Now that our Instagram feeds are starting to go back to "normal," we want to make sure that we aren’t pumping the brakes on the fight for justice. Besides consistently reminding ourselves and those around us about our roles in systemic racism, it is vital to keep doing the work and keep it at the forefront of our minds, no matter what else we have going on. To help keep ourselves accountable, we’ve gathered a list of resources and action points, as well as some things that we have started learning along our own journey.
1. Things to Remember
It isn’t up to your Black friends, family, or community to do the hard work for you. Don’t ask “How can I help?” or “What should I do?” and expect someone else to make it easy by giving you all of the answers. You have millions of great resources in your hands—the least you can do is consume them, process them, and learn from them.
Use your platform to amplify Black voices
Have the hard conversations.
Some things that I keep hearing (and have said myself) are that conversations about race can be uncomfortable; it’s hard knowing what to say; I don’t want to say the wrong thing. And that’s OK! It’s OK to not know what to say or how to say it, and most importantly, it’s OK to be uncomfortable. You’re going to be alright, so do it anyway! Silence isn’t an option. And if you are corrected, take it graciously and grow from it!
Don’t think that if you’re not overtly racist, then you’re one of the good ones.
And don’t settle for just being not racist. White supremacy infiltrates nearly every facet of our reality, and that means it is going to take being actively anti-racist constantly. Recognize your own bias and your use of microaggressions, and then work hard to reprogram. If you haven’t heard the term “microaggression” before, it was first coined by Harvard professor Dr. Chester Pierce and was defined as “subtle, stunning, often automatic and nonverbal exchanges, which are ‘put-downs’ of Black people.” In 2007, this definition was expanded by psychologist Dr. Derald Wing Sue to also encompass “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults to marginalized individuals or groups.” This includes phrases that I’m sure we’ve all heard before: “I don’t see color; we’re all one human race.” “You don’t act very Black.” “You’re the whitest Black person I know.” But it also includes nonverbal actions: holding your purse closer when you pass a Black man on the sidewalk, store employees following Black customers around the store, going out of your way to avoid being in close proximity to a Black person.
DON’T ever say the words “All Lives Matter.” Ever.
2. Books to Educate Yourself and Others
This is where a little thing called “put your money where your mouth is” comes into play. Don’t go to Amazon or any other giants for these books. If you’re going to buy books on anti-racism, please please please buy them from a Black-owned bookstore. Do some digging and find a bookstore in your community, or check out this list of Black-owned independent bookstores from Literary Hub. And to make it even simpler, you can just click on each book title to buy it directly from Semicolon Bookstore in Chicago (although be warned that some of these may be out of stock for the time being).
3. Movies/Shows to Watch
When They See Us
Dear White People
The Hate U Give
If Beale Street Could Talk