#WoWaWildBookClub – BLM & Code Switching

As we venture into this book club on race and racism in America, I want to remind you that that myself (and the lovely women who have helped me come up with the below reflections and resources) are not experts, but come only with good intentions and open hearts and minds (you can find the Guidelines for Engagement here.) Our hope is that each and every one of us starts a learning journey within ourselves, explores uncomfortable feelings, and learns about the world from a perspective that is not our own. Our intention is that within this respectful and vulnerable community, we can all do that openly and honestly.

With each section of reading, we have decided to explore a specific part of race/racism that presents itself in the book. The process will go like this: (1) Myself and my book club partners will gather reflection questions from The Hate You Give resources, (2) we will gather related resources such as videos, podcasts and articles that are from experts related to the questions, (3) we will compile those questions and resources here on #WoWaWild, (4) we will email this page and the reading timeline to each of you as well as publish this page on the website for you to reference at any time, (5) you will read and reflect – sharing your responses back with me, (6) I will compile those responses and share them back out with the group for us to hear many voices and responses.

Note: You will absolutely have the option to keep your responses anonymous or entirely private, but I do hope you will do them (as this is where the work happens). As I would never ask you to do something I am not willing to do, I will be reflecting on each of the questions below publicly before sharing any responses from any other #WoWaWildBookClub member.

If you read ahead, or want to take more time to read then what we have laid out – this is all fine! We will ensure that each of the sections lives here on #WoWaWild where you can find each section when you are ready for it.

I look forward to this journey along side each and every one of you.

xx Chelsie

Thank you again to Becky Woodruff and Katie Fox for their incredible support and expertise in this process.

Reading: Chapters 1 – 8
Timeline: June 3 – June 17

Submit responses to your reflection in the #WoWaWildBookClub Session One Response Form or find the form at the bottom of this page.


1. Before you read the story: Write down what you currently know about the Black Lives Matter movement and current social justice issues. 

2. In the first chapter, Khalil and Starr listen to Tupac in the car. Khalil explains what Tupac said “Thug Life” meant. Reflect on what this acronym means and how it relates to social justice and the BLM movement.

3. Throughout the book, Starr talks about how she’s different “versions” of herself. She’s one person in Garden Heights and a different person at her school, Williamson Prep. This is called “code-switching,” when a person feels they must speak and act differently in one social situation than in another. Where does code-switching come up in the first section? What are some instances of code-switching you’ve noticed in your day-to-day life? Take some time to reflect on this concept and how it may impact yourself and others.  

Here are ways outside of the book that you can explore this topic with podcasts, videos, articles and social media!


Code Switch on NPR – start withTalk American
Ologies – start with Phonology (Language)


Jamila Lyiscott’s 4-minute TED Talk “3 Ways to Speak English,” a meditation on code-switching that unpacks the word ‘articulate.’
15 minute interview with Black Lives Matter Founders on TED


Learn more about the Black Lives Matter movement by exploring the organization’s website. To access additional sections for more of the story, click the About tab at the top of the page.
Five Reasons People Code Switch on NPR
Psychologists show how accent shapes our perception of a person from Science Daily


@codeswitch on Instagram and @NPRCodeSwitch twitter
@BlackLivesMatter on Instagram and @Blklivesmatter on twitter

Do you have other resources to share? Please share them in the comments below for us all to benefit from!

2 thoughts on “#WoWaWildBookClub – BLM & Code Switching

  1. I know that it’s on every anti-racist book list but I just want to encourage people to read either “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America” by Ibram X. Kendi or “Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You” by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. The first is a comprehensive book of 594 that takes you on a journey from before the United States was founded to present day, examining the racist underpinning of our nation. Stamped is aimed at a YA audience but is also a great read, it follows the same timeline but in a more condensed way.

  2. Listen to the podcast episode by Brene Brown..it’s called Brene with Ibram X. Kendi on How to be Antiracist. Podcast is Unlocking Us. SO worth the 61 minute listen.

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