Actively against racism – A start

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The brutal murder of George Floyd on May 25th shocked me deeply. For weeks I wanted to show my solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement beyond a black square on Instagram. And yet I still find it difficult to find the right words for it. Because in the past few months, I have had to recognize that I am stuck in racist socialization even though I detest racism. An example: At the end of April I hurt a Black woman, whom I really like, with a kindly meant compliment. I wanted to support and cheer her up – but I did the opposite. Because I didn’t think about using insensitive, offending words shaped by my whiteness and what that meant for her. Because I didn’t know better. Because racism is so deeply and structurally anchored in our society that we are usually not even aware of it.

Racism is an expression of societal power relationships. And it has negative consequences for the environment, from which People of Color suffer particularly. For me, sustainability and environmental protection, human dignity and social justice inevitably belong together. But we couldn’t be further from such a reality. The structural exploitation of the global South originated in colonialism and leads to ever new, sad climaxes. Land grabbing from indigenous peoples and environmental killings, the shipping of nuclear waste to African countries and the production of food or fashion under conditions that are most harmful to people and the environment (and therefore have been banned in the EU for years) are just a few examples. In addition, environmental protection (often combined with philanthropy) is often based on racist views. Be it that rural agricultural structures and biodiversity in Africa are destroyed under the guise of development aid or that right-wing extremists are involved in the eco-scene.

To white people who care about maintaining a habitable planet, I need you to become actively anti-racist. I need you to understand that our racial inequality crisis is intertwined with our climate crisis. If we don’t work on both, we will succeed at neither.

Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

I am aware that I have a lot to learn! For this reason, I have gathered numerous sources of information in the past few weeks to deal with structural racism. The lists that you will find in this article (and that will surely grow further) will serve as a guide for me for the next months and years, in which I will inform myself as much as possible about racism. Why am I sharing this here? Because I think it’s important to speak out against racism. And because I commit myself with this article to tackle the work – of course not only here on the blog, but above all in everyday life.

However, this shall not be about me at all, but about all those who are exposed to racism in many different ways. It is time for us privileged white people to properly listen, understand and show our support to the BIPoC (Black, Indigenous People of Color) community. With this article I would like to call on us to really deal with structural and hidden racism from the heart and to help resolve it. Even if it gets uncomfortable and if we make mistakes along the way. I hope you are in!

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.

Desmond Tutu

We can only act against racism if we consciously perceive it

For me, these Instagram posts were real eye-openers.

There is a whole academic subject area about the phases we go through when we get confronted with racism and the role of our identity in it. Enclosed you will find a link to summarize the model of Dr. Janet Helms.

We can do that: follow black activists, read, listen and learn

Activists against racism

…and many more…

Films and documentaries

  • “All day and a night” (Netflix)
  • “American Son” (Netflix)
  • “Becoming” (Netflix)
  • “Dear White People” (Netflix)
  • “Fruitvale Station” (Netflix)
  • “Hello Privilege, it’s Chelsea” (Netflix)
  • “I Am Not Your Negro” (Netflix)
  • “Imperial Dreams” (Netflix)
  • “Malcolm X” (Netflix)
  • “Moonlight” (Netflix)
  • “See you yesterday” (Netflix)
  • “Selma” (Amazon, YouTube)
  • “Time: the Kalief Browder Story” (Netflix)
  • “The Hate U Give” (Amazon, YouTube)
  • “The Rachel Divide” (Netflix)
  • “The 13th” (Netflix)
  • “When They See us” (Netflix)
  • “Who killed Malcolm X?” (Netflix)

Non-fiction books and novels

  • “Americanah”, von Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • “Between the world and me”, von Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • “Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower”, von Brittney C. Cooper
  • “I Am Not Your Negro”, von James Baldwin
  • “I Am Not Your Baby Mother”, von Candice Brathwaite
  • “I know why the caged birds sing”, von Maya Angelou
  • “How We Fight White Supremacy: A Field Guide to Black Resistance”, von Akiba Solomon
  • “How to be an Antiracist”, von Ibram X. Kendi
  • “How to Argue With a Racist: History, Science, Race and Reality”, von Adam Rutherford
  • “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption”, von Bryan Stevenson
  •  “Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty”, von Dorothy Roberts
  • “Me and White Supremacy“, von Layla F. Saad
  • “Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism from the Inside Out”, von Ruth King
  • “On intersectionality”, von Kimberlé Crenshaw
  • “Sister Outsider”, von Audre Lorde
  • “So You Want to Talk About Race”, von Ijeoma Oluo
  • “Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism”, von James W. Loewen 
  • “Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America”, von Michael Eric Dyson
  • “The bluest eye”, von Toni Morrison
  • “The Burden: African Americans and the Enduring Impact of Slavery”, von Rochelle Riley
  • “The fire next time”, von James Baldwin
  • “The Hate U Give”, von Angie Thomas
  • “The new Jim Crow”, von Michelle Alexander
  • “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration”, von Isabel Wilkerson
  • “They Can’t Kill Us All: The Story of Black Lives Matter”, von Wesley Lowery
  • “This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work”, von Tiffany Jewell 
  • “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism”, von Robin DiAngelo und Michael Eric Dyson
  • “White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide” von Carol Anderson
  • “White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color”, von Ruby Hamad
  • “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race”, von Beverly Daniel Tatum
  • “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race”, von Reni Eddo-Lodge 
  • “Women, race and class”, von Angela Y. Davis

Podcasts

  • About Race
  • America Did What?
  • Code Switch
  • Good Ancestor Podcast with Layla Saad
  • Hear to slay
  • Pod Save The People
  • Seeing White
  • Semele Hill is unbothered
  • The Yikes Podcast
  • We belong Europe

How we can support further

Do you think further recommendations should definitely be included in this article? Then please leave me a comment or write me an email.

Alles Liebe, Mary

Photo credit: Cover Photo by James Eades on Unsplash

Mary

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