BAATN Midlands Reading Group
Hosted by Jill Morgan, Vedia Maharaj and Aneet Kaur
Next group will be online: 12th December 2020 2.30-4.30pm
This is an Open Practitioner Event
Each quarter BAATN Midlands will hold a Reading Group featuring a book relevant to the themes of race and racism. In the Reading Group, we will discuss the background of the authors, the sociopolitical contexts in which the book was written, discuss any points raised in the group and consider the book’s relevance to practice.
In this group we will be discussing the 2019 book: ‘How To Be an Antiracist’ by Ibram X. Kendi, a historian and Professor in the Humanities and the Founding Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research.
“Kendi’s argument is brilliantly simple. An idea, action or policy is either racist – that is, contributing to a history that regards and treats different races as inherently unequal – or it is antiracist, because it is trying to dismantle that history. There is nothing in between. There is no pure state of racism or anti-racism: people of all races and backgrounds can fall into either category depending on their ideas, actions or the policies they support.” (Afua Hirsch, The Guardian, October 2019).
“Could hardly be more relevant … it feels like a light switch being flicked on” – Owen Jones
“An electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science, bringing it all together with an engaging personal narrative … an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond an awareness of racism to the next step” – The Voice
“This is no guidebook to getting woke … Never wavering, Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth. This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of colour, navigate this difficult intellectual territory. Essential” – Kirkus
“One of the US’s most respected scholars of race and history… Kendi’s argument is brilliantly simple … he rejects the idea that racism is born out of ignorance. Racism, history shows, is born out of its profitability and utility … His honesty … is one of the most powerful elements in this compelling book” – Afua Hirsch, The Guardian
Who should attend the workshop
Psychotherapists, Counsellors, Psychologists, holistic therapists, psychiatrists and individuals involved in the mental health field, caring professions and those concerned about black mental health.
Date: 12th December 2020
Registration 14:30 Start – End 16:30
Cost: This event is free to members, £10 for Non-members. For Non-members booking reservations without payment will be held for 1 week before being offered to another person.
Find out about more events in the Midlands
Comments from members
“I look forward to the next Reading Book Event its a valued space.”
“Thank you for the opportunity to share. It was great to meet with others, to talk and think about the book and hear others’ reflections on it. This is such important work: it was good to feel part of something that supports it.” – Carolyn
“Having decided to try something new, I found the Midlands Reading Group to be a welcoming, engaging and reflective experience.” – Yasmine
“Joining the first meeting of the reading group on 29 January was a lovely chance to connect again with Birmingham-based BAATN practitioners. We looked at Akala’s stunning ‘Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire.’ It provided a lovely space to share our own stories. We all look forward to the Midlands chapter of BAATN picking up speed.” – Susan Groves
The Group Agreement
Each quarter BAATN Midlands will hold a Reading Group featuring a book relevant to the themes of race and racism. In the Reading Group, we will discuss the background of the authors, the socio-political contexts in which the book was written, discuss any points raised in the group and consider the book’s relevance to practice.
As Reading Group attendees:
- We recognise the need for confidentiality and its limitations when safeguarding actions are warranted and
- are aware of the emotional impact of discussing issues concerning race and racism. Attendees are encouraged to ensure their own self-care and take a break from reading group activities whenever needed. We are aware of the right to be able to agree/feel agreed with and disagree/feel disagreed with one another.
- We are mindful of how we deliver our opinions on the book/text.
- We try not to speak over each other. When someone is speaking, the floor is fully theirs.
- We are accepting and supportive of where people of the group are at. We recognise that some attendees might not have had the possibility to have fully read the book; and that sometimes despite intentions, things come up in one’s personal lives. Not having fully read the book should not be an obstacle to attendance and engage in discussions. This reading group is for those that specifically struggle to find time to read. It is hoped that by participating in the Reading Group, in one’s personal life more opportunity is enabled for reading books on Black Issues.
Structure of the Reading Group:
- Two hours in duration, with a short break.
- The book/text will be nominated by the reading group participants
- We will always begin with a check-in at the start of the session and end with a checkout
- The first half of the session involves looking at our personal reaction to the book, considering various contexts for instance what we know of the author, the intended audience and sense of community and politics it raises. After a break of 10-15 minutes, the second half of the seminar looks at the book’s relevance to clinical practice. There may, of course, be some overlaps between the two halves of the session.
Past Reading Groups
Reading group on the 29th Feb 20
This group discussed the Sunday Times bestseller: ‘Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire’ by artist, writer and historian Akala.
‘My book of the year. It’s personal, historical, political, and it speaks to where we are now. This is the book I’ve been waiting for – for years.’ – Benjamin Zephaniah
‘Part biography, part polemic, this powerful, wide-ranging study picks apart the British myth of meritocracy.’ – David Olusoga, The Guardian
‘Akala is at his best destroying the comfortable myths that are invoked by white fragility to downplay attempts to correct the historical record … Akala makes it clear that he is not brimming with optimism. But reading Natives – witnessing the kind of disruptive, aggressive intellect that a new generation is closely watching – I can’t help but be just that.’ – Afua Hirsch, Observer
‘What I love about this book is it’s kind of like a testimony, a story of contemporary London. He is like one of the Baldwins or Hooks of our generation, who walks among us, you know? When he theorises, it’s from a place of knowing rather than some distant place up above… He is very good at remembering and honouring the experiences that have shaped him, and he applies it in a very real way.’ – Madani Younis, The Guardian
Reading group on the 14th Jul 2020
This group discussed we 2017 revised and updated edition of the 1997 bestseller exploring the psychology of race and racism in the United States: ‘Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?‘ by Psychologist and president emerita of Spelman College, Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum.
“Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? was a landmark publication when it appeared in 1997. Twenty years later this updated edition is as fresh, poignant and timely as ever.”- Earl Lewis, President, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
“An unusually sensitive work about the racial barriers that still divide us in so many areas of life.”- Jonathan Kozol
“We don’t talk about race in America, but we must start if we are going to heal this broken country–and Beverly Tatum’s book is exactly the conversation opener we should be using.”–Jodi Picoult