is aimed primarily at corporate cultures and has a very distinctively white perspective, so please keep that in mind; but it does offer some insights that I’ve personally found helpful in illuminating why sometimes things don’t seem to move forward the way they should, both in and around me.
The Purpose of Power – information – this book by Alicia Garza (of Black Lives Matter) covers a wide range of practical wisdom about how social movements are really created and sustained. It’s a pointed look into the role of power - that is, the ability to affect things in the ways we want – and the importance of understanding how to work within systems of political power. Setting aside questions of the fundamental salvageability of certain political institutions and structures, there’s no question that surviving political systems is a crucial skill for all of us seeking liberation, and this book is a great place to start thinking about how we can do so.
Leaving the Fold – information – this book by Dr. Marlene Winell was my first introduction to the notion of religious trauma. It is primarily focused on a particular set of experiences (fundamentalist/evangelical christianity) which are directly relevant to my own life, but it does offer some helpful insights for those in other situations as well. I will note that while it informed several major steps in my own recovery process, this work is fairly narrowly focused, very much white, and rather cis-het-binary-normative in style.
Down at the Cross by James Baldwin – information – I found this essay (published as part of the linked book, The Fire Next Time) to resonate incredibly well with me, despite coming from a very different lived experience than my own. There are quite a few parallels between Baldwin’s relationship with the christian religion and mine. Aside from its personal relevance to me, it’s a pointed and moving exploration of how deeply entangled certain forms of religion really are with certain forms of oppression.
Trauma in General
The Body Never Lies – information – this book, along with other work by Alice Miller, this has informed a huge amount of my own understanding of trauma as a lived experience, and helped me find solidarity and practical support in my recovery. I provide this with the caveat that I am aware that Miller was not a perfect person by any stretch; this should inform any reading of her work, but cannot undo its relevance or significance.
The Body Keeps the Score – information – this book by Bessel van der Kolk draws extensively on the pre-existing work of Alice Miller, albeit without really crediting her. Despite this act of patriarchal theft, the book remains a useful compendium of information about the physical (somatic) effects of trauma, as well as ways to cope with them. Caveat: in my eyes, this book has a subtle but pernicious pathologizing/medicalizing attitude towards disability, and despite offering a fair bit of hope and understanding, can feel very difficult to read as a disabled person. The text is also very blatantly white, cishet, and male in its approach.
Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness – information – useful guidance for the ways in which increased self-awareness, particularly of the body, can lead to complex resurfacing of lived trauma. Mostly aimed at clinical practitioners rather than trauma survivors, but contains a lot of resources for survivors who – like myself – prefer to guide our own journey of recovery.
Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving (book) and the author Pete Walker’s web site – information – this was one of my first major introductions to the lived experience of Complex PTSD. While I find quite a bit of Walker’s advice to be narrow and likely unsuitable for everyone, it remains one of the few resources I know of that both addresses trauma from a first-person perspective of a survivor, as well as collecting practical, actionable advice for recovery. I find Walker’s handling of the somatic element of trauma the most pointedly lacking, so I’d recommend this along with Alice Miller’s work or perhaps van der Kolk (both are also on this resource list). Best approached with a “take what works/leave the rest” mindset.
Weapons of Mass Instruction – information – this book is a short but highly illuminating examination of the compulsory education system and its role in establishing and perpetuating certain kinds of oppressive dynamics, especially (but not exclusively) in the context of the so-called United States. I include it here as an instructive introduction to understanding the roles of institutions in systemic oppression, for those not already thinking along such lines, although that subject is certainly far more expansive than the book could possibly explore in depth.
Self-Defined – actionable – a short but powerful list of terms and symbols that are often used casually, but conceal problematic and oppressive effects. Very helpful for identifying problematic language, especially in organizations and groups, and learning to become aware of ways in which our choices of words can perpetuate harm and oppression.
EthicalOS – actionable – techniques and things to consider when building projects. Aimed primarily at digital technology organizations. I found many of the ideas of this checklist useful when examining my own career as a computer programmer and a director of technology in a software development company. It is not an ultimate or comprehensive list, but it does cover many significant and important concerns.
Micro-affirmations – information – as a counter to micro-aggressions, micro-affirmations are small but important things we can do to support those around us. This is a very broad subject and the linked paper is a very cursory introduction, but looking into micro-affirmations that are requested by various groups of marginalized or oppressed people can be a great way to start improving the lives of those people. This concept is so powerful it can also be useful for improving our relationships with people who are like ourselves.
Right to Be – information – resources for recovering from, working against, and preventing various forms of harassment. Offers trainings for things like bystander intervention to interrupt specific cases of mistreatment.
How Complex Systems Fail – information – this is mostly written from an engineering point of view, but has some very potent insight for understanding failure in social, political, and economic systems as well. Illuminating for those of us seeking to assist certain systems in failing.
Additional Assorted Collections
NeuroSpicy Networking Resources Doc by Jesenia – information – a great Google doc with a wide variety of resources, touching on many of the same subjects as this collection, and even more. Also check out Jesenia’s additional linktree.
These are various groups and projects that I’ve found motivating, exciting, and/or generally worth supporting over the years. Many have actionable resources as well, including financial donation options.
Editorial Note: While donation is a worthwhile form of material support, I’ve chosen to de-emphasize that particular avenue; I’m of the opinion that more good comes about when people put effort into our own learning and direct action for justice, versus sending off some donations to feel like “we helped” – it is far too easy for a donation receipt to become an excuse to not examine our own responsibilities for making things better. For those with the means, I highly recommend exploring mutual-aid networks as a way to both give and make direct, meaningful impacts.
Lavender Rights Project – advocacy organization – this is a regionally-focused initiative that is known to do good work in advancing the cause for Black trans people.
Surge Reproductive Justice – advocacy organization – focuses on bodily autonomy and reproductive justice issues, centering Black women, women of color, and queer and trans people of color.
LGBTQ Freedom Fund – legal advocacy organization – works to free queer people from imprisonment and carceral injustice.
Donation options for over 70 community bail, mutual aid, and racial justice efforts – actionable – organized in the aftermath of George Floyd’s state-sanctioned murder by police, this page collects a large list of local efforts for justice, as well as offering a single location to contribute donations to each of them simultaneously by splitting a larger donation.
Solutions Not Punishments – advocacy organization – efforts for justice for Black queer people in the Atlanta area. Trans and queer led.
Black Futures Lab – advocacy organization – a group formed to help shift political power for Black people. Political organizing and mobilization are necessary and vital parts of the struggle to overturn oppression, especially as it remains so thoroughly entrenched in institutions like governments and nation-states.
Black Census by the Black Futures Lab – data for supporting advocacy/research – this is a hard one to summarize, but it’s a great example of how respectfully and ethically gathering data about large groups of people can be used to effect real and important change.
TransTech Social – networking/support organization – resources for trans folx interested in working in the digital tech sector.
Rainbow Railroad – advocacy organization – participates in helping queer people escape state-sponsored violence and injustice.
Refugee Trans Initiative – advocacy organization – trans-focused support for those fleeing danger.
Additional organizations, collected by Raquel Willis – information – Black trans-led and Black trans-serving efforts; large list of resources.
Black Girls Code – advocacy organization – teaching Black girls skills for creating and developing digital technologies.
Take This! – advocacy organization – mental health resources and support, with a gaming focus.
Code2040 – advocacy organization – efforts for racial equity and justice within the digital-technology sector.
KultureCity – advocacy organization – focused on accessibility efforts for the invisibly Disabled.
Point of Pride – support organization – financial aid and direct material support for trans people seeking care, especially gender-affirming resources.