In 2020, the internet has become more important than ever before. It’s helped people connect during a time where many of us are isolated from our loved ones, ensured businesses can stay afloat by being a little tech savvy, and helped bring to light to the systematic inequalities across the world that are uniting people through the Black Lives Matter movement.
The internet has become a place to listen to those who can tell you a wide and painful collection of stories from their experiences of racism – both overt (public) and covert (subtle).
The responsibility of everyone in this moment and especially throughout Black History Month is to educate; educate yourself and educate others to influence change. As a mixed-race woman, I too am learning about experiences of those different to me and have a heavy heart for those who have been discriminated against in measures beyond my wildest thoughts.
There are more resources than ever before available to us, which is incredibly inspiring – and I am hopeful that we can begin to be more equipped to have uncomfortable conversations and be a real catalyst for change. But sometimes it can be tricky to know where to start.
Recently, those around me have been asking more about what they should use as a starting point to educate themselves and I want to offer my thoughts to you as well.
I encourage you to start by picking up a book written by a non-white author, to encourage the sector to be more diverse so we can hear more stories from those from BAME backgrounds – in the UK, fewer than 100 of the thousands of titles published in 2016 were by British authors of BAME backgrounds.
The ones I have recommended recently have included:
– Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
– Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
– Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
– Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
– Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of the Empire by Akala
– It’s Not About the Burqa by Mariam Khan
For the last few years, I have become a big lover of a podcast and enjoy a range of insightful and silly ones. The podcast world is my go-to for learning about something new, as there is a podcast out there for absolutely everything.
There are some wonderful podcasts dedicated to talking about race issues – but many podcast hosts have also been talking about race and inequality within the wider topic that their podcast focuses on.
Some of my favourite podcast recommendations include:
– BLAM UK – Podcast Bites – BLAM UK is a charity that does short educational episodes on Black British and sadly largely unknown icons.
– Adam Goodes on Ways to Change the World – The podcast is hosted by Channel 4 News anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy and his episode with Australian footballer Adam Goodes discusses racism and sport.
– TED Talks Daily – I could point to a million different relevant Ted Talks, but an episode on ‘The urgency of intersectionality’ was posted recently.
– About race – Podcast series of Reni Eddo-Lodge, Author of Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race.
All of the recommendations are available on Spotify.
TV and film
TV and film are also an incredible way to learn from the stories of those from BAME backgrounds and from important moments in history that you may not know about. It is important to approach some TV and film with caution and check out the producer, director and influences on the piece beforehand.
My personal recommendations include:
– Sitting in Limbo (available on BBC iPlayer)
– Noughts and Crosses (available on BBC iPlayer)
– 13th (available on Netflix)
– When They See Us (available on Netflix)
– Pose (available on Netflix and BBC iPlayer)
Ultimately, it is up to us all to ensure that Black history is recognised and celebrated this month and throughout the year. We can do this by following the words of Jim Rohn: “Don’t let your learning lead to knowledge. Let your learning lead to action”.