1. Listen. If you are not Black, then the first step is to listen. Listen to Black voices. And not just now, not just about issues of race, but always and in all areas of culture. De-center whiteness.
“The problem is that white people see racism as conscious hate, when racism is bigger than that. Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on the behalf of whites at other people’s expense, whether whites know/like it or not. Racism is an insidious cultural disease. It is so insidious that it doesn’t care if you are a white person who likes black people; it’s still going to find a way to infect how you deal with people who don’t look like you. Yes, racism looks like hate, but hate is just one manifestation. Privilege is another. Access is another. Ignorance is another. Apathy is another. And so on. So while I agree with people who say no one is born racist, it remains a powerful system that we’re immediately born into. It’s like being born into air: you take it in as soon as you breathe. It’s not a cold that you can get over. There is no anti-racist certification class. It’s a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time we interact with the world. It is a thing you have to keep scooping out of the boat of your life to keep from drowning in it. I know it’s hard work, but it’s the price you pay for owning everything.” - Scott Woods, author
Note: This reading list is not meant to be recommendations for you to help curb your guilt. This reading list, which focuses mostly on contemporary writing, is meant to give recommendations to non-Black people on amazing writers who are not white. Think about your consumption of media and entertainment: is it mostly white writers, hosts, musicians, etc? Most likely, that answer is yes. If so, then this list is merely a starting place for you - a starting place for you to de-center the whiteness of your media consumption.
Essays & Articles:
What is an Anti-Racist Reading List For?, Lauren Michele Jackson
--> If you're beginning any Black or Anti-Racist reading list, start here.
America Returns to its Violent Normal, Hanif Abdurraqib
The American Nightmare, Ibram X. Kendi
Black Health Matters, Jenna Wortham
History Repeats Itself in North Nashville, Steven Hale
Oral History Project, BOMB Magazine
--> This is a collection of visual works from artists of the African diaspora.
--> gal-dem is an online and print publication by women and non-binary people of color. I highly recommend making gal-dem an ongoing source of reading material.
We See Your Silence, Rowdy Magazine
--> This is a new collection of art and writing by Black creatives in response to the current protests.
--> Founded by the rapper Noname, Noname's Book Club highlights books written by authors of color. Past picks have included Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde and Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon. Noname's Book Club also directs readers to independent and local bookstores, advocating against the use of Amazon.
Podcasts and YouTube Channels:
--> From NPR, Code Switch is a podcast that tackles how race impacts every area of society.
--> Conversations about personal health in marginalized communities by queer black individuals.
--> An exploration of Southern hip-hop by Christina Lee and Dr. Regina N. Bradley.
--> A super funny comedy podcast by Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams.
--> A Black feminist community.
--> Hosted by Kim Wilson and Brian Sonenstein, this podcast focuses on prison abolition while telling the stories of those affected by the system.
--> Find a bail fund in your city to donate to by using this directory.
3. Protest - safely.
Check out this information from Amnesty International on how to be safe if you do choose to protest.
4. Stay informed. Remember to practice media literacy.
Here’s an ongoing list of disinformation compiled by journalists at Buzzfeed.
Here's a project to map out the data of police violence.
5. Political action in your community.
Things to consider: what is your community’s budget for the police force compared to other areas, like education? Does your local police force wear body cams? Does your local police force participate in de-escalation training?
Campaign Zero is an amazing resource to help you both understand what policies are enacted in your area and how to contact the correct representatives regarding those policies.
Note: This resource is from Campaign Zero's #8Can'tWait campaign. Many are arguing this campaign is ineffective, as many of these policies have been tried and failed. Read below to learn about defunding the police force and the #8toAbolition campaign.
You can also read DeRay McKesson's (part of the planning team of Campaign Zero) essay here: On the Path Toward Police Abolition.
5. Even More
There have been so many other great compilations of resources created, so this space will continue to highlight these in the coming days and weeks.
--> An incredibly comprehensive resource covering areas including petitions, mutual aid, graphic design & printing, food, medicine, mental health, and MORE.
--> Designer and poet Annika Hansteen-Izora created a spreadsheet of various Black funds and creative ecosystems to support, centering Black queer, trans, nonbinary folks, and women.
--> A source for finding Black-owned businesses across the globe.
--> Created by Angry Grrrl Music of the Indie Rock Persuasion, this list features 100 Black artists to support on Bandcamp Day (and after Bandcamp Day!).
The bottom line is that we all, especially white Americans, need to continue to move forward with open minds. We need to understand that education is ongoing and that furthering our understanding of systemic oppression and racism is our personal responsibility. Black Lives Matter is not a trend, so commit to doing more. Systemic change is the goal, but you can start with yourself.