Fellow White People: Let's Learn and Follow the True Leaders
Seven days of ever-increasing protests. Hundreds of years of hurt and far-too-slow change.
I would like to think this isn't my problem, that I didn't cause this. However, I have certainly benefited from white supremacy and definitely been too inactive in working for progress.
The fact is I still don't know what to do. I have spent my whole life listening to voices of different colors and those of varying abilities (not disabilities). I've occasionally noticed when things aren't setup to be user-friendly for those in wheelchairs. I used very basic sign language to assist a customer in a store I worked in during high school. I served as notetaker for several of my fellow university students for whom notetaking was challenging.
And yet, I spent a big chunk of my life moving through this world assuming my friends, family members, colleagues, and neighbors have had similar experiences and opportunities as me, regardless of their skin color -- an oversight that I began to reckon with in 2015 when I wrote "I wish the world was what I thought before I knew what I still don't understand now" and in 2016 when I wrote "I Am Not Colorblind" and in 2017 with When You Can't Unsee.
Since then I have made it a point to seek out stories that differ from my own and voices that I can learn from. We are now in a time that we need to educate ourselves quickly and join this fight in helpful ways. We never should have remained bystanders in the fight against racism, and we certainly can't afford to do so now.
I don't have the answers, so instead I offer some of the resources I have learned so much from. I don't know all the right words or all the right actions, but I continue to learn better so I can do better. Please do this with me.
Above all, do your own research. Don't ask your black friends what you should do. It is not their responsibility to fix this alone. Ask Google. Read books and websites and articles and anything you can get your eyes on. Listen to podcasts.
Some of the resources I have learned from are...
People to Watch
Note: This is a very short list. There are many, many, many, many people of color to learn from. Seek them out. Listen. Don't interrupt them. Don't message them for personal tips on how to be better. Just pay attention.
Layla Saad - http://laylafsaad.com/
- Good Ancestor podcast
- Me & White Supremacy book
Ibram X. Kendi - https://www.ibramxkendi.com/
Latasha Morrison - https://latashamorrison.com/
- Be a Bridge Builder - https://bethebridge.com/
From Privilege to Progress - https://www.instagram.com/privtoprog/
Julissa Arce - https://www.instagram.com/julissaarce/
Susanna Barkataki - https://www.instagram.com/susannabarkataki/
(Side note: Please excuse any awkward formatting of the below book review posts. I no longer maintain my book review blog and had to move it from it's original location, so some images and links may be broken. Just like our empathy.)
by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele
My book review: http://sherrireadsalot.blogspot.com/2018/06/when-they-call-you-terrorist-book-review.html
My (Underground) American Dream: My True Story as an Undocumented Immigrant Who Became a Wall Street Executive
by Julissa Arce
by Patrice Gopo
by Eli Saslow
by Adrian Pei
by Upile Chisala
Poetry about self-love, power, depression, understanding, and more from the perspective of a young adult of color
My book review: http://sherrireadsalot.blogspot.com/2019/02/soft-magic.html
Find an organization that is doing good antiracism work and donate your money or your time. Personally, I contribute straight to Black Lives Matter. There are plenty of others, such as Color of Change and the ACLU. Find one to support, even if you only have a few dollars to spare.
I cannot stress enough that we all need to do the work, educate ourselves, correct poor language and actions that we witness.