STUDYING ABOUT RACE & RACISM

A few weeks ago, the United State of Women’s Conference was held here in Los Angeles and I spoke to the 6,000 women together with Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter. This is how I started my speech:

“When Trump was elected and the toxic bedrock of White Supremacy in this country was exposed, I realized something new. I’ve been involved with progressive movements most of my adult life, but because I’m White, the lens through which I had been looking at race was too shallow. So I’m studying. It takes more than empathy, it requires intention to even begin to comprehend what people of color, no matter their class, face every moment of every day, and how much privilege, quite unconsciously, is enjoyed by those of us born White–even the poorest of us.”

After I spoke, Patrisse gave a very moving speech about mass incarceration and her brother who suffers from mental illness and was incarcerated and brutalized.

Here are the names of some of the books I have been reading in my effort to more deeply understand race and racism: “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander, “When They Call You a Terrorist” by Patrisse Cullors, “Between the World and Me,” “The Beautiful Struggle” and “We were Eight Years in Power” all 3 by Ta-Nehisi Coates and the great Zora Neale Hurston’s 1927 book “Barracoon: The Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo’” which has just been published with a forward by Alice Walker. Fascinating and moving. Hurston interviewed a former slave who remembers his life in Africa before he was taken prisoner and shipped to this country. How rare is that? There are more but I’ll stop there.

It has become clear to me as I study, that multiracial coalition-building is what the ruling class, the corporate elite, are the most afraid of. Right before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King was organizing a multi-racial Poor People’s March on Washington to bring economic justice regardless of race. This is what Reverand William Barber and his Poor People’s Campaign is attempting right now. It is this fear of multiracial unity that explains why Trump and his surrogates play the racist card at his rallies and in his policy proposals. Poor and working class Whites must be made to believe that they have privileges and advantages not afforded Blacks. That is why affirmative action, Food Stamps and Welfare are so hated by Whites who have lost their union jobs and sense of identity. They are made to believe people of color are cutting in line ahead of them. This belief is what is pushed by Trumpism. It’s the age old divide and conquer strategy.

What we need to do now is stop turning a blind eye to what’s really happening and help each other understand how racism has caused centuries-long suffering and severe disadvantage to people of color that continues today, particularly for African Americans who Whites were made to believe were not even human in order to justify slavery while still calling ourselves a Democracy. Though it’s more subtle now, Blacks continue to be prevented from enjoying the same rights and privileges Whites do. It is our colorblindness and, dare I say our willful laziness that keep us from seeing the segregated, horrifically unequal schools, the communities redlined by banks to keep Blacks out, the deliberately created food deserts and segregated ghettos where militarized police round up Black and Brown people for drug crimes that Whites are forgiven for.

When the Civil Rights Movement made gains in the ‘60s the white power elite decided to create a new Jim Crow that would not appear racist. They called it the War on Drugs. In the ‘70s Nixon’s National Domestic Policy Chief, John Ehrlichman, said this: “We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be black, but by getting the public to associate the blacks with heroin and then criminalizing them heavily, we could disrupt their communities. Did we know we were lying? Of course we did.”

In Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow” we learn that in 2 short decades, between 1980 and 2000, the number of mostly Black and Brown people incarcerated in our nations prisons and jails soared from roughly 300,000 to more than 2 million. By the end of 2007, more than 7 million Americans, one in every 31 adults, were behind bars, on probation, or on parole. This huge increase was not because crime increased but because of new laws and new instructions to police officers and prosecutors that result in extraordinary persecution and violence against people of color while appearing to be race-neutral. This has become the way to create a racial caste without ever appoearing racist. Every year more than 650,000 people are released from prison, including people with mental disorders and those whose only crime is drug addiction or possession of a small amount of recreational drugs. Again, these mostly Black and Brown people are “barred from public housing by law, discriminated against by private landlords, ineligible for food stamps, and find themselves locked out of the mainstream society and economy permanently.” Following incarceration unemployment is 50% higher for African-Americans and Latino men than white men. They did not create these conditions for themselves. The meager public assistance they receive can hardly be considered “cutting in line.” Whites have no reason to feel entitled. Our privileges were provided us at the expense of other human beings. To begin to heal from this cancer that continues to metastasize within our country, we need to acknowledge the historic harms that have been suffered by communities of color and the racism in the criminal justice system that continues today.

A rising tide doesn’t lift all boats, not the ones tied to the bottom of the ocean by racist laws and policies. What we must admit is that the far right, the Koch brothers, the Trumpists, the Steve Bannons and, yes, even some neo-liberal- Wall-Street-apologists who make sure Blacks and Browns are marginalized are the same ones who also hurt the poor and White working class by weakening labor unions, not coming up with new job development and infrastructure improvements in areas where mines and factories have closed. Once we can see that we share a common enemy, we can truly begin to unite to fight for social, political and economic equality.

Sure, some people are deeply racist and some love Trump because they think his policies will make them richer. But there are those millions of other Americans who believed his promises of jobs, of a better life, better health care, better schools. Ask them how they feel that’s turned out for them. Help them understand that there is strength in numbers and if all the people, of all ethnicities, races and genders who feel screwed and forgotten join together with a vision of a future worth fighting for we can achieve it.

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  1. Jane,
    You are amazing! You always shed light on such important issues. Racism continues to run rampid in our country and “The Fake President” has made it worse! People truly need to open their eyes and realize how much easier things have always been for us because we are white! I am going to check out the books you named and continue to pray and do what I can to help with change!
    Lisa

  2. Those incarceration numbers are staggering! Divide and conquer hits it right on the nail. Feeding us false information that causes fear is the weapon of choice. I am white, so I will never be able to completely understand what people of color go through, but I also have eyes. All I have to do is look around, observe how one is treated compared to the other. It is quite obvious. I live in an area where there is a heavy mixture of whites, blacks, Muslims . . . Though all of these groups live right by each other, there is this invisible wall that divides us. There is a lack of understanding for each other, because we have mostly been fed this false information. Imagine if we stopped to listen and talk to each other. Imagine if we all worked together. Imagine if we fought for the rights of others. We would all live in a much better world. So how do we fix this? Reach out to each other. Listen to each other. Work with each other.

  3. I appreciate this topic and glad you and others are brining it to the forefront. I ALWAYS needs to be adressed because it is so prevelant. Most white people don’t SEE racism because they dont see the more subtle expressions of racism. Ive worked as a therapist and social worker for years Im a white male, 66 years, and 6’4″. I have NEVER been stopped by the police asking me “what are you doing here?” I have never had a gun drawn on me in a routine traffic stop. However amost all my co-workers of color
    have. It stunned me when I learned that. Most white people that I have spoken to don’t want to be racist but can’t see that they are. I always see “All lives matter” in bebuttal to “Black lives matter” as a racist starement due to the ignorance and refusal to understand what the the statement “Black live matters” means.

  4. In his “Beyond Vietnam” speech delivered at New York’s Riverside Church on April 4, 1967 [a year to the day before he was murdered] Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. called the United States “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today” and warned, “We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now.”

    Rev. King was one inspiration for this Caucasian American ‘girl’ to run for US House in 2012 and to spin Rev. King’s manifesto from Birmingham Jail into a ‘Citizens of Conscience Manifesto’, which I republished in “MLK Day in the Era of Trump”:
    https://thearabdailynews.com/2018/01/14/mlk-day-era-trump/

    I have also been inspired by Thomas Paine whose self published forty page pamphlet, “Common Sense” united a disparate and disconnected group of settlers to become compatriots and rise up in rebellion to form a nation that can only thrive on dissent.

    “Soon after I had published the pamphlet “Common Sense” [on Feb. 14, 1776] in America, I saw the exceeding probability that a revolution in the system of government would be followed by a revolution in the system of religion… The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.”- Thomas Paine

    Jane Fonda began to inspire me in the ’70’s and I wrote about that in “My Year With Jane Fonda” which begins: “I was a junior in high school when Jane Fonda starred in KLUTE and inspired me to cut my waist length hair into a shag…”JANE FONDA My Life So Far” is an alarmingly honest insight into the Fonda family, losing loved ones to suicide, dysfunctional relationships, the torture of perfectionism and eating disorders, intimacy, pregnancy, divorce, spiritual transformations, callings and how Vietnam birthed her passionate political conscience and dedication to GI’s against war…
    https://thearabdailynews.com/2016/12/31/year-jane-fonda/

  5. Hey Jane! Your research is extensive and impressive. I’m half black and half Puerto Rican and there’s a lot I still don’t know about inequality but my surroundings are a great teacher. I live in North Carolina about 10 minutes from the the South Carolina line and since the primaries I’ve noticed a shift in people’s behavior. People drive around in trucks with huge Trump and rebel flags flying behind. I’ve seen people in my community I’ve grown up with openly use racial slurs on social media. Don’t even get me started on police. I don’t have problems with them but they get treated like modern day gladiators around here. All of these issues have really divided people in my area and I’m sure all through the South. Racism is almost justified through politics and religion although many people don’t show it, it’s under the surface.The South is a totally different ball game when it comes to racism and I almost forget that there are people like you in other parts of the country trying to break through these kinds of barriers. Sometimes I feel it’s easier to keep my opinions to myself and I remember that no true Jane Fonda fan could ever do that! Thanks always for the inspiration and the fire.
    Xoxo, Chase

  6. Dear Jane, I just read “Studying About Race and Racism”. You put into words what everyone, especially Trumpists, should read. I began my study when I retired from teaching in a D.C. area school that was 60% FARMS. I recently moved to South Carolina to afford a home and to be near my sister. (My married children live in Boston and Cleveland, 2 cities I find too cold!) What I found in SC among my friends and acquaintances, is an outward acceptance of people of color , but a real and often total dislike of them. Most of these upper middle class people have no knowledge of their white privilege .They are unaware of and have no desire to read books that you mentioned or any desire to identify with their state’s previous policies which caused intense suffering and disadvantage to people here. These disadvantages, of course, continue today. As you probably already know, a large majority of people here are serious Christians. As I ride around, I see an inordinately large number of churches in this town. People here call them selves religious and followers of Jesus. They should remember the simple song when they were young, “red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world. If anyone here is curious about what I believe, I tell them that I am a Humanist with a Pro people- of- color” belief. I recommend the books you listed as well as a few others. I add one book written by a woman like them (to encourage reading) titled “Waking Up White” by Debby Irving. I also add to the list ” Why are All Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria”, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”‘, and Hidden Figures”. I will finish this note without being too long winded. I so admire you, your life, your beliefs, your books, and your championing of causes that are right. Whenever I feel trapped by the people here (not too often thankfully), I just go to my friend, Jane Fonda, and put on Grace and Frankie (I love how you incorporated “Bless Your Heart” and “Ya’ll” into the show). go to see Book Club, watch you on YouTube, watch past movies, or reread “My Life So Far”, and I feel better. Keep up the good work. We seniors are empowered by you. Jane Gibson

  7. Born French with 2 grandmothers with blue-eyes, I was surprised when my mother gave me a black doll, why? because the world is not white was the answer.
    My mother had to face a visit from the Gestapo, with a baby jew under the puffy bed cover. A Miracle happened, the men did not find what they were looking for. She understood at that moment that racism can kill innocent lives and she worked on her to not be any kind of a racist. She educated me to be blind to colors and I was shocked to discover in Chicago, where I did a fellowship, how deep was the racism in the educated medical profession. Progress is always winning whatever is the terrible moment we are in today. Women are rising their voices face to the unbelievable we see every day. The good thing is this new wave of women entering the political arena. Not surprising for a French medical doctor, we see black women going to be in charge and make the difference when they vote as in Alabama. There is a long history of winning women in America which is not translated today in the real life, ERA and equal pay are the must win to respect women from now. Our last generation open doors to women, let women be in charge to stop this racism epidemy. The situation of women in a country is a marker of democracy. Make the ERA the law of the land. Vote for women in November will be my message to stop the rise of fascism in America.

  8. Totally agree with everything you written!!!
    I love and accept people for who they are, no matter what colour!! I say, more love and equality for the people!!! ❤✌
    This is a worldwide problem and I’m ready to fight for every peoples right… I fight for human rights, we are all equal!!!

  9. Jane,
    We are on the same page here. I joined VISTA back in 1969-70. I was assigned to a group to work in the “black urban ghetto.” I knew nothing about racism, people of color, our history etc .My favorite movie was “Gone with the Wind”. I had quite an awakening that permanently changed my view and had an effect on me for the rest of my life. Besides the lectures and living with a black family for six weeks in Philadelphia, I was influenced by the major books of the day; Manchild in the Promised Land, by Claude Brown; Soul on Ice, by Elderidge Cleaver; Nobody Knows My Name, by James Baldwin and my favorite was Autobiography of Malcom X. He and Eleanor Roosevelt have been heroes of mine forever. I admire people who grow. Anyone who can overcome and change from hate to Love has my admiration.
    That’s where I hope we grow. Understanding and tolerance first, recognition of our oneness to love. What I learned in VISTA is the work needs to be done with my white community. First, we have leaders like you to speak out and shine the torch. Thank you.
    I have sent your message on to my activist friend, Colleen. She attends NAACP meetings weekly faithfully. She’s has worked in a group to promote police accountability. She walks the walk as you do. Thank you. Dona xxx

  10. So glad that you are blogging and speaking on this topic. In Austin TX, there are many activists – including white folks – who are sharpening our racial lens when looking at local issue. The unjustified violence – included the killing of a naked African-American youth and the shocking violence against an African American elementary school teacher – focused us on the police contract. A broad outpouring of community concern convinced the City Council to reject the contract unanimously last December until it had better provision for true community safety. We are looking at a rewrite of our land use code and how it would likely result in gentrification on steroid. Another good book on racism in America is “Stamped from the Beginning” by Ibram X. Kendi. Check it out: https://www.ibramxkendi.com/stamped-from-the-beginning/

  11. Reading in my local newspaper about you it’s amazing how stunning and stylish you still are perfection I’m a trade union rep at my local hospital, and we in nhs have still got problems with social equality and lower paid staff. I see your your opening a book club in Britain well you be a great hit with us English men. From Kevin x

  12. Hey, Jane. I wish the people could be more like you! I mean I hate to see racism and another kinds of discrimination happening and I’m gonna share this post with the people I think need to read this. People do this automatically and for them it’s something normal. But it’s not, there’s no space for racism anymore. It just shows how silly, bad and stupid people can be. I’m Brazilian and even if it’s a “mixed” country and the majority of the people are black, I see so many unfair things, in the govern of the country there’s a few black people, the same in universities and “best jobs”. And why? Because people look at them like criminals and dumbs. I have arabic origins and I’ve listened many jokes about being a terrorist, this is bad. I see my friends hearing jokes about being black and I know how it makes them feel. So, Jane, you are so important because you give everyone a voice. There’s a song that reminds me of you “But I got a mind to show my strength
    And I got a right to speak my mind” (mainly this part) it’s called Fall In Line – Demi Lovato feat. Christina Aguilera. You should listen to. You are my inspiration for make the world a better and fair place to everyone. You are amazing, Jane Seymour Fonda! Thank you for being my happiness and my lights in my darkest days. Now talking about personal things, you give me strength to stay “fighting” and you don’t even know. I’m so proud to be your fan and to say that I love you, you are an example. Thank you for teaching me I’m not here to please man. I talk about you and your ideas to every girl and my friends are starting to do the same. I love you so much and you should come to Brazil again, we miss you so much. Big kisses from Brazil! ❤️

  13. This is right on !….one wonders if we elected the ghost of Charles Lindbergh (a’ la the Philip Roth novel, “The Plot Against America”) as our president !?!?

  14. Piacere Jane , mi chiamò Elisa ho 12 anni , vivo in un piccolissimo paese campagna. Sono una sua grandissima fan, ho guardato tutte le stagioni di “Grace and Frankie ” ed è una bellissima serie che mi ha fatto sorridere tante volte. Desidero tanto una nuova stagione, e le devo confessare che mi piace molto come si veste e la trovo sempre molto elegante. Il mio desiderio più grande è di incontrarla e di conoscerla , ma so che non potrà mai succedere. Ammiro molto tutto quello che fá.

    ❣Spero davvero tanto che lei mi risponda Saluti dall’Italia!!

  15. https://youtu.be/l_LeJfn_qW0 is a SNL skit by Eddie Murphy that opened my white eyes to white privilege. Hate is taught and right now we have political leaders which the white supremacist can look up to and quote. Our national press and politicians have no backbone to call these actions out. Does Trump have a Department of Propaganda, yes, FOX news. We need a viable Truth Squad. I just hope we have lost a generation of youth who are being raised on this hate.

  16. Sim Jane !
    Sair do comodismo para ir ao encontro de milhares de milhares que sofrem a dor do preconceito. No Brasil há um grande esforço para erradicação do preconceito de todos os modos. Mas estamos longe dessas conquistas. Sempre haverá uma luz no fim do túnel! Não podemos desanimar.

  17. Jane, I know I’m a little annoying, but I want to write you a letter, could you give your email address? If you already have a new one, the previous one you gave me the letter returned, please, I love you.

  18. Is mail adress no email, please

    • My mail goes to:
      P.O. Box 10927
      Beverly Hills, CA 90209

      • Jane , I sent you my letter, I tracked the shipment and they didn’t find the address, I know that I am very foolish but, you can give me another adress? Sorry for the insistence, love you.

        • PO Box 10927, Beverly Hills, CA 90209. I am receiving things from my blog community so this should work. Fingers crossed, Candita.

          • Jane, I changed my strategy, a friend sent my letter from Texas, the letter is already available for pickup, love you. Candita

          • In USPS told my friend that the postal code of Beverly Hills is 90213, sorry for the insistence about this, but I thing is important for you receive your mails, love you

  19. Hello Jane, I’m 19 and I’m from U.K., I’ve followed you for along time! Just wanted to say thank you for everything, you’ve helped me so much and you don’t even know it. I’ve had over 25 major operation growing up so spent most of my life in hospital, I always felt you were there, you always made me laugh and that’s what made my time in hospital and my childhood a little more bearable. I hope you can come to the U.K. one day or I could meet you in USA in August or even just to speak to you on phone or in person to thank you for everything, you’ve had such an impact on people. I’ll forevrr be thankful, I have nothing but gratitude and love for you. You deserve nothing but joy, peace, love and happiness. Love you always.
    Bethany xx

  20. HI Jane, Have you read Hillbilly Elegy? Interesting view on why disenfranchised whites object to social programs. It was an eye-opener. Like realizing that I’ve seen racism all my life, sometimes up close and personal (one lunch date with a black co-worker, for example), yet believed, as a white woman, that these were exceptions rather than actual policy! Thanks for speaking out, once again. You’re fabulous. 🙂

  21. Jane, Finishing reading “Prime Time”. Since my mother had breast cancer for first time in 1973 and again in 1998, I’ve spent my adult life studying how to keep myself as well as possible. You mention briefly what getting into meditation meant for you but I’d like you to share more. I believe I need to take the big step of going to a meditation “camp”, so to speak, for several days. What program did you use? Any advise? Could you be specific about where you went, how many days? I’m trying to get up the courage to do it. Warm regards, Ellen

    • Ellen, There’s an appendix t the end of PRIME TIME with more info on meditation. transcendental Meditation is a good way to go. 20 min in the AM and 20 min in the PM but you need to be trained and given a mantra. Look up TM nearest you.

  22. Hi Jane, as a sociology student at university, I can’t wait to read the books you have recommended as I have read part of Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow” for my course and it was incredibly informative and enlightening albeit a little devastating. Thank you for the incredible recommendations, particularly the Black Lives Matter memoir which I can’t wait to get to! I also wanted to mention that as I’m from the UK, I only just got around to watching Book Club yesterday and it was incredible! I recently got diagnosed with a chronic illness and watching such an uplifting and funny movie was a really great distraction which put me in a fantastic mood – you were incredible in it as usual! Thank you for being fantastic always and for inspiring me to open my eyes and educate myself xx

  23. Hi Jane
    I was born in a small town in the interior of São Paulo, Brazil 50 years ago. I live in Sao Paulo today. I read her book “My Life So Far” in 2016 and I identified with many of her stories, from childhood, adolescence and adulthood among others, with her doubt about continuing her career as an actress, because I had these questions too and left the art for many years, because I wondered how I could be an actress while there is so much wrong in the world … Today I think without art we would be much worse. Your book helped me a lot because I saw that I was not alone.
    I see your activism and I admire your courage, your love and your generosity. I confess that it bothers me a bit his various apologies about the episode of Vietnam, because I think you acted right. I as a South American can not close my eyes to the domination and exploitation of North America and Europe over Latin America and Africa. This has always put me off learning to speak English, for example, (which I’m doing now with You tube and watching Grace & Frankie, which I love), and also getting to know the United States of America, among other things. I have been thinking about patriotism that is very strong in you Americans, something that does not happen here in Brazil. Most Brazilians do not have the same love of their country as the Americans, which is perhaps the reason why we are facing difficulties here today. We are a colonized Country and this egregora is still very strong. Most only think of taking advantage in everything. Who knows if we had half a dozen people with a character equal to yours in our Congress, we were not experiencing a crisis like this – the worst of our history; we face here a moral, ethical, educational, health, safety, financial, environmental crisis. We are the Country that kills the LGBT + population in the world, every 2 hours a woman is murdered, we have 135 cases of rapes a day, 70% of these are children and adolescents, these are the numbers registered, which is very little here, especially sex crimes, so these numbers are much higher. The indigenous population is being exterminated and this does not appear in any newspaper. Today we live a veiled dictatorship. You made me look at you Americans differently, as did the Vietnamese who did not hate you. I thought it was so beautiful. I understand that there are good and bad people everywhere and that we need to look with love for what is not good, because only then will we be able to transform. My father was Italian and today I think of going the opposite way to his, unfortunately it is very difficult to live here. I love Brazil and I dream that one day we can overcome our difficulties. Today I saw that our Government finished selling 3/4 of our pre-salt, and one of the buying companies was EXXON MOBIL. I can not forget Eduardo Galeano’s book – The Open Veins of Latin America, where he shows how much we have been exploited for centuries. But as I believe that each one is where it is set, I know we have to improve ourselves first so that the environment can be transformed. I am a spiritualist and today I understand that there is no right or wrong, but experiences. I study quantum physics and know that we attract what we vibrate and feel, so we have to vibrate a lot of love and compassion for these rulers so that we can transform our current situation.
    Thank you for everything Jane. With love ROMANA
    PS – On another day I talk about Ayahuasca. I saw your interview with Lily about this drink. Here in Brazil Ayahuasca is released and is not classified as a drug. I participate in shamanic rituals and the spiritual experience is fantastic. I solved many emotional and psychological issues with the help of Madressita. If you are interested in NETFLIX you have a documentary that talks about the active principle of this plant that is DMT – THE SPIRIT MOLECULE. DMT is a substance that our own body produces and enables us to interact with the Divine.

    • Romana, I ache for Brazil, a country I have visited many times and LOVE. I am so saddened by what’s happening there. xxx

  24. I’d love to see you sit in all the war cannon and end all the wars on our planet.

    Sorry for my English.

  25. Jane,
    I just finished reading. Born A Crime” by Trevor Noah for my book club this month. It was a wonderful easy read on racism. I learned so much. I highly recommend it. I look forward to discussing it with the club on the 23rd. There are so many ways to keep growing just by listening to the varied experiences of others. Just wanted to share. Dona xx

  26. My dear Jane, a quick word:
    I was here sitting and wondering; after all the years, the good and the bad, after it all… i hope you know how important, relevant and loved you are for everything you do. Thank you, for never EVER giving up.
    Love XXX
    Isabel

  27. .. the unlikely pair of President Trump and Kim Jong Un have now personally met , as did opposing ideologues Nixon and Mao…and, too, though representing opposing ideologies, Hitler and Stalin signed a friendship agreement (altho they did not meet Hitler did meet with Molotov ), but we know what that led to…
    I saw “Book Club,” nice to see long-time movie actresses acting, and acting together, again…I am not a film reviewer only to say I enjoyed the movie… ..incidentally, it was on June 11. 1962, in Michigan, that Students for a Democratic Society issued their historical Port Huron Statement in booklet form, spawning the birth of the “New Left”; several year later I sent my copy of the booklet to the late activist-politician Tom Hayden, who was the primary author of the manifesto, as he, ironically, did not have a copy. For more info, contact http://michiganintheworld.history.isa.umich.edu/antivietnamwar/exhibits/show/exhibit/origins-of-students-for-a-demo/port_huron_statement

  28. The Tony’s allow someone of modest means like myself to experience a small glimpse into those beautiful, wonderful productions and the magnificently creative artists who use that medium. I will probably never get to NY so I LOVE the Tony Awards. This is what I loved most this year;
    1. The theme this yr. Almost everyone seemed to be on the same page of inclusivity, acceptance and love.
    2. Some of the speeches, i.e; Glenda Jackson, so very gracious. Ken Davenport, “get to your YES.” Tony Kushner (sp. wrong) a gay producer encouraging us to vote and a shout out to Judy Garland for a Happy Birthday.
    3. “The Band’s Visit”, winning.
    4,the school kids who survived the school shooting singing about LOVE.
    5.their teacher being recognized.
    There are such good people in this community who encourage us and give us hope. The night was full of them. Their voice was loud and wonderful.
    Jane, I thought of you throughout that night and how much you lift your voice as one of this community. I just wanted to thank you for all of that, again. Dona xxx

  29. I would like to suggest another book for you to read, War Against All Puerto Ricans by Nelson A. Denis. History repeats itself. It would help you to better understand what we, as a colony, are suffering today. The modern day subtle genocide that is occuring right now towards us, masked by hurricanes Irma and María. Hope you follow this suggestion and help us to make our voices be heard.

    • Thank you, AfroBoricuaPrincess, I will read that book. xx

  30. Hello Ms. Fonda,
    First of all, I have been a fan of your work since I was in junior high; I am now 60 years old. I wrote to you a couple of years ago about the conviction of Jodi Arias in Phoenix, AZ. I asked you to help Jodi as she did not receive a fair trial due to prejudiced media coverage, ineffective assistance of counsel, prosecutor misconduct, and jury tampering. I don’t know if you did not receive my letter that I sent to your Atlanta office, but you never replied. If you truly care about women’s rights, please acquaint yourself with the case of Jodi Ann Arias, who is currently serving Life w/o Possibility of Parole at Perryville Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. Someone with a powerful voice like yours would make a difference in her situation. Thank you.

    • Dear Sue, I afraid I didn’t get your letter about the Jodi Arias case. But here’s the thing: I’m afraid I don’t have a sliver of extra time nor energy to take on a case such as this. It requires investigatine, hiring someone, staying on top of it, etc etc and, much as I know too many receive unfair sentences, I’m unable to make this a cause of mine. Please understand. xx

  31. I’m super happy to see you’re coming to Traverse City for the Film Festival and relieving the TCFF Lifetime Achievement Award later this summer! I grew up a little over an hour from Traverse City. Can’t wait to see you there! xx

  32. Hello my dear! I find it so touching that you take the time to read the comments here and reply whenever you can, as we all know you are an extremely busy lady! I just wanted to pop in and ask, that with your deep devotion to activism what you might suggest is a way all of us little people around the world can help with the devastating separation of immigrant families in the US? As a young Canadian it is hard to feel like there is anything we can really do, but as I’m sure you can attest any small part matters! Is there a specific organization you can suggest one donates to? Or places one can send letters? Thank you so much for all you do to try to make this world a better place, I hope in these trying times you continue to keep your mental health a priority as I, someone who has gone through a lot of the same struggles know it’s difficult to do with all of the chaos. Take care xoxo

  33. Jane
    I just wanted to give you an update on the mug shot hoodie I bought from your site. I LOOOVE it SOOO SOO much. It’s totally my favorite hoodie of all time! Thank God I bought it. I’m so proud to wear it and to show you, my rolemodel, to the world! Thank you <3
    Elise xxx

  34. I’ve always liked the things you have said about 9 to 5
    The credit you give to colin higgins
    And your quip that the sequel might be titled
    “5 to 9”

  35. Jane,
    You and Lily have a new fan. My dear friend’s granddaughter came from Israel and she stayed with me for a while. I took her touring Western Washington, Rain forest etc then we hung out at my place and binged on Grace and Frankie. We only got through five episodes but she says that she is hooked and will watch all of them. She’s 22 yrs old, is in a very restrictive set of Judaism called Labovacher. (sp). She came here to teach for a year.and be near her grandmother. She hopes to make her base in New York as she has duel citizenship.
    I loved sharing Grace and Frankie with her. For myself, every time I watch you and Lily, I am again amazed with profound awe at your performances. It’s wonderful that new generations will see them and discover, and feel that same amazement and awe plus, of course, and just be wonderfully entertained. Grace and Frankie is something that everyone involved with it should feel pride and satisfaction for having a hand in it’s creation.
    I’m eager for the fifth season to come out, but so far, I’ve seen no notice as to the release date. ???
    I know you are on the road campaigning and deep into support to get people involved. Take care of yourself. Please. Dona xxx

  36. Jane I have been a fan of yours for nearly 45 years. You are a great actress, but more importantly you are a human being who just continues to grow and expand. Since you are educating yourself on racism, I have a great book to recommend to you. It is titled Stamped From the Beginning by Kendi Ibram X.
    The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. Nation Books, 2016. Paperback Edition.

    Stamped From The Beginning: The Definive History of Racist Ideas in America opens with a preface in the paperback edition. This addition address the change in political climate from the time of original hardcover publication to the printing of the paperback. In this time, President Barack Obama was replaced by President Donald Trump, the “candidate of angry bigots” (ix).

    The prologue addresses the historical moment in which Stamped From The Beginning was written. It outlines Kendi’s belief that racist and antiracist ideas have both evolved together throughout history. This is in opposition to the common belief that society is constantly moving away from racism toward antiracism. Kendi also introduces the key three groups on the side of the racial debate: segregationists, assimilationists, and antiracists. These groups and their differing ideologies will continue to recur through the manuscript. Kendi argues that racist ideology is any thought process which presents one group, as a whole, to be inferior to others.

    Part One focuses on the early colonial period in America but also flashes back to the birth of racist thought in Antiquity and the start of the African slave trade in the Middle Ages. It addresses how laws supporting slavery were written into American constitutions and it also examines different pseudo-scientific theories and religious ideologies which propagate the belief in racial inequalities. In this section, Kendi also explains how many racial stereotypes were born and perpetuated in America’s early days.

    Part Two introduces more assimilationist thoughts and Enlightenment Era ideas about race. The assimilationist ideology, as Kendi explains, promoted the idea that Black people could be “improved” by adopting White culture. This is the main idea behind the tactic of uplift suasion in which Black people are required to demonstrate their “capability for equality” (121). Kendi stresses that the idea that one group should have to prove their equality or should adopt the cultural traditions of the dominant group is racist. While assimilationists may advocate emancipation, their philosophies are not truly antiracist. Part Two uses the hypocrisy of politician and slave owner Thomas Jefferson to demonstrate that slavery in America is less a moral question but a question of economic interest.

    Part Three goes into further detail on emancipation as abolitionist movements gain ground in the nineteenth century. It takes readers through Abraham Lincoln’s early political career and the Civil War era with an emphasis on clarifying Lincoln’s true position on race and slavery. Kendi emphasises that Lincoln’s primary motivation was to keep the Union together by any means necessary, not to address the issue of slavery. The end of this section discusses how the post-Civil War Reconstruction period set policies in place which would keep emancipated Black people in positions of disempowerment and social inequity.

    Part Four covers the long period of Jim Crow laws and segregation as well as the early days of the Civil Rights movement. Kendi addresses the lynching era and the continued American narrative of the “Negro problem” (279). Kendi discusses how racist ideologies have persisted and reinforced negative stereotypes about the Black population. He introduces the idea of media suasion in which new forms of entertainment such as film were used “to persuade away racist ideas” (323). However, Kendi provides examples of popular culture which did more to reinforce racial stereotypes than dissuade them. Kendi also addresses how early 20th century economics and politics ended up keeping the Black population in disenfranchised positions. For example, segregationists in charge of state governments were able to prevent the benefits of the New Deal and the post WWII GI Bill from reaching Black communities. Readers see how these government benefits, which birthed the White middle class in the mid-20th century, were excluded from Black people due to racist ideology and White self-interest.

    In Part Five, readers are taken through the key years of the Civil Rights movement and into the Black Power movement. Kendi emphasizes the importance of Black communities having power of their own local governance and of rediscovering their own culture, separate from the dominant White culture. Kendi also discusses the influence of more recent popular culture such as the films of Spike Lee and rap music. He addresses the human genome project which, in the 1990s, finally settled the question of racial difference by determining that, in genetic terms, humans are all the same. The later portion of his section discusses the Obama era and emphasizes that the election of a Black president does not mean that America is living in a post-racial society.

    In the epilogue, Kendi emphasizes the myth of post-racialism and discusses contemporary antiracist movements such as Black Lives Matter. Kendi offers suggestions for how to undermine racial discrimination. He believes that “any effective solution to eradicating American racism must involve Americans committed to antiracist policies seizing and maintaining power over institutions, neighborhoods, counties, states, nations—the world”

    It is a book every American should read.

    keep growing and being an example of one willing to learn.

    Clarence Campbell

  37. Jane
    Finally I was able to watch ” Book Club” after all the wait. The original release date here was June 8th and I was super excited, but then it got delayed to September and then August… I was so sad… But now my time was finally here and I just came out of the cinema and it was sooo good! Your character with Arthur I’m such a big fan of yours ( as you know) and it was super lovely to see you in a movie together with all those amazing actresses. I really hope I’ll be able to meet you sometime, that’d be such a dream come true (probably you also already know from my earlier comments)❤️ Anyway thanks a lot for joining the club (movie), it really was AMAZING.
    Elise xxx

  38. Jane Fonda! Hello! Thank you for this blog post about race and racism. You inspired me get some perspective so I to listen (using Audible) to The New Jim Crow, When they call you a Terrorist, and Barracoon. I am looking forward listening to The Beautiful Struggle and Between the World and Me soon as well. In addition I listened to I’m Still here: Black Dignity in a world made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown and am currently listening to Parting The Waters by Taylor Branch. Well, I definitely got some perspective, a new perspective on race and racism in America. I am kind of stunned as I digest and cogitate on all the information and accounts I have just listened to in these books. I am white, middle class, 51 year olds and female. How did I get this far in life so unaware of what is happening to so many people around me? You are helping my nictitating membrane retract, helping my cataracts clear, helping me remove my white middle class blinders. Where to go from here, what to do I not know yet, but I do know that my eyes and heart have just been opened to this important humanity issue. Your blog has brought me into awareness of race and racism like never before, helped to start educating me and become aware of the realities of race and racism in our white patriarchal society, and stirred compassion for this issue within me. Quite a gift! Keep on fighting the good fight Jane! You are making a difference one person at a time! Wow!
    Thank you!
    Lisa

    • Why does this say awaiting moderation??

      • Lisa, I’m going to tell you what I have figured out because new posters often ask this question as I did, but you generally figure it out by yourself over time. Waiting in moderation means that Jane who is super busy living her life and commitments may only look at the posts about once a month. So whatever you have posted waits to be reviewed and responded to until she can get time to read it. Sometimes if what is posted is too personal or isn’t something she is comfortable with having posted it may stay in moderation. Sometimes, I have stated that I would rather she just read it and not post it if I am mentioning someone and I want it to be private. But that is rare, because as she states above she does this to open a line of communication with all the posters. I have noticed generally, she comes on around the 19th to 22nd, but not always. It’s just when she has time and something she wants us to know. So, welcome.. I loved what you posted. Dona

  39. Jane,
    I’m feeling good, today because I did my civic duty and voted for people who I think will continue or begin a career of service to this nation. I also contributed again to ONWARD TOGETHER, which is supporting 11 other groups which are working to bring new leadership to our country. These are their names; Alliance for Youth Action; The Arena; The Collective; Color of Change; Emerge America; Indivisible; iVote; Latino Victory; Run for Something; Swing Left; and Voto Latino.
    Reading about what they are accomplishing is giving me hope. I embrace the search for and upliftment of diversity .I’m feeling good today. Just wanted to share that. Dona xx

  40. On a personal note, I tried reaching out to Lily and Jane on their TOMLIN/WAGNER site but it seems they are all about tweeting, Facebook, and all the other newer ways of communicating now that I don’t use. Their website hasn’t been updated since 2017. So I’m bummed. I can’t even do an emojo here, I’m so behind. So, imagine an upside down u as my mouth. Dona uuuu

  41. Jane Fonda! Hello! Thank you for this blog post about race and racism. You inspired me get some perspective! I to listen (using Audible) to “The New Jim Crow”, lWhen they call you a Terrorist”, “Barracoon”, and “The Beautiful Struggle”. In addition I listened to “I’m Still here: Black Dignity in a world made for Whiteness” by Austin Channing Brown and am currently listening to Parting The Waters by Taylor Branch. Well, I definitely got some perspective, a new perspective on race and racism in America. I am kind of stunned as I digest and cogitate on all the information and accounts I have just listened to in these books. I am white, middle class, 51 year olds and female. How did I get this far in life so unaware of what is happening to so many people around me? You are helping my nictitating membrane retract, helping my cataracts clear, helping me remove my white middle class blinders. Where to go from here, what to do I not know yet, but I do know that my eyes and heart have just been opened to this important humanity issue. Your blog has brought me into awareness of race and racism like never before, helped to start educating me and become aware of the realities of race and racism in our white patriarchal society, and stirred compassion for this issue within me. Quite a gift! Keep on fighting the good fight Jane! You are making a difference one person at a time! Wow!
    Thank you!
    Lisa

  42. I miss you, go back to the blog.

  43. I’ve been thinking about how I could give myself a wonderful birthday present by going to Milwaukee on Nov 3rd, but the timing and the cost is prohibitive. If I thought I could actually meet you I think I would do it, but that doesn’t seem likely.Instead, I’m looking forward to Sept 24th. At least I do have HBO. The clip looks wonderful and sounds like it will be as substantive and uplifting as your books. All Fonda fans will be delighted. I am really looking forward to it. If you ever do something on the west coast, it is more likely that I will get there some way as I would love to see you in person. I’m sure you will have a packed audience, Break a leg. Dona xx

  44. Possibly going to a fundraiser on Sunday for Maria Cantwell. Corey Booker is suppose to be there. He is an inspirational speaker and I like how he sounds. We agree pretty much on politics except for the middle east. But need to support Maria. So far two of my candidates have made it through the primaries; Dr. Kim Schier and Lisa Brown for congress. My senate candidates have a tough road ahead. When you contribute they send out thank you postcards. I’m getting quite a collection. So hold positive thoughts for Tina Smith, Tammy Baldwin and Claire McCaskill. Thumbs up! Dona

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