As outrage over the murder of George Floyd continues to spread across the United States and the world, Angela Y. Davis's adage that, "in a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist" is as true as ever. And while black squares and messages of solidarity are deployed with good intension, the quiet, slow work of anti-racism is what is needed to achieve meaningful, lasting change.
As scholars have long recognized, the work of anti-racism most benefits white people and non-BIPOC communities. But to achieve these gains, we need to do the often difficult work of confronting racism in our workplaces, families, and minds.
Thankfully, there is no shortage of resources to continue that work. In fact, there are so many great resources that the task can seem daunting. So we've compiled a list of resources to help you start out, or supplement the work you're already doing.
What to listen to
In July 2014 Eric Garner's final words as New York City police officers sat on his head and pinned him to the ground on a sidewalk were "I can't breathe." Before he died, George Floyd said the same words when an officer knelt on his neck and pinned him to the ground on a Minneapolis street. This episode reflects on how traumatizing it is for black folks to constantly see themselves murdered by police.
'Why I'm no longer talking to white people about race,' by Reni Eddo-Lodge, The Guardian Podcasts, 30 May 2017
Reni Eddo-Lodge reads her seminal 2017 blog post in which she outlines why she "can no longer engage with the gulf of an emotional disconnect that white people display when a person of color articulates their experience."
Dewan investigates why the Minneapolis police officer responsible for George Floyd’s death was still patrolling the street despite a long record of complaints of misconduct. The episode discusses why misconduct procedures are rarely enough to discipline officers using excessive force.
"What Slavery Engendered: An Intersectional Look at 1619," by Kimberlé Crenshaw, The African American Policy Forum, November 14, 2019
Crenshaw, the woman who coined the term "intersectional feminism" talks to a leading scholar in race, gender, bioethics, and the law about how America’s history of slavery helps us to understand racial disparities today.
This episode looks at the origins of American policing and how those origins put violent control of Black Americans at the heart of the system.
Colon Kaepernick's kneeling protest was a response to police brutality. But it has been reinterpreted by social media, celebrities, and Nike to mean something that doesn’t always match the intention of his original protest.
What to read
We've compiled a list of books to buy here. Below are free essays and books that you can read right now.
The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic, June 2014
In his landmark article, Coates argues that every institution with some degree of history in America has a history of extracting wealth and resources out of the African-American community. And that this theft of resources should be repaid.
The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House by Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches, 1984
In one of her most famous essays, Lorde questions the scope and ability for change to be instigated when examining problems through a racist, patriarchal lens. This is a particularly vital question in relation to prison and police reform.
The End of Policing (free as Ebook), by Alex S. Vitale, 2017
An abolitionist perspective on policing that looks at the origins of the professional police in southern slave patrols, the function of the police in ‘managing inequality’, and how it relates to the production of whiteness.
Letter From a Region in My Mind, by James Baldwin, November 10, 1962
Baldwin recounts his coming-of-age in Harlem, appraises the Nation of Islam, and makes the argument that, “Whatever white people do not know about Negroes reveals, precisely and inexorably, what they do not know about themselves.”
The author of How to Be Antiracist argues that either "black people are the American nightmare; or there is something wrong with society, something dangerous and deathly about racist policy, and black people are experiencing the American nightmare."
Who to follow on Instagram
We've compiled a list of mental health and support resources that includes helpful Instagrams to follow. Giselle Buchanan guide for "how to be an ally when you don't know what to do," and so is her "Actions Resource Guide." Her website also links to petitions, bail funds, and action guides.
Following the Black Lives Matter Instagram is a good way to stay up to date on the fight to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state.
What rules to follow
Anti-Racist Resource Guide, Google doc compiled by Victoria Alexander, 2020.
“Anti-racism resources for white people,” Google doc compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein, May 2020.
“An Essential Reading Guide for Fighting Racism” by Arianna Rebolini, BuzzFeed News, May 29, 2020.
Resource guide: “a working document for scaffolding anti-racism resources” by Anna Stamborski, Nikki Zimmermann, and Bailie Gregory.
What to watch
An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation's history of racial inequality and it's free to watch on Netflix. Ava DuVernay argues that mass incarceration exists on a continuum with slavery and Jim Crow. As one of “the three major racialized systems of control adopted in the United States to date,” it ensures “the subordinate status of a group defined largely by race.”
James Baldwin Debates William F. Buckley (1965)
“The American Dream is at the expense of the American Negro,” James Baldwin declared on February 18, 1965, in his debate with William F. Buckley Jr. at the University of Cambridge. “I picked the cotton, and I carried it to the market, and I built the railroads under someone else’s whip for nothing,” he said, “for nothing.”
The Path to Ending Systemic Racism in the US
Sharing urgent insights into this historic moment, Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, Rashad Robinson, Dr. Bernice King and Anthony D. Romero discuss dismantling the systems of oppression and racism responsible for tragedies like the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and many more.
Explained: The Racial Wealth Gap
Cory Booker and others discuss how slavery, housing discrimination and centuries of inequality have compounded to create a racial wealth gap.
This is only a small selection of the hundreds of thousands of resources that have been compiled, primarily by people of color.
Join us in taking a stance against institutionalized racism.