Beyond the Black Square: Create Lasting Change
We're one week on from #blackouttuesday, when millions of people posted a black square on their Instagram feeds as a show of solidarity and support for the Black Lives Matter movement, which has gained increased momentum since the brutal killing of George Floyd. We, as many were, worried that everybody would jump on the Instagram bandwagon but go back to their "normal lives" by Thursday or Friday.
The good news is that so far, this really does feel different. It feels like the tide of change is coming. The Minneapolis Police Department is being disbanded and a new system, which truly represents fair public safety is replacing it. Companies who posted the black square but don't have a fair recruitment system, or don't treat staff equally are being called out for it. The world's top beauty companies have released data on their very white-centric boards and management teams as a first step towards transparent change. There are petitions to change the history and literature curriculums in the UK to more accurately reflect Britain's colonial and trading history, not just from the same biased "white lens". The informative posts, podcasts and articles keep coming to teach us more.
Closer to home, there have been difficult conversations with older family members about their subconscious racist bias. Often it's not overt, but the subtleties which have been ingrained over generations. Awkward conversations with friends starting with "do you remember that time you said...?" have left our white friends genuinely and deeply contemplating how and why their experiences have impacted their outlook on so many things.
The key is for us all to keep learning. It's not just about what's happened in 2010-2020 but how those events were impacted by the systemic racism which our society is built upon. We need to learn how to dismantle those structures and rebuild a fair and equal society we want to be a part of.
Below is by no means an exhaustive list, but some sources which we've enjoyed, found helpful, and/or cried watching. Some of it is raw and painful, but necessary to understand the pain that centuries of discrimination and inequality has caused. If there's anything you'd suggest we read or watch, or add to this list - please do get in touch at email@example.com.
Anti-Racist Reading List:
Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People about Race by Renni Eddo-Lodge
The Good Immigrant (USA and UK editions) Edited by Nikesh Shukla
Inglorious Empire: What the British did to India by Shashi Tharoor
Natives by Akala
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
Learn by Watching:
When they See Us
Sitting in Limbo (BBC)
Learn by Listening:
1619 by The New York Times
Slay in your Lane by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené
Donate (if you can):
The United Families & Friends Campaign (UFFC) - a coalition of those affected by deaths in police, prison and psychiatric custody
Windrush Foundation - delivers projects and initiatives that highlight Caribbean and African peoples' contributions to UK public service, culture and commerce.
Minnesota Freedom Fund - Legal representation for those who cannot afford it, and advocating for how racially biased cash bails are set in the US