Watching the murderers of Mike Brown and Eric Garner walk away unpunished in any way has been infuriating and heartbreaking. These two cases (and there are more cases coming to light every day, such as that of Tamir Rice) highlight the extreme racism and injustice at the root of American law and culture. Following people on Twitter and reading blog posts and articles linked from Facebook has helped me learn more and direct my energies and monies to movements that are responding on the ground (since I’m in London and can’t be there in person to march).
I’ve compiled some pieces here for Learning and Taking Action. This is mostly for my fellow white people, since a lot of this is explanatory in a way that people of color don’t need to hear because they’re living it. There are a range of pieces, from beginner to advanced stage anti-racism, so don’t be scared if you’re new to listening and talking about race in an informed way. Certainly I’m not any kind of expert, but a lot of the writers here are, so please take a look. I can especially recommend Ta-Nehisi Coates, Melissa Harris-Perry, Jay Smooth, Janet Mock, and Latoya Peterson as people to follow, read, and learn from.
Let’s not look away. Let’s look this straight in the face and tell it where to go.
Please go to the comments to share any other links you’ve found helpful.
If you’re only going to read one link from this post, read this one by the excellent Luvvie. It’s smart and comprehensive but succinct, and she uses funny GIFs.
White and not really understanding why people are so upset about Ferguson and Eric Garner? It’s probably because you’re mostly talking to other white people–that’s the norm in the US, as this article explains. Time to broaden what you read and who you talk to.
Here’s an even more accessible article on how acknowledging white privilege and working against racism doesn’t mean you have to hate white people, just the terrible racist system that white people put into place and now perpetuate.
The devastating new rules for being black in the United States. My friends have a baby not yet two months old, and knowing he’ll learn these rules makes me furious.
Eric Garner’s widow, Esaw, is not accepting the apology of her husband’s killer. She’s furious, she’s grieving, and she’s not letting Pantaleo make himself feel better by getting her to forgive him.
Bevin’s great collection of resources and reflections over at Queer Fat Femme highlighted this article, which reveals that #BlackLivesMatter is a specific movement founded by queer black women. It’s good to be aware of the origins of this widely-used hashtag.
Ta-Nehisi Coates continues to be one of the foremost writers on a lot of things, but especially race. Here he talks about Obama’s reaction to Ferguson, and what the system is set up to do and not do.
One piece of laminated plastic means this Vassar College professor experiences humiliating, dangerous situations rather than life-threatening situations –and he’s never allowed to forget it.
Don’t repeat the ignorant ‘but what about black-on-black crime?’ question. Coates has you covered.
We like to think that the non-indictments in the Eric Garner and Michael Brown case (and the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin) are evidence of flaws in the American justice system, but this straightforward piece argues that they’re just links in the chain of a justice system doing what it’s designed to do–oppress people of color for the benefit of white people in this country.
Steps to take as a white person if the Ferguson case is just shaking you awake to the trenchant racism alive and well in the United States. Self-educate and get involved! (I especially like the intro, in which the author Janee Woods wonders why so few reactions to the case appeared on her Facebook wall–something I wondered about when looking at my wall, too.)
You want facts to convince you of the unfairness of what happened? You want convincing that protests are worthwhile? Check out this post on how to talk about Ferguson and the aftermath.
Support people taking anti-racist action in the aftermath of Ferguson by making a gift to various organizations. ‘Tis the season, right?
Do you interact with kids as a teacher, parent, guardian, relative, friend? Here’s a great resource on how to talk with them about what’s been going on.
If you already consider yourself an active ally, take a look at this piece that challenges us to be accomplices rather than allies.
Don’t contribute to #CrimingWhileWhite–keep the focus on #AliveWhileBlack.
AND SOME HOPE
Look, redirect your money for militarizing police forces to these trainings instead, and eliminate police killings of citizens in under a decade! It truly is a culture we can change, not a given we must resign ourselves to.