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Beyond Fragility

A Skills-Based Guide to Effective Anti-Racist Allyship

300 pages
Bridge City Books

Anti-racism work cannot be reduced to a single checklist of “dos” and “don’ts.”

As society shifts its perspective on true allyship—moving from being “not racist” to “anti-racist”—White allies are being called upon to actively work toward changing the status quo. However, the vast majority of resources on this topic emphasize educating allies about anti-racism without teaching them how to actually do anti-racism work. This leaves well-meaning allies feeling stuck, frustrated, and afraid of getting it wrong.
Beyond Fragility fills this undeniable gap by providing you with a concrete, step-by-step approach to effective anti-racism allyship. Filled with case examples, guided reflections, and skill-building exercises, this book provides you with the skills to:

• Understand and avoid common mishaps in anti-racist work, such as misunderstanding what racism is, not knowing how to recognize racism, or not having a clear anti-racist identity
• Cope with intense emotions like guilt, fear, hopelessness, and anger that may arise when discussing racism and privilege
• Navigate complex interpersonal interactions, whether it’s validating the experiences of BIPOC peers, recovering from a racist misstep, or speaking out against racist comments
Anti-racist allyship is not an innate essence—nor is it something you were born knowing how to do. But with the tools in this book, you can learn new skills that allow you to engage in impactful and sustainable allyship in every space you occupy.

Author Bio

Yara Mekawi, PhD, is a licensed psychologist, co-founder of the DEAR project, and assistant professor at the University of Louisville. She earned her bachelor’s degree in applied psychology at the University of Illinois Chicago and her PhD in clinical-community psychology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Her work focuses on examining racial discrimination and racial prejudice at the intersection of affect and cognition. Dr. Mekawi has published over 60 empirical research papers on topics like dehumanization, racial color-blindness, and racial microaggressions. Dr. Mekawi’s clinical work is consistent with an empirically driven, functional-contextualist orientation that emphasizes culturally informed assessment, contextually driven hypothesis generation, collaborative goal setting, and implementation of evidence-based, culturally informed intervention. Administratively, Dr. Mekawi is interested in the assessment and integration of anti-racism and social justice oriented practices within organizations and the implementation of interventions designed to effectively dismantle White supremacy at individual, cultural, and systemic levels.

Natalie Watson-Singleton, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist, co-founder of the DEAR Project, and associate professor at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her PhD in clinical-community psychology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and completed her predoctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship at Emory University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Watson-Singleton strongly identifies as a clinical-community psychologist, which is reflected in her scholarship, teaching, and clinical-community work. Her research focuses on two lines of inquiry: (1) understanding how racism influences African Americans’ health disparities, with special attention to African American women and (2) modifying interventions to meet the cultural needs of African Americans. Overall, Dr. Watson-Singleton aims to produce research that can bridge science and practice to improve the lives of marginalized communities.

Danyelle Dawson, MA, is a doctoral candidate in clinical-community psychology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and co-founder of the DEAR Project. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and social and economic justice from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her master’s degree in psychology from North Carolina Central University. Ms. Dawson’s program of research focuses on (1) the mental and physical impacts of racism and discrimination on marginalized populations and (2) individual- and community-level engagement in resistance and healing (e.g., radical healing, anti-racism advocacy, sociopolitical action, community building). As a researcher trained in both clinical and community psychology, her research and applied work aims to enhance both individual- and systems-level capacity to resist and challenge oppressive contexts and realities. Ms. Dawson has published numerous papers related to these topics and has won several awards recognizing her commitment to diversity and anti-racist endeavors in her work. She has worked with university counseling centers, local mental health boards, and community organizations to build their evaluation capacity and facilitate their intentional work to continuously create and sustain organizational processes consistent with their organizational goals.