How to Educate Yourself About Racism

As the world has been going through a series of historical protests following George Floyd‘s passing, more and more people who are not part of the Black Community are wondering if their voice matters and how they can help.

“Black Lives Matter” means that black lives matter just as much as others’ and that they should be treated as equals.

Now more than ever, everyone who gets the opportunity to be educated on the matter and empathizes with the Black Community can make a great change.

If you feel powerless, or as though you don’t have the strength to make a change, educating yourself about racism is the first step. You can begin by reading books, watching documentaries, or listening to podcasts to make change within yourself and eventually within your community.

 Image: Autumn Lin Photography/Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

PODCASTS:

The Diversity Gap 

Bethany Wilkinson invites you to join her to explore the gap between good intentions and good impact as it relates to diversity, inclusion, and equality. She is joined by thought leaders, authors, creatives and more.

 

1619 (by the NY Times)

This podcast retraces the story of a ship carrying more than 20 enslaved Africans in 1619, and that arrived in the English colony of Virginia when America was not yet America.

 The Code Switch Podcast (by O, DJ & Tom)

Three black women working in corporate America share their experiences, laughs, advice and daily issues that they face in their workplace.

Pod for the Cause

This podcast encourages conversations on critical civil and human rights challenges of today. The hosts want to spur activism and drive change in different communities and countries.

 

Intersectionality Matters!

Kimberlé Crenshaw, an American civil rights advocate and a leading scholar of critical race theory, hosts this podcast and features interviews from some of the world’s most innovative artists, activists, and scholars.

Image: Atsushi Nishijima/Netflix

DOCUMENTARIES

I Am Not Your N*gro

This documentary is based on James Baldwin‘s unfinished manuscript Remember This House and is narrated by actor Samuel L. Jackson.

The 93-minute documentary (available on Netflix) is a memoir recounting the lives of Baldwin’s close friends and civil rights leaders, such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Medgar Evers.

 

3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets

This documentary was directed by Marc Silver. It is about the November 23, 2012 shooting of Jordan Davis, an unarmed African American teenager, at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida. His shooter, Michael Dunn, claimed in court that he thought Davis possessed a shotgun and was going to harm him. This specific event got a lot of media coverage and sparked protests from the Black Lives Matter movement.

13th

In this documentary (directed by Ava DuVernay), students, activists, and politicians analyze the criminalization of African-Americans and the prison boom in the United States.

When They See Us

The story takes place in 1989. Five teenagers of color are arrested, interrogated, and forced to admit their alleged implication in the violent rape of a woman in Central Park. Created by Ava DuVernay, this film will help you empathize and dive deep in social injustice.

 

Generation Revolution

This documentary focuses on a new generation of black and brown activists who put effort into changing the dynamic of the social and political landscape in London and beyond. It tells the story of the evolvement of several characters as they go through personal and political experiences.

                                                                                                                  Image Credit : Alizée Gamberini

BOOKS

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race

Written by Reni Eddo-Lodge, this book has generated a national conversation in the United States. It explores various topics such as the eradication of black history, the unfair link between class and race… It encourages to rise against racism and stop being silent.

 

The Color Of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

Author Rochard Rothstein exposes the way American governments imposed racial segregation on the biggest cities in the nation during the 20th Century.

 

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race

Beverly Daniel Tatum invites you to walk into racially mixed schools and observe the fact that pupils of color usually stay within their own groups. The purpose of the book is to address a form of self-segregation as it discusses whether it’s a problem or a coping mechanism.

So You Want to Talk About Race

This New York Times bestseller by Iljeoma Oluo examines the notion of race in America. It guides readers of all ethnic backgrounds through subjects such as intersectionality and affirmative action to “model minorities” in an attempt to generate honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.

 

Heavy: An American Memoir

This book was named “Best Book of 2018” by the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, NPR, and many other corporations that acknowledged the quality of Kiese Laymon’s work.

The author tells personal stories and talks in all honesty about growing up a hard-headed black son to a complicated and brilliant black mother in Jackson, Mississippi. It is a way to immerse yourself in a black person’s life and live through the ups and downs of their lives.

 LA Protests • 2020 • Unknown

White privilege refers to the fact that white people never face rejection based on the color of their skin as they apply to jobs, go to hospitals, schools, and more. This is what people of color want white people to understand. The black community does not want white people to speak on their behalf about the way they should or should not feel since it’s not something they face in their everyday lives. Instead, they want to walk hand-in-hand with them to help make a change.

All these resources have the purpose to educate and raise awareness for the black community’s struggles. They should help you understand how it feels like to live in a society that is still afraid of racial differences and full of misconceptions related to people’s ethnicities.

If you empathize more, you can help more.

Click here to donate to the Black Lives Matter movement.

 Featured Image by Josiah Jackson • Austin Protests, 2020

By Meriem Toumi

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