Social justice

Anti-Racism Resources to Start Today

By Eco-Age
02.06.20

Actively uprooting systematic racism means much more than simply posting on social media. Unlearning starts with education, so here is a running list of just some of the things you can watch, read, and listen to in order to better understand the injustices ingrained within our society. 

 

 

 

Read - Non-fiction

 

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, Reni Eddo-Lodge

Eddo-Lodge’s prize-winning and bestseller text was born from a 2014 blog post that shared the writer’s frustrations at conversations on race and racism in Britain being led by those unaffected by it.

Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire, Akala

In this polemic work, rapper Akala traces the history of Black Britain and his past, dismantling problematic myths and providing uncomfortable answers to questions raised by his musical work.

Me and White Supremacy: A 28-Day Challenge to Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor, Layla Saad

What began as a 28-day social media challenge has evolved into Saad’s debut work, published in January this year. It’s a book to work with, not only read. 

White Fragility, Robin Diangelo

“[Racism] was constructed and created by white people and the ultimate responsibility lies with white people. For too long we’ve looked at it as if it were someone else’s problem, as if it was created in a vacuum. I want to push against that narrative,” says Diangelo of her 2018 work.

How to Be Anti-Racist, by Ibram X.Kendi 

Not being racist is not enough; to be anti-racist, neutrality is not an option, professor and author Kendi propounds in this work. 

Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging, Afua Hirsch

Writer and broadcaster Hirsch examines Britain’s denial of its past and its present as it explores the everyday racism that manifests in its society in this 2018 publication. 

The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin

This non-fiction work published in 1963 contains two essays by Baldwin, “My Dungeon Shook — Letter to my Nephew on the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Emancipation" and "Down At The Cross — Letter from a Region of My Mind.”

Frantz Fanon, White Skin Black Masks

A major work in influence on civil rights and anti-colonial movements, Fanon’s seminal text explores the black psyche in white society.

My Name is Why, Lemn Sissay

Upon discovering his birth certificate, author and poet Lemn Sissay explores the concept of identity, adoption and self-expression and in doing so examines race, the care system and the meaning of home.

Post Soul Nation, Nelson George

A chronicle of black experience in 1980's America, Nelson George shows how black performers, athletes, and activists made increasing inroads into mainstream culture against the backdrop of Ronald Reagan's rollback of major civil rights advances.

Won’t Stop Can’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, Jeff Chang

Jeff Chang looks at how hip hop became the language of a multi-racial generation, and the effect that it had on America's politics and culture.

 

Read - Fiction

 

Queenie, Candice Carty-Williams

Queenie Malone is a 25-year-old Jamaican British professional working and living in modern day London. As her mental health begins to spiral, she begins to question her place in society and what exactly it is she wants from life.

Girl, Woman, Other, Bernardine Evaristo

A collective tale of black female experience, Girl Woman Other interweaves the narratives of twelve black women living in Britain, each interwoven with difficult questions about race, feminism and sexuality in our society. 

The Sellout, Paul Beatty 

A work turned down by 18 publishers, on receiving the 2016 Booker Prize for The Sellout Beatty said: “I can’t tell you how long a journey this has been for me.” It is an unapologetic satire of ‘post-racial’ America.

An American Marriage, Tayari Jones

Roy and Celestial’s lives and marriage are torn apart as one night in a motel, Roy is falsely accused of raping a white woman. Convicted to 12 years in prison, their marriage must survive the distance, anger and isolation that results from that one pivotal night.

The Colour Purple, Alice Walker

Following the life of Celie, an African American growing up in rural Georgia, The Colour Purple documents the abuse Celie faces at the beginning of her life and her consequent discovery of self.

Such a Fun Age, Kiley Reid

Emira works as a babysitter for Alix Chamberlian, a white blogger whose intentions are seemingly pure. One night, having taken Alix’s baby to the supermarket in an effort to help the family, Emira is wrongly accused of kidnapping baby Briar.

On Beauty, Zadie Smith

Littered with humour and nuance, On Beauty follows the lives of a mixed-race British-American family, documenting how beauty, marriage and the intersections of the personal and political are integrated in family life.

Small Great Things, Jodi Picoult

Told from three unique perspectives, Jodi Picoult crafts a narrative on white supremacy in modern America. While under orders not to go near the newborn baby of a white couple, Ruth, an African American midwife, must make the impossible decision of saving the baby’s life or obeying the couples’ orders.

Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison

Published in 1952, Ellison explores the idea of ‘invisibility’ as the nameless protagonist navigates the racial divide in American society.

Noughts and Crosses, Malorie Blackman

Subverting society, Noughts and Crosses is a YA novel that follows two teenagers - one a nought and the other a cross - as they face the prejudices that surrounds their unlikely friendship.

 

Watch

 

13th, directed by Ava DuVernay

Exploring the deep set links between slavery and the US penal system, 13th looks at the how a loophole in the Thirteenth Amendment resulted in the mass incarceration of black people in America.

The Central Park Five, directed by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David McMahon

The Central Park Five refers to the five black and latino teenagers who were wrongly convicted of raping a white woman in New York. This documentary tells the story of how the false accusation resulted in their incarceration for between six and thirteen years, until the true perpetrator of the crime confessed.  

I Am Not Your Negro, directed by Raoul Peck

Peck envisions the unfinished book of James Baldwin, a project described to his literary agent as a revolutionary account of the lives and assassinations of Civil Rights activists Malcolm X, Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King, Jr but a work that remained uncompleted at the time of his death.

Selma, directed by Ava DuVernay

A film depiction of the 1965 peaceful protests led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Selma follows the fight for suffrage in the South of the US and the consequential signing of the Voting Rights Act that resulted from their efforts.

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, directed by Stanley Nelson

Combining archival footage and recent interviews with The Black Panthers, Nelson’s documentary captures the revolutionary story of the activist group and how their actions impacted the Civil Rights movement. 

The Hate you Give, directed by George Tillman Jr.

A film production of Angie Thomas’ YA novel, 16 year-old Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her best friend at the hands of a police officer. As Starr’s world begins to unravel, she must evaluate how to best use her role as the only witness to the event.

In Prison My Whole Life, directed by Marc Evans

Arrested and jailed in 1981, journalist and political activist Mumia Abu-Jamal was convicted to life on death row. The documentary explores how, in 2001, Abu-Jamal’s sentence was overturned due to problems within the penalty phase of his original conviction 20 years prior.

 

Listen

 

Good Ancestor Podcast, Layla Saad

Described as being an interview series with ‘change-makers and culture-shakers’, Layla Saad podcast aims to tackle some of the biggest conversations on race and identity in conversations with other thought-leaders.

1619, The New York Times

This project is an ongoing initiative by the New York Times Magazine which began in 2019, on the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. By reframing the country’s history, it disrupts the national narrative by questioning it from the roots of its institutional racism. 

Code Switch, NPR

A team of multi-racial, multi-generational journalists, Code Switch has "messy, uncomfortable, essential conversations” that explores race’s role in some of the world’s biggest news stories.  

The Diversity Gap, Bethaney Wilkinson

With the aim of closing the diversity gap with practical behaviour change and wider conversation, Bethaney Wilkinson is joined by a series of authors, creatives and activists who hope to turn good intentions into tangible action.

Yikes, Mikaela Loach and Jo Becker

A space for conversation on climate and social issues, the most recent episode of the Yikes podcast explores white privilege, how it fuels a culture of toxic positivity and why we must actively educate ourselves in anti-racism.

 

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Anti-Racism Resources to Start Today