As American political activist, Angela Davis wrote: "In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist." It’s important that we all educate ourselves on what it means to be actively anti-racist so that we can all play our part in the global fight against racism. Here’s a list of some anti-racist resources to get you started.
Books to read
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Following her viral blog post of the same name, Renni Eddo-Lodge explores what it means to be a person of colour today through a range of issues - from eradicated black history to the political purpose of white dominance and the link between class and race.
Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging by Afua Hirsch
Brit(ish) was written by Afua Hirsch after, despite being born in Britain to British parents, people kept asking her where she was from. The book is about Hirsch’s own search for identity and the everyday racism that plagues British society.
Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala
From the first time he was stopped and searched as a child, to the day he realised his mum was white, race and class have shaped Akala's life and outlook. In this book he takes his own experiences and uses them to look at the social, historical and political factors that have left us where we are today.
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
As the United States celebrated the nation's "triumph over race" with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities were locked behind bars or labelled felons for life. In this book, Michelle Alexander argues that the US criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control.
This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work by Tiffany Jewell
This book is written to empower young people to recognise racism and stand up and speak up against it. It will teach you about identity, history and anti-racism work so that you'll have the language and ability to understand racism and a drive to fight against it.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. While self-assured Ifemelu heads to America and is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time, Obinze plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Effia and Esi are half-sisters born in 18th-century Ghana with two very different destinies. While Esi is sold into slavery, Effia is married to a slave trader. ‘Homegoing’ follows their descendants over 300 years, from Ghana to Alabama to Harlem, right up to the present day.
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Written in 1958, this is the classic African novel about how colonialism impacted and undermined traditional African culture. The novel’s famous quote is found towards the end: “He [the white man] has put a knife in the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.”
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
In the first volume of her autobiography, Maya Angelou describes growing up in the 1930s, living with her grandmother and enduring racism in a small American Southern town. Years later, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors will allow her to be free.
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
Set in London, Zadie Smith’s first novel follows two wartime friends— Bangladeshi Samad Iqbal and Englishman Archie Jones—and their families in London. The novel is centred around Britain's relationships with people from formerly colonised countries in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.
Articles to read
The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates for The Atlantic
This important article looks at the arguments for reparations, a political justice concept that argues that compensation should be paid to the descendants of slaves trafficked into America as part of the Atlantic slave trade.
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh for Peace and Freedom Magazine
Peggy McIntosh explores the privilege she enjoys as a white woman by listing 50 ways she benefits from her white privilege in daily life.
The 1619 Project by The New York Times Magazine
The 1619 Project is an ongoing project to mark 400 years from the beginning of American slavery.
How to make this moment the turning point for real change by Barack Obama for Medium
This four-minute read from Barack Obama looks at how we can sustain the current momentum to bring about real change.
What should we do with videos of police brutality by Kemi Alemory for Gal-dem
This article explains why although videos of police brutality mobilise some into action, others find them traumatising, and why we need to be careful about sharing them online.
Social media accounts to follow
Janaya Khan is the co-founder of Black Lives Matter Canada and has become a leading voice in the global fight for social transformation, justice, and equality.
Nupol plans to be US president in 2036 and change how we think about racism along the way.
Ziad is a student at Yale University and an American-Muslim student entrepreneur, activist, and speaker.
An Instagram account that supports black girls, women and non-binary writers.
An account that aims to teach students all the important history that you don’t get taught in schools.
Films and TV shows to watch
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation's prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans. Available on Netflix.
I Am Not Your Negro
A BAFTA-winning documentary film directed by Raoul Peck. It explores the history of racism in the United States through Baldwin's reminiscences of civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. Available to rent.
When They See Us
A dramatised account of the Central Park Five - how five young black boys came to be wrongfully arrested, convicted and sentenced for the brutal attack on Trisha Meili in Central Park in 1989. Available on Netflix.
First-time directors Usayd Younis and Cassie Quarless’s documentary follows young activists of colour in Britain and goes behind the scenes of their protests in Brixton and the Westfield Shopping Centre in London. Available to rent.
MOOCS to take
African American History: From Emancipation to the Present.
This Yale Open Course examines the African American experience in the United States from 1863 to the present.
Empire: the Controversies of British Imperialism.
The British Empire continues to cause enormous disagreement among historians. This free course looks at why this is and lets you join the debate.
Race and Cultural Diversity in American Life and History.
This free course looks at the ways in which race, ethnicity and cultural diversity have shaped American institutions, ideology, law, and social relationships from the colonial era to the present.
Podcasts to listen to
1619 (New York Times)
A podcast series on how slavery has transformed America, connecting past and present through different people’s stories.
A multiracial, interracial conversation about why we find it so difficult to talk about culture, identity, politics, power, and privilege in “pre-post-yet-still-very-racial America”.
Code Switch (NPR)
A podcast from a multi-racial, multi-generational team of journalists fascinated by the overlapping themes of race, ethnicity, and culture, how they play out in our lives and communities.
Other ways to get involved
- Join an organisation such as the Black Lives Matter movement. Their mission, as stated on their website, is “to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes”.
- Sign a petition. Change.org is a worldwide platform with 1,000s of petitions for you to sign, or you could even start your own. You can sign this one to help get ‘Good Immigrant’ by Nikesh Shukla and ‘Why I’m No longer Talking to White People About Race’ by Reni Eddo-Lodge, on the GCSE reading list.
- Support black writers, artists and business owners. One way of helping at an individual level is by supporting local businesses (cafes, restaurants, shops, etc.) owned or run by black people or by buying books, music, films created by them.
- Protest. You could consider joining a protest to show your support.
How to attend a protest safely
Lots of young people want to join in with protests to show they stand with the black community. If you’re going to attend a protest, here’s some tips to stay safe:
- Talk to a parent or guardian about why you feel it’s important to attend the protest. Make sure they know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there and back.
- Don’t go on your own, take a protest buddy with you or go in a small group. Organise a meeting place where you can all go if you get separated as phone reception can be patchy in big crowds.
- Remember that we’re in the middle of a global pandemic so be mindful of social distancing and wear a mask. Think carefully about attending a protest if you live with someone who is vulnerable and make sure your household understand and are ok with the potential health risks of you attending a large gathering of people.
- Take a backpack with lots of water, snacks, hand sanitiser and sun cream.
- If you don’t want to attend a protest or feel unable to, don’t worry. Protesting is only one way of supporting the movement - you can still show your support by engaging with any of the resources in this guide.