It’s been such a heavy few weeks. Across the country, all 50 states and over a dozen countries worldwide have engaged in daily protests against police brutality. Riots have ensued as political unrest grows. The leader of the free world has exhibited increasingly agitated behavior. If one thing is clear, it’s this: the people are tired.
Yet in this case, emotional and mental fatigue are not synonymous with inaction. The people are in fact emboldened, more motivated than ever to demand their government become better. Their desire is so urgent, so vigorous, that they are literally risking their lives by gathering in thousands amidst a burgeoning global pandemic. At a time when few businesses are open due to social distancing rules and various degrees of lockdown, people have chosen to hit the streets. They are calling out broken promises, broken policies, and defending the memory of lost lives all while tending to their own broken hearts.
As much as the United States has been burning this past couple of weeks (both literally and figuratively), so many have also been asking how they can help. Just a couple of weeks ago, I penned an essay that discussed how these incidents have made me feel and what all of us — White Americans specifically — need to do to advance the fight against injustice. If racism is an enemy to justice, we must attack racism. And if racism in America is primarily perpetrated by White people, then we need their lead in the charge to end it.
I’m not naive to think we will eliminate racism or hatred from the face of the earth. But when we speak of making things better, we have to get to the root.
What’s encouraged me so much is seeing the multicultural makeup of protesters across the world. I know you don’t want to be performative in your activism. I know you want the actions you take to have an effect. I know that many of you are still looking for the proper terms of art to initiate discussions in your community. We need your voices. We need your action.
In the midst of this, things are likely going to get uncomfortable, as it did for Izabella, a Louisiana teen whose tearful TikTok video went viral this week. In the 35 second clip, she explained that she’d argued with her family who was trying to convince her that George Floyd, whose death at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers sparked widespread outrage, “deserved [to die] ’cause he did something wrong.” It’s a trend that many youths on social media have shared.
I want you all to stay encouraged. Even if you find yourself alienated by those close to you, know that this is a pivotal time in history. Truth, love, justice…these are values that have no color. Let’s not confuse guilt with conviction. Injustice is not a proper punishment for committing a crime or for simply being Black.
As we fight racism, remember that its younger siblings are prejudice and bias. No matter what part of the spectrum you may find yourself as a Black person, White person or other, know that combating these things will help us to move forward. It’s not enough to simply be neutral or “not racist.” We must be actively anti-racist, which indicates that our words, thoughts and actions serve the purpose of ending and combating racism in all its forms.
That includes understanding the intersectional perspectives of suffering and oppression that we face: for example, the crossroads between racism and sexism, homophobia and xenophobia. All of these things intersect because we have more than one identity.
With that being said, I created this not-so-exhaustive list of resources that is good for everyone looking to understand more about race in America. Educational systems have failed us over and over, so we must do the work individually.
Here you will find Literature: poetry, novels, memoirs, textbooks, nonfiction, speeches; Music: albums, songs and playlists; Films and TV shows; YouTube videos; Podcasts; Organizations; Historical sites/institutions and Activists to follow.
Some of these media directly address race and others are beautiful stories that I included to humanize the Black experience. Being Black is not all pain and suffering.
Let’s repeat that: The Black experience is not all pain and suffering!
I hope this provides some kind of stepping stone in your journey to change. Most, but not all, of these resources focus on Black-White dynamics within the United States, as that is where my personal expertise lies. Please let this list lead you to find additional resources in spaces where I am not as well-versed, such as Latinx, indigenous and immigrant experiences in the States, minority experiences abroad and LGBTQIA+ perspectives.
It is not enough to eliminate assumptions about one group of people while remaining ignorant about another.
As I was curating this list I feared leaving out something valuable, but then I remembered that the goal is to give you not only knowledge but a different perspective with which to see the world. So start here and let these tools lead you where you need to go. Fight the urge to defend what you already know or how you feel and simply listen/read/watch to understand. I hope by diving into this list you “lose the world, and gain the universe” (C. JoyBell C).
Click below to access and download the guide, complete with clickable links:
Anti-Racism Resources: Killing the Demon Curated Media Guide - Candace Howze | Writer & Multimedia…
A media guide featuring interviews, academic sources, poetry, novels, books, music, film, documentaries, television…
As always, my inbox is a warm place for rational exchange. Keep fighting, keep opening your heart.