White people, we must do better.You may have posted a black square to your Instagram page yesterday, but do you know why you did it? The #BlackOutTuesday movement was created by two Atlantic Records executives who wanted to encourage black users to step away from social media, ‘a day to disconnect from work and reconnect with our community’ through ‘an urgent step of action to provoke accountability and change’.For white people, yesterday was a day to start educating ourselves on the Black Lives Matter movement and racism. This work will take a lifetime, but at least it’s a start.
Because taking accountability and educating ourselves about systemic racism and white privilege is crucial to being actively anti-racist. Prioritising our learning helps ensure that we go beyond optical, surface-level allyship; that we’re doing more than just blindly posting a black square on Instagram because that’s what everyone else is doing; that we’re doing more than joining in the social media outpouring, and then slowly letting our outrage fall to the wayside as the news cycle progresses.
Trump, the #BlackLivesMatter protesters are not wild beasts that need to be controlled, punished and tracked down
By reading, listening and watching, we’re coming to terms with our own privilege, sitting with our discomfort and our anger and our guilt, and using it to support black communities. We may not always get it right, and we certainly won’t ever properly understand how it feels. But what we can do is use this time is to listen, learn, and start our long-term strategy of anti-racism and non-optical solidarity.
It’s easy to slip into expecting black friends and colleagues to educate us. Some people have been reaching out to black celebrities and influencers asking for guidance. But let’s be clear, black people are not obligated to teach us or guide us in our learning; it’s something we have to do for ourselves. Below is a list of resources – from books by black critical thinkers, podcasts, and YouTube video to documentaries on Netflix – to get us started. These are just the tip of the iceberg, and we hope you join us in using them as a starting point to reading more, researching further, and yes, doing better.
White people, here’s how we can try to be better allies and proactively anti-racist