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What Was I Thinking? No. 3:

Everyday Racism: Questions and Quandaries

Barbara Beckwith

Paperback, 36 pgs., 5.5" x 8.5", stapled

A new collection of 8 essays by the author describing her journey as a white anti-racist trainer and activist. Third in a series of 3.


What Was I Thinking? No. 3

In the third booklet in her series, What Was I Thinking?, Barbara Beckwith gives us seven more personal essays and an eighth and final chapter containing 18 mini reviews of books on race published between 2012 and 2015. Personable, insightful stories from her own life reveal the complexities and subtleties of race and racism through the eyes of a seasoned white activist and writer.


1) Who's Beautiful? Who's Not?
Who is attractive? And who decides? A news article about "jolie laide" still grates on me.

2) What's Behind the Power of a Stare?
When is a "long look" okay, simply rude, or even racist?

3) In the Face of Resistance: A Lay Facilitator's Experience
What to do when students in my anti-racism class resist its basic premise?

4) Why Read Slave Narratives?
My students borrow my racism-related books, but never select a slave narrative. Why?

5) It's My Job, Not His, to Counter Anti-Semetic Stereotypes
My husband, who is Jewish, doesn't fret over lingering prejudices, while I need to unravel each one.

6) The Stories We Tell Ourselves About the People Who Came Before Us
I heard one family story growing up, then discovered a truer story.

7) Is Racism Too Entrenched to Be Defeated?
Can we end racism? If not, should we keep trying?

8) Racial Justice Books Worth Reading: Here's Why
These eighteen books are about looking at our lives through the lens of race, examining deeper dimensions of racial justice pioneers, getting our facts straight, learning from collective experiences, and imagining lives through fiction.