Black author and activist James Baldwin wrote, ‘not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced’. Start your anti-racist journey, or gain some new insights with this list of resources that centre on issues of racial justice.
Books to read
How to Be an Anti-racist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
Historian and New York Times best-selling author Ibram X. Kendi uses a mixture of personal experiences, history, and science to show how a person can go from being racist to anti-racist, and how we can all build a new anti-racist society.
White Fragility: Why it’s so hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
In her book White Fragility, anti-racism educator Robin Diangelo examines how white defensive responses to conversations about race and racism reinforce inequality and prevent meaningful dialogue. She then offers ways white people can work against white fragility to engage in more constructive ways.
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Ijeomo Oluo’s New York Times best seller shows people of all races how to have constructive and useful conversations about race in America. It answers questions about confronting friends and family members while providing a comprehensive education on America’s racist past. It covers topics like intersectionality, representation, privilege, and mass incarceration.
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
Layla Saad’s anti-racist workbook shows readers how to examine their own privilege and racist behaviours. It has been widely recommended for white people who want to make change but don’t know where to start. It comes with historical context, key definitions, and anti-racism resources.
When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Cullors and Asha Bandele
Black Lives Matter co-founders Patrisse Cullors and Asha Bandele share a powerful memoir of the prejudice and persecution so many black Americans experience at the hands of law enforcement. This memoir draws our attention to the humanity of those whose lives were taken, and those who, still living, continue to fight for justice.
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
Austin Channing Brown’s first encounter with a racialized America came at age seven, when she discovered her parents named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. This led to a lifetime spent navigating America’s racial divide as a writer, speaker, and expert helping organizations practice genuine inclusion.
What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in Essays by Damon Young
In What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker, Young humorously chronicles his efforts to endure a series of battles that come with being black. At its most devastating, Young gives us reason to believe that his mother would be alive today if she were white.
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
By weaving the true story of one African American man’s journey to justice throughout the text, Stevenson tells a heart-breaking tale of a broken system. This text provides opportunities to discuss race, the criminal justice system, reform, and even the American dream.
Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
With her signature blend of essay, poetry, and imagery, Rankine illustrates the many racial aggressions that permeate society, from the grocery store to the classroom, and in the media. For anyone who's ever thought we lived in a post-race society, this book will change their mind.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer.
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
The Bluest Eye tells the story of black, eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove. Pecola prays for her eyes to turn blue so that she will be as beautiful and beloved as all the white, blond and blue-eyed children in America.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Lee’s story, told from a child’s perspective, focuses on the trial of Tom Robinson, a black man who’s been falsely accused of raping a white woman in the American South. The book is an American classic about racial injustice.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Colson Whitehead's inventive novel follows Cora and Caesar as they escape from a Georgia slave plantation and run north in pursuit of freedom, aided by the stationmasters and conductors of the Underground Railroad. This is a brilliant and at times brutal novel about the history of slavery and racism in America
Films about Racial Injustice
Loving recounts the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, who changed the world when they got married. As an interracial couple they had to take their union all the way to the Supreme Court, and change the law before they could legally love each other.
This historical drama focuses on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches. Despite violent opposition, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his followers pressed forward on an epic march, and their efforts culminated in President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
12 Years a Slave
Based on the 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup, the film follows Solomon, a man who is born free but is kidnapped and sold into slavery. It is a heart-breaking look at a true account of slavery in the 1800s.
This biopic follows the lives of three black mathematicians who worked at NASA during the Space Race in the 1960s, and their struggles to receive the same treatment as their white male colleagues, despite being invaluable to the project.
LA 92 is about the Los Angeles riots that occurred in response to the police beating of Rodney King. The film is entirely comprised of archival footage. It's chilling to watch the unrest of nearly 30 years ago, as people still take to the streets and shout, "No justice, no peace."
The 2014 killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown by US police was one of the deaths that sparked the Black Lives Matter movement. Frustrated by media coverage of unrest in Ferguson, co-directors Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis documented how locals felt about police in riot gear filling their neighbourhoods with tear gas.
Time: The Kalief Browder Story
Time: The Kalief Browder Story revisits the case of Kalief Browder, a 16-year-old falsely arrested in 2010 for allegedly stealing a backpack. Browder spent the next three years on Rikers Island, 700 days of which were spent in solitary confinement. The documentary questions how the system could fail him, and so many like him, so badly.
Crime + Punishment
Stephen Maing’s documentary focuses on a landmark 2016 lawsuit, in which 12 whistleblowing officers of colour exposed the New York Police department’s highly illegal system of pressurising officers into making arrests to meet a monthly quota. This often targeted black and immigrant communities deemed to be ‘high-crime’ areas.
The Urgency of Intersectionality
Kimberlé Crenshaw uses the term "intersectionality" to describe how if you're standing in the path of multiple forms of exclusion, you're likely to get hit by them all. In this moving talk, she calls on us to bear witness to this reality and speak up for victims of prejudice.
How we can make racism a solvable problem - and improve policing
Dr Phillip Atiba Goff argues that when we define racism as behaviours instead of feelings, we can measure it, and transform it from an impossible problem into a solvable one. In his talk, he shares his work at the Centre for Policing Equity, an organisation that helps police departments diagnose and track racial gaps in policing, in order to eliminate them.
Racism has a cost for everyone
Racism makes our economy worse -- and not just in ways that harm people of colour, says public policy expert Heather C. McGhee. McGhee shares insights into how racism fuels bad policymaking and drains our economic potential. "Our fates are linked," she says. "It costs us so much to remain divided."
How racism makes us sick
David R. Williams developed a scale to measure the impact of discrimination on well-being, going beyond traditional measures like income and education to reveal how factors like implicit bias, residential segregation and negative stereotypes create and sustain inequality.
How to deconstruct racism, one headline at a time
Baratunde Thurston explores the phenomenon of white Americans calling the police on black Americans who have committed the crimes of... eating, walking, or generally "living while black."
Justice in America
Each episode covers a different issue with the criminal justice system. It explains how it works, and looks at its impact on people, particularly poor people and people of colour. By the end of each episode, you’ll have a better understanding of what causes mass incarceration and what can fix it.
Pod Save the People
In this podcast, American civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson gives people the information they need to be the most thoughtful activists and organisers, breaking down the steps that each of us can take to make a difference.
In this fourteen-part documentary series, the hosts take a deep dive into questions like where did the notion of “whiteness” come from? What does it mean? What is whiteness for? Episodes include: ‘How Race was Made’, and ‘A Racial Cleansing in America’.
Every week at Throughline, Rund Abdelfatah and Ramtin Arablouei ‘go back in time to understand the present’. To understand the history of systemic racism in America, listen to ‘American Police’, ‘Mass Incarceration’, and ‘Milliken v. Bradley’.
Instagram Accounts to Follow
Overheard While Black (@overheardwhileblack)
Overheard While Black gives us a look into the daily microaggressions black people are subjected to by the ignorance of white people. With posts like ‘You probably only got here because of affirmative action’ and, ‘You are pretty for a black girl’, it shows how racist comments have become normalised within society.
Check Your Privilege (@ckyourprivilege)
This Instagram account is full of questions to ask yourself if you’re in a privileged position, resources to educate yourself further and ways to be more actively anti-racist.
From Privilege to Progress (@privtoprog)
From Privilege to Progress was founded after the founders witnessed the arrest of two innocent black men. With a mission to ‘desegregate the conversation about race’, and to further anti-racism education.
Articles to read
97 Things White People can do for racial justice by Corinne Shutack for Medium
This constantly updated article outlines a series of steps that white people can take to help fight against racism.
Who Gets to Be Afraid in America? by Ibram X. Kendi for The Atlantic
‘Americans don’t see me, or Ahmaud Arbery, running down the road - they see their fear’. In this article Kendi examines the murder of Amaud Arbery to demonstrate how black men are looked at with fear in public spaces, and how this endangers their lives.
Why Black Lives Matter in the UK by Charlie Brinkhurst for gal-dem
In this 2016 article, Brinkhurst explains why the Black Lives Matter movement is as relevant in the UK as it is in America.
The Subtle Linguistics of Polite White Supremacy by Yawo Brown for Medium
Brown’s article perfectly evokes the subtlety and casualness with which racism occurs in society.