Since late May, protests have spread across the country after the murder of George Floyd under the knee of a white cop in Minneapolis, Minnesota. White people and non-Black people who identify as progressive and non-racist have failed the Black community in terms of actively dismantling the systems that have resulted in the long and growing list of deaths due to police brutality, mass incarceration, and the cycle of poverty and over-policing in black communities. The topic of systemic racism is complex and intimidating but the first step to social change is education. You can donate, protest, sign petitions, and educate yourself on the importance of this issue. As a non-Black individual, these resources have helped me educate myself to be a better ally. Below is a list of 6 important published pieces for you to educate yourself and to understand the history behind this movement.
- White Fragility: Why it’s So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
- Non-fiction that discusses race relations and white defensiveness in the United States.
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- Young Adult novel in which protagonist Starr tries to balance her two worlds- the poor, mostly black neighborhood where she lives and the wealthy, mostly white prep school that she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered after witnessing the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend at the hands of a police officer. Facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr finds her voice.
- I Am Not Your Negro by James Baldwin
- This is the screenplay to the brilliant documentary by Raoul Poak (director/ editor) that encompasses the letters, books, essays, notes, and interviews by James Baldwin.
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
- Thesis/ law material that discusses race-related issues specific to African-American males and mass incarceration in the United States.
- Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi
- Non-fiction that explores notions of racial superiority, providing a deep contextualization for Trump- era white supremacists.
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
Non-fiction that discusses the story of a young black lawyer fighting for the wrongly condemned and underrepresented in Alabama, which has the highest per capita capital sentencing rate in the country. Demonstrates the disproportional rates of mass incarceration on people of color, and the disproportionate intensity of their sentencing in comparison to white people.
Featured image photo credit: Stormy Nesbit