Like most of the country, Jackie and I have been watching the repeated crimes against the Black Community with heavy hearts and feelings of anger. Until earlier this year, I thought that being colorblind was the perception I should strive for, but that makes the assumption that black experiences and ancestry is the same as white people. And it’s not. If White people are not actively working to be anti-racist, then we are part of the problem. We wanted to make a list of anti racist books and tools to help on your journey.
After American Dirt was published, I had a hard time understanding the full extent of the controversy. Many people on Instagram recommended that I read White Fragility. It was a humbling and eye-opening read. It was then that I learned just how much work I had left to do.
I want to be clear on a few things. I am not an expert at being anti-racist. I am learning and make mistakes all the time, and probably will again in the course of writing this very post. I hope that if I do make a mistake, someone will educate me. Instead of defending myself, I vow to listen, learn, and do better next time. I would encourage all of my White friends to do the same. The criticism and feedback you receive may sting, but it is necessary for your own growth.
I have also listened to the feedback of many people in the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) community who have made some things clear. It is not appropriate for White people to go to the very minorities that are being oppressed and ask them what you can do. The BIPOC community has done the work for decades. It’s our turn to show up and do the work. It’s also not ok to call up your Black friends and tell them that you feel guilty or that you are sad. White women’s tears have been the impetus for so many hate crimes, that what you may mean as a kind gesture is really just pouring salt on the wound.
What you can do is research, learn, and act. Be an ally because as a white person in this world, your voice is louder. Use that voice to bring about change. We’ve compiled the list of resources below for our predominately White audience as a way to help our own community learn by amplifying the voices of BIPOC folks who have been expressing their voice for centuries. I’m sure that it is not perfect, but it is at least a start.
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Educate Yourself With These Anti-Racist Books
It should come as no surprise that one of the best places to start or continue your journey is in the pages of a good book. The non-fiction books below have started us on our journey.
Other resources for furthering your education include:
- The Anti-Racism Project
- Southern Poverty Law Center
- Teaching Tolerance
- Who Gets to Be Afraid in America?
- The Hate You Give Movie
- Just Mercy Movie (free for the month of June)
Educate Your Children
Some people aren’t telling their children about what happened to George Floyd and the protests that it sparked because they don’t want to upset their children. IF EVERY BLACK CHILD IN THIS COUNTRY HAS TO LIVE WITH THE IMPACT OF GEORGE FLOYD’S BRUTAL DEATH, YOUR WHITE KID SHOULD KNOW ABOUT IT.
I am enraged by this blatant act of White privilege. It is our duty as parents to raise anti-racist children. It is our duty to live in the discomfort so that we can enact change. I understand parents want to protect their children from pain, but Black mothers don’t have to option to not tell their children about racism, and White mothers shouldn’t have the option either.
I had a conversation with my kids this week about racism. While I always teach my children to respect police officers and that they are here to protect us, I also taught them that some police officers may not be good people. I explained that a Black man was murdered by a police officer. I explained that people across the country are protesting because they are angry and we should be angry too. I told them that for as long as our country has been established, White people have degraded and limited the opportunities of Black people. I explained that it needs to change.
Do you know what my children (boys ages 6 and 8) did? They listened. They asked questions. They asked to see the news. My 8-year-old expressed the sentiment that the police officers who killed George Floyd should be jailed and, as we chatted, he expressed empathy and compassion. He was upset by the fact that not everyone has the same opportunities that he has. My 6-year-old told me he changed his mind and now wants to be a police officer when he grows up so he can help fix everything. They listened and learned.
Children start to learn the difference between right and wrong before the age of two. If you don’t want to discuss details about what is happening in this country right now, consider talking to them about racism in general.
Anti Racist Books for Kids
Not sure how to begin the conversation? Books are always an amazing way to get a conversation started. Consider diversifying their personal libraries. Here are a few fiction and non-fiction anti racist books to get you started. Might we suggest you start with A Kid’s Book About Racism?
Here are a few more resources to help you on your journey to raising an anti-racist child.
- CNN & Sesame Street – A Town Hall on Racism
- Dr. Ann-Louise Lockart – Parent Coach
- ADL – Talking to Young Children about Prejudice
- Let’s Talk about Race by The Tutu Teacher
- AHA! Parenting – Talking with Children about Racism, Police Brutality, and Protests
- National Geographic – Talking to Kids about Race
- Books for Littles – Anti-Racism for Kids 101
Probably the single most impactful thing you can do right now is to vote for leaders who will bring about change. Pick leaders that will combat White supremacy, overhaul the police force, and consider all voices at the table, not just White ones.
To the Black Lives Matter Movement
Here are some places to give that directly fight police brutality.
- NAACP Legal Defense Fund
- Campaign Zero
- Black Lives Matter
- Reclaim the Block
- Black Visions Collective
To Covid-19 Relief
Urban Black communities have been disproportionally hit with the Covid-19 pandemic in number of cases, deaths, job loss, and access to education. Give to Covid-19 relief funds that are putting funds where they are needed most. I’ve personally been involved with the following organizations all of whom have Covid-19 emergency funds set up to help Philadelphia’s BIPOC communities.
- PHL Covid-19 Fund
- Treehouse Books
- Youth Sentencing and Reentry Project
- Maternity Care Coalition
- Pathways to Housing
- Play on Philly
- Laurel House
Speak to Your Friends
I’ve typically shied away from having tough conversations with friends outside of a classroom or book club discussion. That changes now. Don’t let Tuesday’s blackout be the first and last time you engage in protest. White people need to call out each other EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Support Black Businesses and Black Creators
Check your Instagram feed, your recent store receipts, and the influencers in your inbox. Are they all White? Change that. If you love home decor, follow some BIPOC decorators. Look for Black fashion gurus, Asian artists, or Hispanic food bloggers. Many of the big-name accounts in these fields have been taking the time to highlight minority-owned businesses and influencers in their space.
Here are some of the diverse book bloggers that we follow: @bnjreads , @bowtiesandbooks, @sharon_sam, @absorbedinpages, @allthebooks36 , @spinesvines , @diversereads, @inkandfable , @thestackpod , @mentallybooked.
When it comes time to make purchases for yourself and your home, do the work and put your dollars to work. Here is a list of the Black-owned bookstores in Philadelphia.
Diversify Your Bookshelves
Yes, reading is on this list again – this time in the form of Fiction. Don’t just read non-fiction, anti racist books works about racism and diverse cultures. Do the work to add diverse authors to your reading list and book club discussions. Here are a few suggestions.
We’d love to know what resources you recommend, what books we can use to further our educations, and which influencers you follow. Please feel free to have a conversation with us in the comments, by email, or on instagram.