When it comes to learning something new, I tend to want to dive in head first overnight. However, I’ve learned from experience that the best lessons are learned gradually. They require openness, patience, forgiveness and time. Learning about race is no different. Educating yourself about Black interiority, oppression and history will not happen overnight.
Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
-Martin Luther King Jr.
The work is hard, and shifting from comfort to uneasiness is difficult. The first step starts with curiosity: Why am I uncomfortable? Why have I chosen neutrality? Reflecting on these questions and analyzing your own mindset is crucial to understanding. Allyship starts with recognizing that “I am not racist” is not the answer. What we need is advocacy, support and passion towards upending systemic racism.
Below are tools and perspectives that I’ve collected to aid you in embracing and embodying antiracism.
If you continue to scroll beyond this point: thanks for being willing to get uncomfortable.
Texture Diaries – Curated by Akili King, this column is a space for Black women and how hair acceptance played a crucial role in their journey to self-love. Each week, women across industries speak on their favorite hair rituals, products and biggest lessons they’ve learned.
Yrsa Daley Ward – A writer who comes from West Indian and West African, heritage, Yrsa Daley Ward has an Instagram that will leave you enlightened.
Carrie Mae Weems – One of the most influential contemporary artists, Carrie May Weems is as graceful in real life as she is on the screen. Her work is simply prolific and worth every minute of your time. Check out my favorite series, The Kitchen Table Series, here.
Rosa Rebellion – Local to Austin, Virginia Cumberbatch and Meagan Harding, founded Rosa Rebellion for creative activism by and for women of color. Their initiative, REBEL + REST, offers space for women of color to live more joyously, peacefully and freely. Read Virginia’s Message to White Austin here.
Black Coffee with White Friends – Marcie Walker curated this multimedia platform “for the curious and the hopeful.” With playlists, resource lists, personal essays and a thoughtfully curated Instagram feed, Black Coffee with White Friends will soothe and invigorate you.
Losers, Judgment: Surya Bonali – Surya Bonaly dazzled figure skating fans with her skill, but being black in a mostly white sport made it tough to be fairly judged on the world stage. This docuseries uses sports as a guide to examine the psychology of losing as people find ways to handle failure. Through this lens, Surya finally gets the notoriety she deserves.
Sophia Roe – A trauma-informed writer and chef, the beautiful Sophia Roe is a must follow. Her IGTV is filled with frank, thoughtful, uncut conversations on topics such as colorism, code-switching and the importance of language.
The Black Power Mixtape – Swedish journalists take you through a reel of 16mm film that will tell you the stories of urban unrest and revolution from 1967-1975.
When They See Us – This American crime web television miniseries is not for the faint of heart. Five young, Black and Latino teenagers were wrongfully convicted of assaulting a female jogger in Central Park in 1989. This depiction of the case is raw, heartbreaking that will challenge you to reconsider the meaning of justice in America.
Queen and Slim – Cinematic, passionate and devastating, this film uncovers every human emotion: from anger to love to mourning.
Rachel Ricketts Online Courses – Rachel Ricketts is an activist, speaker, healer and writer. She meaningfully educates white folx on their role in perpetuating white supremacy, while helping BI&PoC and mixed folx heal from internalized oppression. Her offerings are practical solutions for all “hue-mxns” to dismantle racist heteropatriarchy.
Carver Museum – The African American Presence in 19th Century Texas focuses on Black life in Texas in the 19th century. The lead curator, Carre Adams says, “We look at the original narratives of formally enslaved black folks; examine the presence of African Americans in the Texas legislature; and delve into the development of freedmen’s communities in and around Texas.”
Elisabet Ney – “On August 18, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified, giving women in the US the right to vote. It was an arduous campaign to reach this milestone, and it wasn’t, in fact, until August 6, 1965, with the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, that all American citizens were guaranteed to share in this privilege. In SUFFRAGE NOW: A 19th Amendment Centennial Exhibition at the Elisabet Ney Museum, women photographers nationwide were invited via a juried open call to share photos that comment on this historic occasion, imperfect though it may be.” See our very own Riley Blanks’ piece, here.