The American Booksellers Association has been ripped for promoting an anti-racism event titled, “What’s Up with White Women?”
The group promoted the Oct. 21 “free antiracism workshop” in a since-deleted tweet that has been widely shared online.
As well as deleting that tweet, the online listing for the event now just mentions the second part of the workshop’s initial title, “Unpacking Sexism and White Privilege in Pursuit of Racial Justice.”
“As we strive toward racial justice, there’s an opportunity for people who identify as white women to examine how they have navigated sexism and misogyny and internalized white superiority,” the listing said.
“This workshop is open to all booksellers, regardless of how they identify, but will speak specifically to white cisgender women, trans women, and non-binary folks who have internalized feminine gender norms,” it said.
It will “focus on three patterns of behavior — control, perfectionism, and defensiveness” to “help booksellers recognize and replace these harmful patterns with actions that build authentic cross-cultural relationships.”
It is being run by Seattle-based authors Ilsa Govan and Tilman Smith, who penned a controversial book of the same title.
Govan is an “anti-racist facilitator, consultant, leadership coach, activist, and the co-founder of Cultures Connecting, which has helped countless organizations put their vision of racial equity into practice,” the ABA said.
Smith is introduced as “an educator, consultant, facilitator, and activist focused on racial justice, white privilege, internalized sexism, and internalized white superiority.”
Their book addresses “why and how white women often hijack race conversations” and offers “a powerful six-stage identity development model for self-reflection and growth.”
The ABA deleted the initial tweet that sparked outrage online, with Ian Miles Cheong of the Post Millennial calling it “incredibly racist,” and The Blaze’s Jessica O’Donnell replying that the anti-racist book and event “sounds kinda racist.”
“I don’t think they understand what racism means,’ radio host Larry O’Connor said.
After deleting the initial tweet, the ABA insisted that the “antiracism workshop is still scheduled.”
“However, in support of our community and out of concern for the security of the event, we have removed the post with registration details,” the association tweeted.
“ABA is committed to this work & will share new registration information with members directly.”
Not all its readers were buying it.
“You deleted the tweet because it was racist, but ‘concern for the safety of the attendees’ is sure the victim card to go with,” Damon Imani replied.