Left and right people are sharing resources for white people to educate themselves about racism and anti-racism. Perhaps the internet doesn’t need my two cents, but I love sharing resources and round-ups and trying to make information accessible, so I wanted to use my small platform to point you in the direction of helpful information if you need it.
To be clear, this post is written for people like me, white and middle class, who all our lives have considered ourselves definitely not racist, who were taught that our systems were made to protect us, and who have never feared the police.
If this is the first time you are critically considering the topic of race, you are only recently becoming aware aware of the violence our Black brothers and sisters face at the hands of police, and are asking what you can do, welcome. You are most welcome here. If you’ve been listening to the conversation for awhile, I still think there are helpful bits for you here. We’re never not done learning how to be anti-racist.
Feel free to ask questions, of me, of other white people working hard to educate ourselves. Google is also your friend, as there are unlimited resources for educating yourself. Do not slide into the messages or inboxes of Black folks, though. It is not their job to educate white people about racism, it is up to us and our moral obligation to educate ourselves and see the ways we and our systems cause others and their communities harm.
In all your efforts – read, listen to, and center Black voices. Be humble as you learn, recognize you will always be learning, and bravely work for true peace – not the violent, destructive facade of it we’ve settled for and protected for so long. But the kind of peace Jesus spoke about, the kind that brings equity, justice, reparations, fixes the wrongs it caused and changes the systems, circumstances, or within ourselves so that it will not keep happening.
You are going to make mistakes. It’s ok. Because you will keep trying. White folks, we will never ‘arrive’ in our anti-racism work and it’s essential we do the work and keep learning, but also remain humble as we do so.
If something makes you uncomfortable, that’s part of the journey. We should be uncomfortable. Black people are dying, being killed, and our discomfort is essential, pointing us back to a society that doesn’t have to be this way. If a Black person points out that you are being harmful, unhelpful, doing it wrong, even though you may have the best of intentions, do not get defensive. Stay humble, welcome the correction, keep learning, do better, don’t stop.
Below is a hefty list of ideas and resources. It can be overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the conversation on anti-racism. Brandy Anderson suggested on Twitter, “May I suggest you think of what angle you have the most questions about and begin your education along those lines. Otherwise you’ll become overwhelmed…”
Remember, educating yourself and joining in the fight against racism is not a summer crash course. Perhaps you are feeling anxious and shocked at all you’re learning the last few days and weeks, especially if you are new to this conversation. Slow down, read carefully, learn thoughtfully. Be in this for the long haul.
“The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward.” Ijeoma Oluo
In regards to those who think it’s a worthwhile exercise to consider things like black-on-black crime, Black voting habits, abortion statistics and fatherlessness — “It’s time to sit in the history of the black community a little longer than it takes to post a zinger. To look for understanding instead of looking to confirm our biases. To dig a little deeper that the “gotcha.” To care about those black bodies, not just post faceless stats.” Jasmine Holmes
Anti-Racism Links & Resources
- This is an excellent round up of articles and understanding our current moment in context. If you open one link on this page, make it this one.
- Just Mercy is a profoundly good book that has remained with me long after I finished reading it. I haven’t watched the movie yet, but it’s on my list. And you can watch it for free here.
- If you’re still not sure – Why You Need to Stop Saying “All Lives Matter” “Let me be clear: stating that black lives matter doesn’t insinuate that other lives don’t.”
- This is an extremely thorough discussion about what white privilege is, how it looks in our day to day, and what white people can do about it.
- If you’re not sure why protests over one man’s murder are part of a bigger discussion about systemic racism, or don’t understand how something like white supremacy can be institutionalized, this is a good place to start. Institutionalized Racism: A Syllabus.
- Tori Glass has put together lessons – White Homework – for white folks to educate themselves about racism.
- An honest, sacrificial essay written by a Black man in the evangelical church about his pain at the silence around Black death at the hands of police violence. Are we listening? “My soul cries as I ask the question. Why did ANOTHER black person have to be slaughtered on the altar of white supremacy in order for my beloved white brothers and sisters to finally wake up? This has cost your black and brown Christian “Family” so much. We have been vilified for years over this, why now? So many black people have died, and so many of you have remained silent. We have been publicly slanders, maligned, threatened, rebuked, and villainized by many leaders within your evangelical tradition and have been met with silence over the course of years. Why now? Will it last? I’m not trying to guilt or shame any of you, but it hurts. It hurts too much to act like it doesn’t, and holding in the hurt may grant you peace, but it destroys our health. This kind of pain can’t be contained without causing internal damage, emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically. I love you. I love you all so much. I wish you could know in the deepest part of your heart how much I am speaking for the sake of love. It would be so easy to remain silent.” Dear Evangelicals, You Must Know What You’ve Done To be Healed
- 100 Ways White People Can Make Life Less Frustrating For People of Color. Just a few suggestions to start with. This is an especially good list for folks who think maybe they’re already on the right path to being anti-racist.
- Anti-Racism Resources for White-Led Organizations
- Also, Let’s be extremely mindful of what our black colleagues are going through right now, and be appropriately sensitive and understand their experience of this time different than ours. Maintaining Professionalism In The Age of Black Death Is….A Lot.
- All over the internet are excellent lists of books you should read to understand racism in the US. Here is one good list, of many that are out there. 10 Books About Race To Read Instead Of Asking A Person Of Color To Explain Things To You . And, An Anti-Racism Reading List.
- If you want a specifically Christian take I highly suggest: “I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness” by Austin Channing Brown, and “The Cross and the Lynching Tree” by James Cone. Here is a Christian Bookstore’s list of books to read about race written by Black authors.
- To understand the links between policing and racism in the US, it’s essential to understand the history of policing in America. From slavery to Jim Crow, history shows the racist roots of American policing — and the need to reckon with them.
- Importantly : “Private trainers across the country host seminars, frequently at taxpayer expense, teaching “killology” and pushing the notion that if officers aren’t willing to “snuff out a life” then they should “consider another line of work.” There’s One Big Reason Why Police Brutality Is So Common In The US. And That’s The Police Unions. Practices like these are also extremely problematic – discipline records of NYPD are secret. (If you want to make calls to try and repeal this piece of legislation, a guide here.)
- If that’t not enough for you, police brutality is very expensive for taxpayers. Cities spend tens of millions of dollars on lawsuits over police violence and killings. But municipalities are effectively using residents to mortgage the cost. How Cities Offload the Cost of Police Brutality.
- This is really, really important. Budgets are moral documents, and it should be shocking how much cities prioritize police spending over everything else, including programs that would aid and bolster the communities where they are the most violent and cause the most harm. This Is How Much Major Cities Prioritize Police Spending Versus Everything Else.
- Another good breakdown of problematic budgets – show us your budget and we’ll tell you who you are.
- And where can we go from there? Will channeling money away from policing to other areas help? “Over the last 30 years, at both the national and local levels, governments have dramatically increased their spending on criminalization, policing, and mass incarceration while drastically cutting investments in basic infrastructure and slowing investment in social safety net programs.” Freedom to Thrive: Reimagining Safety & Security in Our Communities
- If you’ve never considered it before, it’s important to consider now. The Case for Reparations.
- And – Systemic Racism explained in a 4 minute video.
If you’re buying books to educate yourself or further your education on race, racism, and white supremacy, don’t buy from Amazon. Order from black owned bookstores. (List from @worn_wear on Instagram)
Black owned bookstores:
- Mahogany Books (Washington, DC) mahoganybooks.com
- Brave and Kind Books (Decatur, GA) braveandkindbooks.com
- Semicolon (Chicago, IL) semicolonchi.com
- Brain Lair Books (South Bend, IN) brainlairbooks.com
- Afriware Books (Maywood, IL) afriwarebooks.com
- Detroit Book City (Deitroit, MI) detroitbookcity.com
- Uncle Bobbie’s (Philadelphia, PA) unclebobbies.com
- Hakim’s Bookstore (Philadelphia, PA) hakimsbookstore.com
- Harriot’s Bookshop (Philadelphia, PA) harrietsbookshop.com
- Ashay By the Bay (Bay Area, CA) ashaybythebay.com
- Eso Won Books (Los Angeles, CA) esowonbookstore.com
- The Lit Bar (Bronx, NY) thelitbar.com
- Café con Libros (Brooklyn, NY) cafeconlibrosbk.com
- Frugal Bookstore (Roxbury, MA) frugalbookstore.com
- Oldest Independent Black-owned bookstore in the country: Marcus Books (Oakland, CA) https://www.facebook.com/marcus.books/
What else can you do to help?
Reading a book and educating yourself if great, but it can’t stop there.
Follow Black people on social media, support black educators, artists, and businesses. Donate to Black-led community causes. Vote with Black lives, equity, justice, and true peace in mind. Boycott the places and corporations that harm Black lives and aren’t making actual strives to make change. Talk about diversity in your work places and advocate for anti-racism policies and procedures. Encourage your workplaces to do implicit bias training. If you’re in a position of power, make those things happen, and hire Black people. Don’t move into a neighborhood that is pushing out Black families and others by way of gentrification. Send your children to public schools, go to a Black church (and listen more than you speak). Shake up the predominantly white spaces in your life. Amplify the voices of Black creators. Venmo or PayPal periodically the people you learn from on social media.
Talk with family and friends about race. Recognize what microaggressions are and stop doing them, and also educate your co-workers, family, and friends, when you hear them. If you see a Black person with the police, especially if it gets physical, take out your phone and record. I saw this week a Black woman post on Twitter that she was in her car about to drive off when a police car pulled up behind her and put their lights on, and a white man and white woman both stepped out of their cars and stood beside hers. The police officer switched off his lights and drove off.
The list is endless. Be creative, be smart, consider how your actions might show that you really, truly, actually care about Black lives (and make sure you’re listening to Black people who can tell you how to do this well.)
This is an excellent resource as well – 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice.
Petitions you can sign – https://blacklivesmatter.com/petitions/
- The Loveland Foundation – focuses on healing for communities of color, particularly by paying for therapy for Black women and girls.
- 6 out of 10 people in jail are actually there awaiting their trials (often a year or more), and simply because they cannot afford bail, before they’ve even been tried. National Bail Out posts bails so mothers can be with their children and others can work while they await their trials.
- Mutual Aid NY is providing aid and support to New Yorkers during the pandemic, with a focus on the hardest hit communities.
- Black Visions Collective are fighting beautifully for healing and transformative justice at the center of our systems.
- Reclaim the Block is working in Minneapolis to move funding for policing over to other areas of the city’s budget to promote community health and safety.
- Official George Floyd Memorial Fund
- Campaign Zero is advocating for 10 fantastic policy solutions to end police violence, ensure accountability, and improve community interactions.
- I Run with Maud – Justice for Ahmaud Arbery fundraiser.
- Justice for Breonna Taylor petition and fundraiser.
Other Ways you can help through the Black Lives Matter website.
“Until you have actively and consistently objected the oppressor, you cannot righteously object the outcry of the oppressed.Until you have survived generations of inequality without relief or retribution, you may not lead the conversation on what an appropriate response to inequality looks like.Until your son/husband/dad has been brutalized by an authority you pay for his protection. Until you’ve watched a cop car ram into a crowd that includes your child. Until you’ve fought alongside them fruitlessly, you may not offer critique form anywhere other than the battlelines.” Elaine Welteroth
This is kingdom work. Racial justice will help us build the kingdom of heaven as it is on earth. May we be faithful to the work.