As a white woman, I will never understand what it is like to be judged for the colour of my skin. I have used the past few weeks to educate myself on the horrific acts against Black people and POC in my country and how I can change my actions to help fight. Systemic racism didn't stop when segregation did, and I want to use my platform to educate the misinformed and promote melanated voices.
Growing up in White America, there is a lot I don't understand. It is my job as an ally and antiracist to learn the truth and promote it. While it is early in my education - and I'm still making mistakes - I have found several sources that explain the historical and current racism in America. I share these in the hope that you find them as informative and eye-opening as I have, and they encourage you to fight.
On Netflix, this documentary follows the gross misuse of the prison system to enslave Black people. A visual, factual narrative commands attention and explains how the government uses racism in policy making. 1 in 3 black men will go to jail, and it needs to stop.
Want to donate to the fight?
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
The book jacket starts with "exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality." Which really is all you need to know this book is going to teach you that you were brought up a little racist. Just by living as a white person. I've just started this one, but already have felt embarrassed by my own actions. It's a first step to learning how to be a better ally, which is what I want to be.
Dear White People
Before a few weeks, did you think racism was something from the 1950s? A lot of people were with you. This cutting, funny, honest Netflix show covers modern racism as it pertains to the youngest generation. It's entertaining, but so educational about young Black experiences. Each chapter covers a different character and how they deal with their own identity in a white world. A must-watch for everyone.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
At some point in your life, you benefitted from a woman that history minimized. Henrietta Lacks's cancer cells have done so much for the scientific and medical industries, and we don't learn her name in school. I love, love, love this book and Rebecca's commitment to telling Henrietta and her family's story. There is also an HBO movie, but I highly recommend starting with the book.
As I said above, I want to promote melanated voices. And we can start by buying from Black-owned businesses. Official Black Wall Street is a directory for every kind of service you can imagine. If you want to buy from Black-owned businesses and aren't sure where to start, this is a great resource.
How to Be Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
I haven't started this yet, but I've heard so many great things. The opposite of racism is not "not racist", it is "antiracist". This book points out new ways to think about race and how we think of our fellow humans. I look forward to reading his suggestions to creating an antiracist society.
Places to Donate + Petitions to Sign
It's not enough to just talk about being an antiracist, we have to put our money where our mouth is. Here are a few places I have put my support behind:
This is in no way a comprehensive list of everything you can do to be a better ally. This is where I am starting. In the future I want to continue these resources, showcase Black-owned brands, and fight to stop this toxic system. I hope you will join me.
If you read/watch/peruse any of the above, please share your thoughts in the comments! I would love to hear your thoughts.